The Qulion isn't somewhere I’ve ever thought of going for dinner, it’s also somewhere that I’m not sure I’d rush back to, not because it was a disaster by any means, rather it’s that the Cinnamon Club is in the same area and this suffers by comparison.
I found myself going for a spontaneous dinner with a friend on a Monday night after work, when a few drinks in the Zander bar (which incidentally is a dead loss on a Monday night – as quiet as the grave, with no vibe at all) turned into a plan to get food and a professed desire for ‘something nearby – I like Indian food’, so off we trotted.
It’s strangely bland and beige inside; clean, smart, relaxed and stylish, but it feels like a hotel restaurant – you honestly can’t recall what it's like even 5 minutes after walking outside – I had to just look at their website to summon any memories of it, whereas even now I could tell you exactly what the Cinnamon Club is like inside.
The atmosphere wasn’t exactly vibrant – not helped perhaps by it being Monday, but also there is a slightly strange shape to the dining room, so depending on where you are sat two thirds of the remainder is out of your view. We also got sat in what was clearly the ‘date’ seat – a cosy table for 2 where you sat side by side knees touching – it’s a good job that I’ve known her for years and we both thought this was funny, but it would have been good for them to have asked if this was OK, it clearly could have been awkward under different circumstances.
The staff didn’t seem to be very on the ball – it might be unfair as our waiter did say to us it was his first day, so perhaps not fair to judge his performance based on that, but there was a bit of a lack of understanding of what was on the menu, the sharing concept wasn’t really explained well etc. But things arrived without mistakes, no one got wine in their lap etc, so not a disaster by any means.
Food is South West Indian; lots of fish, a mix of spicy and mild and creamy. We shared baked black cod – which was exceptionally good, meltingly soft and full of warm complex flavours, prawn masala – lovely, but not enough of it, Manglorean chicken – spicier than we expected, steamed rice and Pachadi (pineapple and pomegranate mixed with yoghurt, ground coconut, cumin seeds and mustard). It was all good, but again I just prefer the Cinnamon Club.
Value for money was fine – with all the dishes above, water and wine the bill came to just under £60 per head. The biggest problem is I just can’t see myself returning, I’ll take the 10 minute walk and go to the better option instead.