The Downsman, Crawley – we are going to a pub for a Curry?

The Final Curry ?   … for a while at least…

Crawley may not be on most people’s mind map as being a great location for Curry-Heute – read on.

En route to far flung places, Hector and Marg have enjoyed the hospitality of Lord and Lady Clive of Crawley. Unfortunately, Maggie was away on business so Hector summoned Debs, another long standing Crawley fellow traveller, to join us for the evening’s festivities.

It is Monday, The Ram Sports and Social Club is closed on a Monday. This has been the source of the most outstanding Crawley Curry that Hector has been let in on. Lord Clive had spoken about The Downsman (Wakehurst Drive, Southgate, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 6DH) for some time. It is closest to his home but not his local, only three ales on tap.

But!

The Chef from the Ram Sports and Social Club has been in situ for some time. Jonathan and Dr Stan were treated to a visit earlier this year – they were impressed. Tonight it would be Hector’s turn.

On the visit to the Ram Sports and Social Club it had been written that Hector would have their famous Lamb Tikka Starter in double quantity as their main course. Only the equivalent served in Glasgow’s Khyber Restaurant has come close. That evening Craig had the Chicken Methi, Hector was permitted a taste, it impressed greatly. Tonight the plan was to order as close as…

The waiter assured me that the Hasani Lamb was their signature Lamb Starter, Lamb Tikka was also available. Debs suggested Vegetable Samosas too. An extra Samosa was provided to accommodate the fact that we were four diners. Now why is this not the norm?

The main menu was not huge, Chefs Specialities was the description for all that followed the Starters. Maybe all the dishes are that Special.

The order did sound bizarre

Debs used her local knowledge to order the Chicken Tariwala: served in the traditional style. ‘What tradition?’ I thought, I was assured it was that of an Indian village. They can afford Chicken? Marg, who has been to India, assures me that the Chickens there tend to be scrawny beasts with little flesh.

Marg chose the Keema Mutter, now I wonder where that notion came from? (cf seven days ago.) Lord Clive went for the Lamb Banjara. This featured the dreaded Capsicum so this was certainly one dish Hector would not be interested in. Finally, it should be no surprise that I went for the Lamb Methi. All of the Lamb dishes were listed as off-the-bone, I wonder if they ever do present an on-the-bone dish.

Shesto Rice? This is a new term, again one’s Punjabi is better than one’s Urdu so an enquiry was made. Peas, Onion and Capsicum… it was agreed that it was possible to have it without…

One Mushroom Rice and one Pilau plus two Tandoori Roti completed the set, just as Nadal dropped one.

A sizzler

The Hasani Lamb arrived on a bed of Onion and various Capsicum. These were divvied between the four of us. The Lamb was magnificent, as befits such a creation, the temptation would be to eat this all night. Let me point out that I did have some of the Capsicum –I do like Capsicum, presented like this – but not in Curry. I wasn’t too bothered about the Samosas and therefore had half a share of the remaining one. Fine.

Behold The Curry


For once I only had a taste of my own Curry. Debs loved her Chicken, Clive thought his Lamb was excellent. Marg enjoyed her Keema Mutter but was overwhelmed by the portion. This may be a common feature oop north, but in the London area this is bloody marvellous. London portions – not!

Hector’s Lamb Methi – Karrha!

Dipping the Roti into the Masala is my normal starting strategy. Impressive. Spooning the Rice and Vegetables on to the plate and covering it with the Lamb, the sense of anticipation was rising. Gosh! The Masala was grey-ish. Clearly it was thick with yogurt. The salt content was abundant, Karrha! The Lamb was once again very tender. The combination of everything on the palate was sheer perfection. I came to the conclusion that this was one of the best Curries I had ever eaten, and most certainly the best Lamb Methi – by far!

I was a Happy Old Hector. Where is the Chef? I must meet him…congratulations must be issued. A pub, in Crawley, serving this standard of Curry? Who would believe it?

The Bill

£45.00 between four. This included a £6.95 Starter, the drinks had been paid for separately.

This venue has to go straight on to the Recommendations List, The Friends of Hector can certainly confirm the worthiness of this decision. They stop serving about 22.00, the exact time Hector expects to arrive in Crawley in November. I hope the reader can sense that I am already itching for a return visit.

Now what…

And so we reach the end of what has been an outrageous Curry-Woche. Greek ATC permitting the summer vacation shall reach foreign shores tomorrow. No more Curry for possibly two weeks. An Athens venue does await that impressed four years ago, we shall see. Meanwhile I shall probably be tempted to comment on the quality of Greek traditional dishes. – Stifados can be as rewarding as a mainstream Curry.

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3 Responses to The Downsman, Crawley – we are going to a pub for a Curry?

  1. Jackie Lister says:

    I’ve only been to The Downsman once but thouroughly enjoyed it-very yummy, delicious it was & the service was excellent very friendly. We’re going to get a take out from them tonight & while looking for there number came across your website & thought I would leave a comment 🙂

  2. Bert Van Bulck says:

    You were in the Downsman and didn’t have the Chilli Wang Wangs?
    You missed something. Poor you, now you have to go back….:)
    Bert from Belgium

  3. Pingback: A night out in Crawley | The Bier-Traveller

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