We were a party of 15 on a Wednesday night: booked well in advance, pre ordered the menu to save time (and make it easier for service). They were told it was a 50th birthday special occasion, there would be elderly diners, and asked for a good place in the restaurant.
Arrived 7 pm to fawning waiters – restaurant empty. Inital service was attentive with complimentary poppadums etc. but we were increasingly forgotten as the restaurant filled to bursting. We left almost four hours later.
15 people were squeezed into a table only adequate for 8. The table was in the far rear of the restaurant under an awning over what was clearly the back yard (called the conservatory!). The table top could barely accommodate the crockery and glasses let alone the food. Eating was an almost impossibility with elbows touching.
The management of this restaurant has forgotten that a dining experience particularly at this price consists of both good food and comfort in equal measure.
The food was good but not great, certainly nowhere near the quality I would have expected from the plaudits. Dishes were made with fresh spices and were potentially flavoursome but to our taste (6 of us are Indian) seem to have been significantly toned down, to their detriment (to suit the ‘british’ palate?). The flavour tones are subsequently too subtle; verging on bland especially when served tepid. (Too politely, I didn’t send back the Indian wine when I tasted it.). However we enjoyed the lobster and the smoked aubergine.
The ‘signature’ dessert (masala bread pudding) tasted like bread pudding with a bit of spice in it and it was dominated by a large dollop of poor quality vanilla ice cream. As for the rest of the desserts, nothing of note. The portions were small served on large plates and so had high prices. The bill came to over £500 (excluding alcoholic drinks).
I called to discuss the poor accommodation with the manager the following day. As I had not complained on the day there was nothing he could do. However, he did offer to do something special for me on my next visit.
If you are a large group, visit the restaurant first, ask where your table will be located, check that there will be enough elbow room for your diners, that they will be able to leave their place should they wish to use the bathroom, that there will be enough room on the table for the crockery, glasses, cutlery and food, insist that the food is served hot, don't order the Indian wine, avoid the desserts and everything will be fine.