With its lively parade of South Asian restaurants and supermarkets (plus some Eastern European outposts!), Foleshill Road offers foodies one of the most unique and vibrant experiences to be had anywhere in Coventry. So why aren’t we shouting about it from the rooftops? In this occasional series, Food Covolution and friends try out some of the jewels of Foleshill Road, and encourage you to do the same!
Name: Standard Sweet Centre
Location: 424-426 Foleshill Road CV6 5JX
Cuisine: Punjabi/Indian. Extensive menu of meat and vegetarian curries, breads, rice and savory snacks with added bonus of huge range of Indian sweets, all made on the premises. Burfi, halwa, ladoo and more in all sorts of flavours.
Takeaway: Yes. Also well-established catering service.
Welcome and Service: Patient and efficient. Order at the counter and then find yourself a table if you’re eating in. Be prepared to queue at peak times – but that’s a testament to how well-regarded this place is.
Decor and ambiance: Mellow. The corner location allows for big windows on two sides, creating a bright, airy space from which to watch the world go by outside. Seating is comfortable and even on a busy lunchtime, it wasn’t hard to find a table because most customers were buying takeaways.
Food: Part of the Foleshill Road scene since 1975, Standard Sweet Centre is possibly the closest thing Coventry has to an iconic restaurant. We ordered vegetable samosas, which were cooked to order and came with with a tamarind sauce. For a white British person like me, seeing samosas served with something that looked a bit like like Mum’s Sunday Roast gravy required a degree of readjustment; but actually it was a brilliant combination – hot, sour sauce bringing a sexy, voluptuous depth to crisp, pillowy samosas. For mains, my friend and I shared mattar paneer and chilli paneer. The mattar paneer came in a rich, complex gravy, alive with cardomom and cinnamon. It was good, but the sauce-to-solids ratio arguably favoured the sauce side just a bit too much. The chilli paneer took me by surprise with its Indo-Chinese overtones, evident both in taste and visuals. The paneer was served in slices rather than the usual cubes (if I hadn’t know it was paneer, I might have thought it was tofu), and eating it with chapati didn’t seem quite right. I kept thinking it was missing noodles.
As a treat for later, I took home a piece of chocolate burfi – chosen mostly because it offered the weird-but-thrilling foodie double-entendre of looking a bit like millionaire’s shortbread while promising to taste like childhood Milky Bars. Add to that the dense, wet-sand texture of a guilty piece of good old seaside fudge and you’ve got the whole package: sweet, delicious and takes you right back there.
Value for Money: Totally. Nothing on the menu costs more than four quid. Get a curry and a couple of chapatis and still have change from a fiver.
Vegan: Plenty of vegetarian options. You would need to check with staff to be sure they are vegan.
Room for Improvement?: They got our order slightly wrong – but were very apologetic about it.
Food Hygiene Rating: 5 (Very Good)