CLIMBING Ingleborough in the mist was a fine way to build up an appetite for a visit to Settle's Ruchee Restaurant.

A recent regional winner in the much coveted English Curry Awards, the Ruchee has been in Settle for more than 20 years.

Its owner, Mohammed Ali is proud of how he has taken regulars on what he calls " a taste journey", bringing them to his Bangladeshi style of blending Asian spices to produce unique flavours. As he says, he prepares food that he wants to eat.

And the locals are there in force, now that the busy Dales walking season has ended, but parties of 'Three Peakers' are still there - heads down, devouring the generous portions.

No alcohol is sold at the Ruchee, so people come along with their own beer and bottles of wine.

My partner garnered a few chilled cans of Spanish beer from Booths while I was treated to a delicious mocktail and a bottle of chilled water.

Drink prices are often a surprise when dining out and I'm sure the relaxed atmosphere was helped by people knowing there'd be no shocks on the bill.

Crisp poppadoms were complimented by freshly made pickles before the arrival of an excellent special mix starter.

Bright, light onion bhajis, airy to the core ,came with succulent seek kebab which had it's own defined flavour, and chunks of tender chicken tikka too.

The mutton naga, topped with a sliced fresh chilli was a robust powerful curry dish with enough heat to lift a cloud from the top of a Dales peak. Its steel pot was packed with pieces of juicy mutton, lamb-like in texture but with mature flavour.

Egg fans would be delighted with the quality of the yellow omelette resting classically on my beautiful chicken tikka biryani. The rice soaked in a, rich sauce was both fluffy but with plenty of texture. Mr Ali is mad about rice and hunts out the best, he told us.

Just one dish of plain rice was enough, teamed with puffy chappatis fresh from the tandoor. The rich saag bhaji side dish was made with full leaves, not minced, and tasted as fresh as could be.

The Ruchee is prized for it's customer service and the excellent staff were attentive, but not intrusive. The whole restaurant felt like it was having a good time.

Thinking about it - drinks prices can often make diners suck their teeth, but when you bring your own, there is no need to moan. Bring your own booze makes people happy, so why don't we have that in every type of restaurant? 

The Ruchee is open every day, including bank holidays.