Boxing clever - A la carte at home from Babur

Brockley Nick here...

When local bloggers get too good, we simply absorb them. That's why we're pleased to welcome the latest addition to the Brockley Central family: Brockley Ben, a leading food blogger in his own right and now our resident restaurant reviewer.

Frankly, food and drink reviews have always been one of Brockley Central's blind spots - we usually run out of ideas after saying that it tasted nice. Jon and Kate have made a few valiant efforts and we've had a couple of great entries from Honor Oak Zoe, but new blood is needed. So here he is, starting with a subject that we can't believe we've never written about, given how much we use it - Babur's takeaway service:

Brockley Central loves a curry as much as the next blog but is not always in the mood to traipse to the far end of Brockley Road to savour Babur's unquestioned quality. This year's typical British summer makes the trek particularly unappetising, but sometimes - more or less twice a week as it happens - only a curry will do. And so the hand reaches for the trusty bundle of take-away menus and the mind once again wonders where the speed-dial instructions are.

Until recently the choice has usually been between Cinnamon, which boasts a few interesting Southern Indian specialities, and Essence of India, which is bog standard UK curry-house fare - and none the worse for that. Babur's own delivery option (apparently linked to the restaurant in name alone) has always felt a bit of a poor relation to the restaurant itself and has quietly fallen off the roster.

Babur, though, could never be accused of resting on its laurels (its regular special menus and loyalty scheme are testament to that) and has recently relaunched it a la carte delivery service. Previous attempts to try this service have been met with mixed results: confusion as calls went to and fro between restaurant and take-away kitchen, no clear idea of which dishes were available and overlong delivery delays.

This time, though, they've done it properly: a cut-down version of the main restaurant menu on a smart flier, a single number to call and a professional, confident tone when you do. They'll even take the plastic if the PDQ machine is available. But best of all you get a fancy box!

Highlights from the first couple of test runs have included venison chapli (spicy patties), multani soole (char-grilled paneer), dum-cooked rabbit and hara cholliya te paneer, a deeply rewarding dish of chickpeas and paneer in a Punjabi marsala that's billed as a side-dish but is a meal in itself.

Prices seem to be about 8o to 90 percent of the restaurant menu (starters £4.50 to £5.95, mains £9.50 to £13.50). Delivery is free and there's a minimum order of £20. And there's a 10 percent discount if you go and pick up your fancy box yourself.

Highly recommended.