William Sitwell reviews Voujon
, Northamptonshire: 'The lamb chops alone should make Long Buckby famous' 

Voujon
, Long Buckby
Our critic loves an Indian, but will this colourful restaurant in Northamptonshire impress? Credit: Voujon

I can no longer dine at my favourite local Indian restaurant in Northamptonshire on account of what has happened with the decor. Now covering most of the walls is a sort of spectacular light feature in which bubbles of various luminescent colours flow down like some mythical waterfall. As well as this, the lighting has been reduced. The effect creates a permanent and mesmerising distraction.

Wherever you glance, the bubbles catch your eye as they cascade downwards. This psychedelic fountain of garish colour hampers all conversation, so all you can do to look away is fill your mouth with green chillies until you’re sweating and weeping. 
I suppose you could dine with a blindfold on but I like to see what’s on my plate. Even collecting a takeaway there renders me aesthetically injured, so until they come to their senses I’m casting around for a new curry house.

I found one in Long Buckby, a 
village that might date back to Domesday but offers little romance, being a one-time goods marshalling yard and a centre of shoemaking, now better known for its boarding cattery.

Voujon, an old Bangla word meaning ‘invitation to dine’, has won a county award for its food but will struggle to gain international recognition for its decor. (Though compared to my former curry haunt, it’s Colefax and Fowler.) It’s airport-lounge-chic in the main restaurant, with pastel walls and figurative paintings that ask no questions and offer no answers.

While London’s Indian restaurants front the curve by going uber-local, focusing on the cuisines of specific regions, Voujon proudly asserts that ‘our master chefs have selected special dishes from every region of India and Bangladesh’, which is ambitious but quite inaccurate, thankfully, as the menu only runs to six pages.

"The main dishes were so bursting with colour and flavour and distinction that I’m drooling at the memory."  Credit: Voujon 

Because I was reviewing, I ordered a starter, but I often think this is an error with Indian food. I find the glory is frequently in all the side dishes – the veg and lentils – and I want to save some room for them. 
I also get that Labrador slobbering thing where, having ordered, I’m so excited at the prospect of the food that I’m almost incapable of speech. (Maybe that’s the thinking behind the bubble artwork. No chat, just bright bubbles, lager and poppadoms.)

Indeed my chicken chaat starter was a disappointing flabby wrap filled with chunks of meat cooked 
in an indeterminant spice. It came on a bed of shredded lettuce and cabbage with a slice of cucumber and a cherry tomato on top. I bet 
no one ever eats those garnishes. 
Yet so many traditional Indian 
restaurants serve piles of them – especially with grilled meats. If 
Jeremy Corbyn banned them rather than, say, public schools, I might be inclined to listen.

But then came the main events: the most glorious array of dishes, each so bursting with colour and flavour and distinction that I’m drooling at the memory. I can honestly say the lamb chops alone should make Long Buckby famous. They were a dream – lightly charred at the edges, the meat was soft and infused with garlic and ginger. Although they did sit on a pointless bed of a soon-to-be-outlawed pile of onions.

There was also a wet and soupy yellow tarka dal, just how I like 
it (but with another future-illegal slice of raw onion on top). A single raw onion ring also bedecked a zesty and hot chicken jalfrezi with enough green peppers to make us sweat away happily.

The waiter who brought the food to us on a trolley bellowed out the names of the dishes like a town crier. He should be out on the streets declaiming the new greatness of Long Buckby. ‘Gone is the goods marshalling yard. Long live the Voujon lamb chop!’

Read William Sitwell's latest restaurant review on telegraph.co.uk every Friday from 6am