AN Indian restaurant with a long history in Salisbury has been recognised with a second award so I visited to see what the hype was about.

Cafe Diwali, at 90 Crane Street, has been serving Indian street food for nine years and has gathered quite the following in that time, ranking it among the city's top rated establishments according to TripAdvisor.

I visited on Tuesday, May 21, soon after hearing that it had been given another 'Quality Business Award'.

As you step into Cafe Diwali it's like you've been transported to a different world. It's very serene and decorative with its fairy lights and exposed brickwork.

Salisbury Journal: Inside Cafe Diwali.Inside Cafe Diwali. (Image: Newsquest)

The menu at the restaurant cycles every five to six months to bring in new and unique flavours from across India.

I found that by having a smaller menu, I felt less overwhelmed and more intrigued about the dishes. I'd also hope this means the chefs can focus on perfecting the few but varied dishes they serve.

All of the food I tried had been part of the menu for four months so you can expect to try something new in July.

Special dishes are offered on weekends, depending on what owner Rasheed Muhammed can pick up from the Charter Market, to give the chefs express their creativity through experimentation.

Salisbury Journal: A selection of starters including broccoli 65, fish Amritsari, onion and spinach pakora, kerala chicken fry and tandoori chicken tikka served with chutneys and sauces.A selection of starters including broccoli 65, fish Amritsari, onion and spinach pakora, kerala chicken fry and tandoori chicken tikka served with chutneys and sauces. (Image: Newsquest)

Broccoli 65 (£6.95) was a stand-out starter and by far my favourite. This unsuspecting dish of deep fried florets, marinated to perfection, has a healthy mix of spice and flavour. I'd highly recommend it, especially if you usually stick to meat options.

The Kerala chicken fry (£8.25) and classic Tandoori chicken (£8.25) tasted incredible and were complimented by the mixed raita and mango and mint sauce.

I've found that some other Indian restaurants present you with an array of mysterious liquids which either taste bland or overpowering but all the sauces we tried at Cafe Diwali were delicious.

The shredded onion and spinach pakora (£6.50), another vegan starter, is bursting with flavour. These little delights combine a great crunch with a soft centre with a taste enhanced further by the chilli and garlic sauce.

I was offered a mix of main courses to try which included the Alappey prawn and fish curry (£18.50), Rajasthani Laal Maas (£18.95), Malabar beef Kuruma (£18.50), palak paneer (£16.95) served with Kerala greens (£6), pilau rice and garlic and butter naan (£3.75).

Salisbury Journal: The selection of mains dishes.The selection of mains dishes. (Image: Newsquest)

My first impressions were that each dish is presented beautiful and the bright colour, especially of the palak paneer, were inviting.

Authenticity and tradition are two important cornerstones of Cafe Diwali and Rasheed told me how what he's serving is near identical to what you'd find in India.

The slow cooked lamb chunks in the fiery Rajasthani Laal Maas were impossibly tender and flavourful.

I felt the fish curry was slightly lacking in flavour but it was by no means unpleasant.

The palak paneer was a refreshing vegetarian option, again something I wouldn't normally order but would recommend.

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To top things off, we tried the warm Gulab Jamun and carrot halwa (both £5.50) from the dessert menu. I thoroughly enjoyed the halwa's aromatic flavour and fudge cake-esque texture.

Rasheed, 44, said that earning the 'Quality Business Award' for the second year running was a "testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire team as well as the fantastic community that supports us".

He added: "We don't compromise on the food quality or exceptional service at all."

Salisbury Journal: Rasheed Muhammed, 44, opened Cafe Diwali nine years ago.Rasheed Muhammed, 44, opened Cafe Diwali nine years ago. (Image: Newsquest)

This sentiment was demonstrated during my visit as manager Sheila Lambon, who has worked at the restaurant since it opened, was fast but careful and incredibly friendly.

For more information about the restaurant visit