I was joined on this quest by Claudio, who had previously been along to C-Shack, amongst other places.We found the basement in lively throng when we arrived. I was immediately struck by the diversity of the customers. There were families with prams, teenagers (I spotted someone getting ID’d), suits, tweeds, hens, folks for whom Indian was their mother cuisine, dating couples and lone diners. This seemed like a good sign, no?
The waiter was extremely polite but forcefully particular in what we should be ordering. I was ushered away from the vegetable filled naan, a dish I’d not seen on the menu anywhere else in the city and was keen to try, in favour of a more routine plain naan, for example. Claudio was likewise cautioned against his original choice of dish in favour of one of their specials. I wouldn’t have minded if the advice had turned out well, but in general it was of little benefit and in fact proved detrimental.
We were eventually permitted to order the prawn puri and mixed kebab to start, followed by chicken and lamb dishes from their specials menu. We added naan (both garlic and plain, which the waiter advised were necessary, but which were both left half eaten, at the end) and rice.Starters promptly arrived and were solidly decent without generating too much fervour. The puri of my dish was nicely light, but the prawns were underseasoned. The mixed kebabs were ordinary, at best.
Main courses reflected the same mixed bag. The standout dish of the evening was my lamb, which was really very good. Claudio’s chicken dish was pretty tough, though. The naans were fair and the rice was rice.We were left to reflect upon a meal that had some of the elements of a good feed, but was weak in others. Many restaurants on a Wednesday evening would be proud of the crowd that the Indian Lounge had attracted, but I did struggle to see why they were all there. This is middle of the road fare in a fairly inauspicious setting. But if they can motivate a crowd to flock to this stuff, this is a place from which others can learn, although what those lessons might be is very hard to pin down.
Today’s questers were: Claudio, Blythe
We ate: prawn puri, mixed kebab, chicken, lamb, naan, rice
We drank: red wine, lager
We wore: suits
Total bill: £50.55