The glitzy interior doesn’t hint at Brilliant’s longevity (a photo of a glossy-haired Prince Charles meeting the proprietors provides a clue), but this Southall landmark has been trading for nigh-on 40 years. It now has a first-floor banqueting hall seating 120 and runs cookery courses – videos of which are shown on three flatscreen TVs in the ground-floor restaurant.
The owners, the Anand family, hail from Kenya (see the carvings of Maasai tribeswomen), and the menu reflects this in starters of tandoori tilapia fish and mogo (cassava-root chips). Nevertheless, it’s for exemplary versions of straightforward Punjabi cooking that the restaurant has gained acclaim, and a cabinet full of awards.
Fish pakora followed by methi chicken karahi remain sublime options, though a recent meal began with fried masala egg (two hard-boiled eggs laced with spices in a crisp batter) then a far more thrilling palak lamb, where both the spinach and tender meat shone through the warming spice mix, and nutty dahl tarka (one of several ‘healthy options’ using less ghee).
Prompt, smart service, first-rate accompaniments (six own-made chutneys, skilfully rendered breads, high-quality basmati rice), a cocktail list and a room full of happy multicultural parties confirm Brilliant’s pedigree.