My Favourite Restaurant: The ultimate tikka

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The Independent Online
ANDREW BRISCOE, managing director of credit card company Goldfish, is something of a creature of habit. Every Friday night he sets off for a meal at The Banaras, his local Indian restaurant in Farnham, Surrey, with his wife, Clare.

"We use it to keep our marriage together," he laughs. "It's become something of a tradition for us, so we can catch up on each other's busy weeks."

Briscoe, without fail, opts for a main course of lamb tikka masala, the best he's ever tasted, he says. He always starts with poppadoms and chutney, and chooses the same bottle of St Emilion to accompany the food. Also, the couple always sit at the same table every week, just by the bar. "It really saddens my wife. She says `Jesus, you're so unadventurous'. I say `I'm adventurous all week and so I want to be conservative on a Friday night'."

Briscoe, 39, eats out at different restaurants for business during the week, lunching journalists and suppliers. So he says Friday night is "a sort of religious experience. In the busy lives that most people lead, they need a bit of religious ritual," he adds. He describes the Banaras as a "posher version of the typical Indian, a step up from the flock wallpaper". It is also "wonderfully cheap". His meal for two never exceeds pounds 40. The management, he says, are very accommodating people, who unfailingly offer him the menu, and happily package any leftovers into a doggie bag to put on baked potatoes the following week. But though he says he is certain his lamb at Banaras is always going to be "the best", he eschews a desert - admitting that, for his taste at least, the French have the upper hand on that front. Instead, after their main course the couple go home "and always have a piece of ritual Toblerone".

The Banaras, Downing Street, Farnham, Surrey (Telephone: 01252 734081)