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YOU might raise an eyebrow when I say the best Indian cooking is to be found in a small restaurant on Great Wakering’s High Street.

The restaurant was half full with a good buzz when we arrived on a Thursday night. There are only ten tables, which makes for attentive, personal service, without feeling like you’re in a fishbowl.

The decor is modern – a mix of clean white and aubergine-coloured walls, chunky leather chairs and super-crisp linen.

There is also a satisfying nod to those who expect a traditional musical accompaniment to their meal.

Mim’s menu has all the favourites you’d expect, but a wider selection of meats, fish and vegetables, including duck, salmon and lamb shank.

We kicked off with a stack of poppadum’s served with various chutneys, plus a pot of rich, red sauce that had a sweet and sour zingy, peppery tamarind taste.

It’s chef’s special red sauce and they would not give away his recipe.

My husband went straight for the hash tikka and wasn’t disappointed. The juicy morsels of duck seared on a hot grill with Indian spices, served with a crisp salad made him very happy. I tried the crab on puri – very delicately spiced crab meat wrapped in soft unleavened bread, which is deep fried so you get wonderful mouthfuls of crunchy exterior and smooth, spicy filling.

Both were beautifully presented.

These starters were wolfed down.

For mains, it was agreed to try the fully-loaded Mim special balti – a combination of lamb, chicken tikka and tandoori king prawns in a velvety, spicy sauce with chunky portions of perfectly cooked meat and vegetables. Served with a large, crisp and light naan bread rather than rice, it proved to be perfect. I plumped for salmon tikka, which was a wonderful alternative to the usual chicken or lamb.

It was bang on. Firm, bite-size pieces of salmon were marinated and then seared over a hot grill, served with lashings of sweet and juicy fried onions and a fresh salad.

For me, the true test of an Indian mean is an onion bhaji. Crisp on the outside and melt-in-themouth inside this easily passed the Tracy test.

Mim Spice offers a fresh, modern and exciting take on Indian cooking, while reassuring you with the classics we expect.