out of Five
So you wend your way to the open, fragrant arms of your local curry emporium, watch with awe as the crumbs of previous diners are magically whisked away with the little hand-held carpet-sweeper contraption and settle yourself on the suedette banquettes in anticipation of the spicy smorgasbord to come.
But your poppodums are as dust between your fingers as, ten minutes later, you find yourself still wrestling with the Sisyphean task of sifting the gold of culinary karma from the possible dross of mealtime mediocrity. The menu, as involved and extensive as Homer's Odyssey, details at least 16,000 choices, and you find yourself assailed by doubt. How, you wonder for the nth time, are they able to prepare 96 possible presentations of prawns given the ten minutes it seems to take for your food to arrive?
The hilariously-monikered Gaylord cuts through all this confusion with a simple, clear menu which includes all the usual favourites, a few old standards and some informatively-described specials. What a refreshing change. Plus, it's clear, ordered, well-written and (for the most part) relatively un-bonkers.
Service is friendly and discreet (no drug dealer-like pushing of poppodums here) and even the décor is fairly restrained, with not an inch of flock wallpaper in sight. Prices, despite the Gaylord's prime location on Battersea Rise (right in the heart of 'rah' territory) are reasonable, and you can expect to pay around £5-£8 for your main meat dish (excluding rice).
This is an unpretentious local curry house that has resisted the urge either to dress itself up for the Battersea crowd or go downmarket with an impossible selection of dishes and a pile 'em in philosophy. Instead, it’s held its ground, and with a loyal local clientele, it can only be hoped that it will continue to be rewarded for it.