It seems that we've been constrained to restaurants not far from home quite a bit recently, and today my wife, knowing that I enjoy Indian food, suggested we try a fairly new branch of the well-known Southall eatery. next to Heathrow. Its in the Sheraton Skyline hotel and the evening didn't start well when despite a huge car park, it was difficult to find a space at 6.30pm We did eventually get parked though it has to be said that at 8 when we emerged it would have been even more difficult. Also note that you have to pay for parking, in advance, at £4 for up to two hours.
The restaurant itself is very large, with well spaced tables and a striking décor that I have to admit has rather too much bling for my taste. Its also noisy- this exacerbated by kids from the semi-private rooms round the edge running round the place. If you want a quiet dinner in a sophisticated environment , I'm afraid this isn't it.
Turning to the food. The showpiece of the restaurant is a Robata grill , and the products of this take pride of place on the menu and our waiter pushed it rather hard. What isn't clear from the website, nor the menu you get on site, is that the portions indicated are small plates suitable for sharing, and what they'd really like apparently is for customers to buy a number of sharing plates from here and ignore the traditional items . The selection of traditional Indian food ( which is I guess what we expected to eat) is much smaller than you'll find in most Indian restaurants. They really are staking a lot on this grill! Personally I prefer the menu at their Southall restaurant, or at the Mehfil, on the same street.
The food in fact wasn't bad at all, though my wife would say that her chicken (described by the waiter as the mildest available ) was a little spicy . We shared a portion of salmon-from the grill- and a Papri chaat which we usually enjoy. The salmon was tender , though I can't work out why they wrap food in a banana leaf so you get no hint of charcoal at all. Our main course chicken , lamb on the bone, rice, raita and Dal Makhani were exactly as you'd expect.
The bill for two of us with one large beer, service but no coffee or dessert, came to £73. Now there's a lot of Indian restaurants round Heathrow and that's expensive in the competitive sense. Its a lot more than you'd pay at the other Madhu's branch for similar food, or at any of the thirty-odd local Indian restaurants I've used in the last few years. Its the cost of the airport hotel premises I'd guess, and of course that grill! I don't mind paying more for more, but more for the same is an issue for more than just me I'd imagine.
Leaving the restaurant we were asked for our car details so we wouldn't have to pay for parking. Weird, the parking is visibly pay & display so we'd paid, and no offer of reimbursement was made. What's the point- are they trying to get notional credit for providing free parking without actually doing so? Or are they just disorganised? Odd.