Food & DrinkGrub Spy

Grub Spy & Grape Spy: Madina serves the best Indian food in Ireland

Grub Spy & Grape Spy: Madina serves the best  Indian food in Ireland

The curry here is a rollercoaster for the most jaded of tastebuds.

I’ve been enjoying this reviewing caper for a while now and one thing I’ve learned is that what seldom happens is a joy to behold. I was thinking about this and how rarely I visit Indian restaurants.

Which for someone who absolutely adores Indian food (and who doesn’t love a good curry?) is surprising to say the least.

But the sad truth is there isn’t that many curry joints out there worth visiting.

I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve said ‘Hmm looks the part, shame about the grub!’ There are of course a couple of heavenly places out there that reign supreme – but there are simply not enough of them.

My heart sinks whenever I’m handed a sticky dog-eared laminated menu with the same old gloopy no-hopers that are only differentiated by the carless miss-use of chili powder and garlic.

So imagine my delight when I stumble across a curry nirvana on little old Mary Street.

It’s not a pretty place, and to be honest for a minute I thought it was a Pound Shop!

But behind the garish almost dingy façade lies a rare jewel indeed – actually, lets get straight to the point.

Madina serves the best damn Indian food I have ever tasted in Ireland.

First up is a blinding Lamb Mutter Aloo, with bones pleasingly still in, that hints faintly of crushed cloves, star anise, and roasted fenugreek – and man does this it all work!

The meat is so juicy and well cooked it’s approaching spoonable.

It is spicy without a volcanic kick in the whatsits, a brooding insanely delicious concoction that puts other curries in the ha’penny place.

Then there’s an amazingly gooey Butter Chicken.

My arteries are furring-up just by looking at it.

But who cares! It’s the Superman of Butter Chicken, the Luke Skywalker of bad and good cholesterols, and bloody hell does this taste brilliant as well.

There’s a reason why we don’t see this particular Indian delight too often.

It has to be prepared and cooked 100% pitch perfect – and this is pitch-perfect.

The accompanying basmati has a subtle savoury nuttiness I never noticed in other rice dishes. And now I’m wondering can they keep this up?

Absolutely they can! A thick green aloo saag sings with perfectly balanced spicing with an edge of burnt seaweed. A tarkha dall is outrageously gorgeous.

There’s a roasted sweetness about it overlapping with a creamy richness that I can’t stop wolfing down.

Finally a deliciously cool freshly made Mango Lassi completes an amazing dining experience.

The food at Madina is a roller-coaster ride for the most jaded of tastebuds.

It’s still just a curry I know, but theses flavours are more intense, the individual ingredients more identifiable, and the chili heat more carefully calibrated to please the most finicky of palates.

Finally, I don’t often mention naan bread, but the Madina version is as close to unsurpassed that any naan can get. Service is also handled with a welcoming and calm professionalism.

So if you love curry, just go there, and you’ll thank me later.



60 Mary Street,

Dublin 1

Ph: (01) 872 6007

Grape Spy, by Jean Smullen

2010 Ondarre Rioja Reserva €19.99

This is the National Off-Licence Asso­ciation’s Wine of the Year. From Spain, it’s a blend of Tempranillo (75%), Garnacha (10%) and Mazuelo (15%) aged for 16 months in American oak. Aromas are of vanilla and spice. It’s complex and full-flavoured, a wine for the classic Sunday roast. For wine events see www.jeansmullen. com.