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We tried Valley Connection in Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, for a taste of Indian delight





With the Bury St Edmunds food scene continuing to explode I thought this time I would visit what I class as one of the founding forefathers of the movement.

Valley Connection (the VC) in Churchgate Street, I feel, changed the way the town looked at Indian food and is a place, unfortunately, may have been slightly forgotten about by some with the number of great food spots increasing.

Walking through the door into the embossed glass entrance and into the spacious dining room, which can seat more than 100 diners, I was instantly welcomed and taken to my seat.

The VC has won numerous awards over the years. Pictures: Kev Hurst
The VC has won numerous awards over the years. Pictures: Kev Hurst

The menu is packed with great dishes – biriyanis, butter chickens and pordanishis to name a few – but I opt for the chicken chaat to start and and an interesting sounding Haryali chicken masala with ‘green chicken’.

Sitting at my beautifully set table, with its golden napkin ring and equally indulgent setting plate, I hoped with the colourful dishes I was expecting that I would not mess up the expertly ironed white table cloth.

The smells of spice and garlic cooking from the kitchen wafted to the table and I could tell I was in for a treat.

Chicken chaat with puri and yoghurt sauce. Picture: Kev Hurst
Chicken chaat with puri and yoghurt sauce. Picture: Kev Hurst

With that the first dish arrived, the chicken chaat. It came with yoghurt sauce and puri, which is an Indian fried bread.

Now there is nothing I love more than a dish which is interactive and tactile, so I ditched the cutlery for this and dived right in scooping up the chaat with the puri (don’t judge).

The tender spiced red marinated pieces of chicken with that deep tomato and courgette flavour and slight crunch of the onions warmed my soul and dipping in to the cool yoghurt sauce was just a dream.

I was literally licking my fingers in delight as my empty plate left the table.

Haryali chicken masala with peshwari naan. Picture: Kev Hurst
Haryali chicken masala with peshwari naan. Picture: Kev Hurst

No sooner had the first dish left, the second was in front of me – the Haryali chicken masala and a peshwari naan.

The warm naan was beautifully cooked, crisp to the bite and with that soft hit of coconut in the centre, there was a perfect balance of sweet and savoury – just what you want from a naan of that type.

The reason for the ‘green chicken’ in the masala was due to the meat being marinated in a puree of spinach and coriander and was as vibrant in taste as it was in colour.

The tenderness of the chicken broke through the creaminess of the sauce and the sauce in turn gave lovely undertones to lift the chicken.

Valley Connection in Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Pictures: Kev Hurst
Valley Connection in Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Pictures: Kev Hurst

With a light instrumental saxophone version of Careless Whisper playing over the sound system and eating these dishes on a Wednesday lunchtime - what a terrible job I have, right?

Finishing this plate of deliciousness and paying the bill, I came out of the VC feeling beautifully filled by what it had offered up and it showed me that Valley Connection is an oldie but still a goodie.