NEWS that Tiffins Tandoori was staying open for takeaways when so many of our other favourites had closed, brought about a smile and much general rejoicing. The Kidlington eaterie is, after all, an old favourite.

There has been a steep decline in the number of ‘Indian’ restaurants (most are, of course, Bangladeshi) around Oxford, but there are still a decent number – some them very good indeed. But Tiffins has always been a little bit different; a distinct step above.

While so many others have modernised with white walls and minimalist decor, to the point they are indistinguishable from mainstream European chains, dear old Tiffins has stayed loyal to tradition.

Stuck in the middle of Kidlington High Street, blink and you’ll miss it. Walk in (remember when you could still do that?) and it still has the feel of being in a rather elegant front room. It is an intimate and cosy spot, pretty cheap, and the welcome is beyond friendly.

Read more: Mr Miah, tandoori pioneer, talks about his life of curry in city he loves

Chef and owner Moznu Miah is no stranger to the restaurant scene indeed he had Oxford's first clay tandoor oven, back in the 70s (at the much-missed Moonlight Tandoori on Cowley Road). 

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Tiffins at Kidlington. All pictures by Ed Nix

Yet he has kept his passion for good food and service. He has a photographic memory for faces and names which means he treats regulars by name.

Well before lockdown, I popped in for a midweek Madras with the photographer Ed Nix, who used to live in Kidlington. We watched as Mr Miah greeted guests as old friends and were amazed when he enquired as to the health of Ed’s parents – who were old customers but moved to the wilds of Wales years ago.

“I never forget a customer,” he smiled.

We went because we knew the food was going to be excellent, so none of it was a particular surprise – which is, rather, what one wants from a relaxed night out. Having said that, he did thrill us with a particularly juicy, delicious and fiery fish curry, the likes of which neither of us had tasted before.

But, of course, that was before the world changed and we all found ourselves in solitary confinement.

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And with all the old certainties thrown out the window the prospect of a cosy night in with your favourite curry has never been more appealing.

Have no worries about social distancing. Tiffins is a benchmark in best practice when it comes to hygiene, never having earned fewer than a top five-star rating.

Service is quick and friendly by a member of Mr Miah’s team in surgical gloves who leaves the food and hastily retreats before you are allowed to collect. They are taking this business seriously, as well they should.

The food was every bit as good as it is in the restaurant – if not better (there seems to be more sauce, big portions and it’s easier to graze and leave a bit for the following day, when, as we all know, it tastes even better).

We enjoyed a sweet and extravagant murch nawabi (£7.70) – chicken cooked in coconut, almond and cream; lamb balti; a homely, satisfying lamb bhuna (£6.50) with juicy great chunks of lamb; and a lavish Shahjahani murghi (£8.50) – chicken cooked with minced lamb, raisins, almond, coconut, pistachio and cashew nuts.

Read more: Have a tasty night in with a takeaway from this village pub

That lavish bunch of curries was counter balanced by some fresh, zingy sides – a comforting, buttery and gently spiced Bombay potatoes (£3.60); a delightfully (albeit surprisingly) spicy chopped mushroom bhaji (£3.60); and chana sag – chickpeas with perfectly-cooked spinach (£3.60). We also shared a side of vegetable curry (£3.60) which turned out to be a showstopper, being deliciously juicy, wholesome and subtly spiced.

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We mopped it up with pilau rice (£2.50) and Peshwari and garlic nans (both £2.50) – both of which were soft, springy and filling.

A fabulous dinner, then, and a taste of life before lockdown in the safety of our chaotic front room.

I can’t wait to get back to Tiffins when this is all over, but in the meantime, this is a perfect curry fix. Fond and familiar; a tonic for the body... and soul.

  • Tiffins Tandoori is at 63 High St, Kidlington.
  • Contact: 01865 372245 or go to
  • 20% discount for NHS staff