One of the best culinary choices I ever made was to cut the onion bhaji out of my curry house routine. This means that you can enjoy your second course without feeling stuffed, an important matter when the curries are as good as they are in the Shanaz. There are several reasons why this is the Indian restaurant that we favour for Viva Lewes special occasions. The first is the décor. Plastic leaves hang from the ceiling, and occasional pieces of inedible fruit. The walls are bedecked with nylon roses. It’s like the Hanging Gardens of Dakar: the Shanaz is entirely staffed by Bangladeshis, and most of the food is from that area. They only call themselves an ‘Indian’ restaurant, in fact, because they believe that’s what we want it to be.

The second is the great range of sauces with your poppadum. This is important. Red coconut paste, onions, mango chutney, minty sauce. Line them up on your plate and spoon them on to bite-sized chunks of poppadum, while you’re looking through the vast menu. Then, of course, the main course. You could have something different every week for a year. This time I choose the Dill Koosh Chicken Tikka. Chicken in a korai sauce sprinkled with coriander. I ask for medium, and when it comes I wish I’d asked for hot. But it’s damn good. Rice, nan bread and sag aloo as a side dish. My companion goes for something excitingly sizzly. We drink two pints of Carlsberg each, and I leave with change from £20. Like I say I’ll be going back. Next week, probably. AL

Shanaz - curries favour with the VL team

83 High St, Lewes
When? Open daily 12-2.30pm, 6-midnight
How Much? Mains around £7.95
Shanaz Indian Restaurant
(t) 01273 488038