Gymkhana and Trishna are further west, Cafe Namaste in the East but nothing centrally. Does Lotus fulfilled its aim?
From the outside it initially does not fulfil this aim. The signs outside offering gourmet food look a bit cheap and not really needed, especially once you see the nice decor and classy vibe inside. I feel that this has been done to attract tourists and passers by.
Sat by the window, we had a view of windy London and a nice cosy area for ourselves.
There seemed to be some work drinks going on in the bar, with a lot of boisterous office 'lads' laughing and drinking in the back, but this did not ruin our mood or evening. Our night started with a lovely glass of prosecco and the introduction of an amuse-bouche. This was a gentle soup served in a chai cup and was a nice warm start, away from the gusts from outside.
The partridge tandoori was really good. The smokey flavour and char cut through and tingled my taste buds and my sense of smell too. The salad or salsa of sorts which came with it had some nice punch and kick with the heat and the red watercress creating a lovely salad to eat with the partridge. Tender and moist the partridge was a nice new touch and something different. Change can be good.
The main courses continued this theme, we didn't order too much for main (or at least we didn't think we did). We had Roe Deer Biryani covered in a pastry lid, Lamb chops and a spinach paneer. All for two people. Extra rice was not needed because of the Biryani and i was thoroughly impressed with the food.
The Roe Deer Biryani, was packed full of herbs and aromatic spices. The zing of the cardamon and the tenderness of the meat added to a great dish. The dish was for two, but it could of probably been enough for two, Laura and I were stuffed just by eating this alone.
The lamb chops were succulent and meaty. Sometimes at the usual curry joints i go to, the amount of meat is quite minimal but here it was a juicy piece and on top of this they added a rump of meat on the plate too. Because of our full stomachs I had to eat the rump all alone as Laura had no more space.
The spinach paneer was packed full of green goodness, with a good amount of chilli and garlic. We both had this, so kissing later was not an issue or a problem. All of this food, left us not needing or wanting dessert. This dessert menu was appealing but not then.
It was a great evening and we were well looked after by the staff. They were attentive, informative and kind. We were very lucky and had a guest visit by the head chef too. He definitely reached his goal of bringing fine dining to the west end and I look forward to coming back here. Good night and Good FOOD. Foodie win all round.
Our latest curry adventure was a new journey to stoke newington. Not an area of London renowned for its curries and as I was walking to the venue I went pass a medley of Turkish restaurants, a few burger places and a pizza place too. The smells of these places was alluring but we were focused on Indian tonight and at Rasa Travacone.
The curry club is a collective, so before my feelings on the restaurant, below are some words of wisdom by my esteemed curry club crew:
"The food was great and the staff very attentive. Lots of choice and reasonably priced."
"Tastes so good makes you want to slap yo maji.....
(Maji is Hindi for mamma)
The dishes were delicately spiced - the star of the show was the dry lamb..".
"A surprising little gem tucked away on the side streets of Stoke Newington. Tasty food served with a smile."
For starters we ordered Dal baingun, Konju Fry (battered king prawns - in heart shapes too), Lamb Puff Pastry (a Kerla bakery special), Chicken Cutlets and Mysore Bonda - potato balls. It all had that golden crisp look to it m, but packed full of flavours which were light and gentle. Nothing too stodgy and the cobra which drank with it, helped.
Our mains continued this theme of difference. One thing that stood out to me was the strength of the spices. Once spice in each dish would dominant and give off both a fragrant smell and taste to enlighten the dish. The dishes were Nadan Kozhy Curry - common chicken curry, Erachi Olathiyathu (Dry) - lamb, Vazhutananga pal curry - aubergine in coconut milk and Koottu Parippu - lentil curry. These were accompanied by paratha (naan) and lemon rice and coconut rice.
An interesting experience to say the least. Rasa provided us with an alternative taste to what our usual curry nights offer us. Will I go back, probably yes. The price points were great the service attentive bordering on too much, but still a worthwhile night and very enjoyable.
Café Spice Namaste: Thank you Cryus Todiwala OBE
Oh curry night how I look forward to you every month. Catch up with good friends, a few beers and then some grilled meats and curries. What more could I want from you? How about Duck Sausage, Venison and an Ostrich curry. Well at Café Spice I got all three.
My Top Indian Places In London:
3- Lahore (Commercial Road)
5- La Porte de Indes
At Café Spice, we were prepared to pay that bit extra for a celebrity chef and his food. The menu was quite confusing but we went for the platter (as above). This consisted of mushroom, paneer, duck sausage, venison, beef and salmon. All were cooked really were and were very tasty. The duck sausage was a great surprise, I just wish there was more of it. Tender, lightly charred and juicy is how I would describe it all.
I = and saluseer,s aat heyre re they take great British classics and put their Indian twist into it. take British classics and put
The restaurant itself was nice enough and took you to a dining experience above most curry houses. Great service and pleasant staff but at £35 a head it is what would be expected. Overall, it was a good experience to go somewhere new but at half the price you can go to needoos or tayyabs.
Overall: Treat yourself Indian, nice atmosphere and a new experience.
Address: 16 Prescot St., London E1 8AZ
Phone: 0207 4889242
Needoo Grill: We all love a Mixed Grill and a Curry
For main course, we ordered four curries, chicken keema, dry lamb curry and a couple of others (sorry, I didn't make the order), which seemed to be chickpeas and lamb. In reviews earlier in the day, I had seen many people mention the dry lamb curry, so I had to go for it. It was very nice and had a pleasant tangy flavour to it; this alongside some naan made for a great mouthful. The other curries were very tasty too and I will repeat my stance that Needoo Grill is now my preferred destination in East London. For under £20 a head and a BYO- I would say definitely go along.
This month after many emails back and forth we decided on bundukhan on commercial street. I had no idea what to expect but mixed grills and curry. Unfortunately, once I got there I saw that it was an alcohol free building. Not even a BYO, there was no alcohol anywhere. I'm not an alcoholic, but curry and beer just go so well together.
The food though is more important and onto my review. As per usual we ordered a mix grill to start with. It was lamb chops and lamb and chicken tikka pieces along with a tandoori chicken. All in all the starters weren't that great, it was just okay and next time when we go somewhere new, I will suggest ordering a new dish and not just a mix grill.
This will now go on to be a really bad review; this is because I have no idea what we ordered and what they were called. We had a chicken curry, a lamb curry, a lentil curry and an okra curry. These were all a step up from the starters and I was very impressed by them. The chicken curry had a strong coconut and buttery flavour which was lovely. The okra had a nice spice and with the butter naan it was a good bite to have. The lamb and lentils were also very nice and had that extra edge to them.
Everyone asked for my opinion after and what I would write and thankfully they agreed for the most part. They all feel that I was slightly harsh on the starters. Minus the fact that they had no alcohol I would like to go back and at £15 each a bonus too.
The picture above is of Kapil and his interesting choice of drink due to no alcohol. Lychee cocktail - wellllll.
Back to one of the classic curry houses in London. Lahore, just off commercial street has been welcoming people for a good curry for many years and I have been many times too.
This was the first time since Tayyabs that we had a boys curry night out so we were very much looking forward to it.
With Lahore you know what you are going to get. Good food, not great service but overall good value. The fun of bringing your own alcohol has always ensured that there is a constant flow of customers to Lahore and tonight was no different. With tennis and football on in the background we were able to have a nice chat and keep up to date with the goings on in the sporting world, which featured Roger Federer getting knocked out of Wimbledon and Brazil beating Uruguay.
The usual starters were ordered. Please see the other curry page for what they are. The highlights were the lamb chops(pictured above); these were nice and meaty, had good flavour and was not too spicy. I wanted more but I am watching my figure. The chilli paneer, justified its chilli title and ensured that I drank more beer than usual in order to calm the burn in my mouth. Also my self made Sheekh kebab wrap was lovely, sheekh kebab with Naan with chutney and salad was very delicious and the seasoning in the lamb was very good and again made me want more.
The main courses were a bit of a let down, I think change is good but sometimes it can lead to mistakes. This was definitely the case with the Nihari we ordered. This Lamb Shank curry was a special addition from the Don and sounded very good but tasted just okay. It just felt like a cheap piece of lamb with some curry sauce over it and did not set the taste buds in motion. The Channa Masala (chick pea curry) was very tasty but a bit watery and was described by one of my friends as a soup.
The service, although not as bad as Tayyabs last time, was not much better. Where last time Tayyabs rushed us off our seats; the guys here just didn't seem to really care and huffed when asked for any assistance. As a group we weren't too impressed, but for £15 a head I was.
MY RATING: 7/10
After the last fiasco from Tayyabs we had decided to have an additional curry night to catch up from our lost months in April and this time it was a special night with the ladies too.
This month we went on a friends dads recommendation and visited the Sun and Sand Lounge in Finchley central. We had arranged to meet at 8 but Laura was hungry and thirsty so we got there for ten past seven for a quick drink and a light bite before everyone else. The restaurant has a feel of a bar/restaurant with large booths and small stools around the tables, there was a welcoming feel about it and their service was quick and friendly; a definite upgrade from last month.
As we were quite peckish we ordered some Onion Bhajis before everyone else had arrived. I don't usually got for these but it was Laura's choice and I was happy she made this choice. The Bhaji portion was very generous with three each and of good size. The batter was light and crispy with the spice and herbs making it a great quick snack. When the other couples arrived they too had light bites; Lamb Samosas and a Mehti Gota (Fenugreek and chillis fried balls) and all were impressed with these. Good start!
For the starters we went with are usual selection of mixed grill, chilli paneer and mogo. The extra this time round was chilli chicken and all the starters were of good quality. The chilli paneer especially was very good with extra veg added to the spice of the paneer, giving it a good kick. The Sheekh kebabs weren't the greatest with the seasoning and herbs lacking, however the chops and the chicken tandoori legs were nice- more so the chicken, which was very tender and cooked well as the meat just fell off the bone.
The majority of the ladies were quite full by now and were reluctant to order any main courses. We maintained our traditions and ordered two meat dishes and due to the extended number also ordered two vegetarian dishes too. Altogether for mains we ordered Dahl Makhani (black lentils with cream and tomatoes), Channa Masala (chick pea curry), Karahi Chicken and Lamb Rogan Josh. The main courses are never the centre of attention when we have these curry nights and this time didn't prove to be any different. The dishes were tasty and I enjoyed the spices of the Dahl, whereas the Karahi Chicken and Lamb were okay and provided warmth and good flavours.
I do like this restaurant and they serve alcohol which is a bonus. The location was ideal for me and the service was quick and on point. The only negative was that their menu was out of date as there cake of the day had not been served for many months according to the waiter. In spite of this the deserts were nice and had the sense of extra quality whereas most other curry nights you feel like they had just picked up a packet from Iceland.
A good local curry house and cheap drinks too.
MY RATING: 7/10
Tayyabs review - back for a curry night- SHOCKING SERVICE
We did the usual order, mix grilled and chilli panneer. These were very nice and the lamb chops were succulent. It doesn't have the portion of meat that Lahore has but it is very nice. The Chicken tikka was flavoured nicely but slightly dry. The sheekh kebabs were good and when placed in a naan with some mint chutney and onions it is lovely. A special addition made by the Don (Fauji) this time was for Fish Masala as a grilled starter. This was okay, hot in temperature but a bit boring. I don't think this will be ordered next time but it was an okay change.
I haven't gone into too much detail about the food because it was good and as expected. The main issue this time round was the appalling service. The service has never been that good, it is efficient and they will always try to move you on after you have finished such is the turnaround, however this time they were really bad. The restaurant has become a lot bigger where they have extended both ways, upstairs and down too. In spite of all the extra seating there was a queue of about 20 people still waiting to be seated when we left.
Examples of poor service are:
- After our starters we were told to moved our bones into the serving plate and when asked for a new plate were told 'move bones onto the plate' very rude and abrupt.
- When ordering our main courses, after a bit of indecision the waiter decided to second guess us and then told us that we were taking too long and he walked away.
- When trying to get his attention to order 2nd time round he told us to wait ( how rude of us to expect our orders to be taken)
- The waiter recommended us a Meat Pilau special which was boring ( not bad service in this case, just a note of caution- the dish was plain and boring)
- When the waiter came to give us our desert I had to take the plate from him and his smile was non-existent (now i'm just being picky)
- At the end our bill arrived without asking for it and the waiter came over three times to ask if he could take it away before all the cash was handed over. Alongside this we were also asked to leave the table while we were still drinking our beer.
All in all, the food was good, the price good too but the service and the fact that there are good alternatives nearby means I won't be coming back again any time soon.
MY RATING: 5/10
OH CURRY NIGHT- Mumbai Junction Review
We ordered the usual and were not too disappointed. Starters were: Mixed Grill, Chilli Paneer and Mogo. We ordered two mixed grill which at £30 did suprise us somewhat. The food was good however, but the true test is based on the lambchops. The lambchops here were nice but i have had better, more meat needed please, too much bone. The rest of the mixed grill and starters were nice and went well the the butter naan, the trick here especially with the sheekh kebab is to create a roll with the naan, some chutney and some veg = perfect. I dont think it was horsemeat either!
For the main course, we always do get a bit confused and this takes a bit longer and usually depends on the mood of the crowd that evening. Ever since the middle of last year I have really enjoyed the vegetable curries and I make sure that this is on our list of curries ordered. This time round we went for the Chana (Chick peas) Masala with a chicken curry and a mehti ghost. All in all they worked well but the chana was a bit disappointing. It felt as though they had used an old curry sauce and just poured some chick peas over the sauce. I would stop complaining but then there would be no point of me writing.
Curry night is always good for a catch up, talk about life and have a few beers.
Does anyone have any suggestions for where we shouldo go to next?
Curry night- Mirch Masala Review
The picture on the right is starting to look predictable but this is what curry night is all about. And our overall rating is based on the starters and main courses but mostly the lambchops. So off to Mirch Masala we went and this month only 4 attended due to personal circumstances and health reasons. DAMN SNOW!
On to the food: the starters we ordered were the obvious ones; mixed grill and chilli paneer. Sherwin always orders the paneer without fail and it never is that great. This time around it was the same. The mixed grill we got was catered for four, so four lambchops, four tikkas and the same with chicken tikka, chicken wings and sheekh kebab. The summary of the dish was that the chicken wings were not great, slightly overdone. The lambchops also were slightly overcooked and lacked any real flavour. The quantity of meat was pleasing enough but the flavour was lacking.
The highlight of this trip were the main courses and the curries. The aubergine curry was lovely with good flavours. This with naan goes hand in hand; and from my hand into my mouth. The lamb ghosht and karahi chicken (i think) were lovely too and the amount we ordered was perfect. This place is definitely better for its curries rather than the starters. Therefore:
MY RATING: 6/10
This month we decided to change the scene and go out in town, so we went for Dishoom in Covent garden, conveniently placed next doors to Stringfellows. This restaurant was recommended by colleagues at work. With a curry house being in the city and recommended by my new colleagues I was slightly sceptical, so I did some research. I read a few reviews and the general consensus was that it was good place with good food but pricey and basically ‘stick to the curry house you know’.
My opinion on the restaurant was exactly that: ‘stick to the curry house you know’. Once you enter, it definitely has a different atmosphere than the usual curry places I have been to. European and American waitresses to start (I thought I was lost) and then fancy décor to match ( I must have been lost). However, the research had served me well and I was prepared. We had a drink at the bar downstairs and then after waiting for twenty minutes our table was ready.
The food: the lamb chops and chicken tikka were lovely with a few different spices which added to the tender meat and herbs. We also had gunpowder potatoes – they were interesting, nothing too special except the name. As always the starters are usually the favourite part of the meal but we were still hungry and went for a few main dishes with nan. The daal was lovely- I had tried to make my own earlier in the week and failed big time. This Black daal was creamy and tasty, the highlight of the main courses. The Biryani was okay with bug chunks of lamb but quite dry and the chicken curry was average at best.
I am glad I went for the experience and to do something different as it is almost Christmas. Good to go once but stick to what you know.
MY RATING- 6.5/10
Once a month I go for a curry and we go to all the usual favourites, such as Tayyabs, Lahore (commercial road branch of course) and we have now started to extend our reach.
For Novembers edition of curry club we went to Venue 5 in Eastcote I got there early as I finished work early; good time management on my behalf and I let my friends know and treated myself to a pint. By the time the others got there we decided to move from the bar to a table, the waiter did not look impressed but we did move and on the way to the new table the waiter 'accidently' spilt my beer on my shirt and trousers. I was not impressed- but as you have gathered, I am a nice guy.
Now let's move past the drink spilling at on to the food. My opinion = Good, not Great. Mixed Grill to start was nice, and our special addition which was really nice was the Lamb Mushkaki. The spices on the lamb were very good and with nan and mint
sauce it worked into a nice roll.
For the main course we had butter chicken and tarka dahl (lentil curry). I wasn't overly impressed with the chicken and while i have had better lentil curry's, this one was worth the earlier spillage, with rich herbs and flavour making me want to make my own one.
You will find out in the coming months that there is only one way to finish off our curry night and that is with a Ras Malai or a Kulfi. They aren't the greatest of deserts but they do the trick of a ending the meal with a treat . Here the Kulfi was okay but as is becoming common place they taste like the skinny cow and the quality here is missing.
MY RATING - 6/10