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The Voujon is the third restaurant to open in Northamptonshire by that name and is the Northampton branch of that chain or franchise; the other two are situated in Wellingborough and Long Buckby. The new addition opened its doors at the beginning of December just in time to capture the busy office and works celebrations which by all accounts was a success story in itself, in fact rumour has it that the long established curry house some 250 yards away benefited immensely from the Voujon's potential customers who were unable to gain access due to a full house.
I first spotted the new arrival just a few days before it's opening and promised myself a visit when time allowed, that day had come albeit almost three months after its opening. The day of the week was Wednesday usually the night when restaurants start to get busier. We arrived at 7.45 to find just a couple of other diners and two more who must have almost followed us in. Those numbers remained static for the duration of our visit although I will say it was the coldest night of the year with snow threatening to settle, coupled with the fact that a championship football match was being televised. Cynical and envious competitors might have said their honeymoon period was over but I have driven past on several occasions within the past three weeks and always found it reasonably busy especially for a venue that is placed some 3 to 4 miles out on the edge of town.
The restaurant is situated on a corner, the exterior being of contemporary design with large windows, and the privacy to diners being given by modern wooden venation blinds. The interior was a modern minimalist design with the warmth of light spicy colours very carefully co-ordinated and complimented by the custom painted modern frameless pictures of an Indian theme. All this was illuminated by inset feature lighting coupled with chrome wall lights, no expense had been spared with wood, marble and terracotta carpeting defining the slightly different levels and areas. This establishment was out to shade all competition be it Indian or otherwise giving an environment that seduced you.
We were warmly greeted and showed to our table which was neatly set with starched linen colour co-ordinated napkins and cloth which like the chairs contrasted to the other setting on the slightly stepped area in the other half of the restaurant. We were promptly served drinks and offered the menu.
The menu was interestingly set out offering lamb, chicken, duck, prawn, lobster and fresh in season vegetable dishes, all imaginatively described and each promising a different gastronomic experience. Between the three of us we ordered lamb tawa, a mixed chicken & lamb roghon, vegetable rice, side dishes of the very English bombay potatoes plus breads to each diners personal taste. The dishes arrived twenty minutes later, very politely and efficiently served and after some five minutes or so the waiter courteously enquired if everything was to our liking.
Whilst none of the dishes were badly cooked, over or under spiced, the meat being of a reasonable quality, the portions very acceptable, the breads light and fluffy, I can only say there was nothing at all remarkable about any dish just a little better than the average Euro-Asian food which could have been served at any of the usual Indian restaurants in Northamptonshire, to me they did not fulfil the promise of the imaginative descriptions on the menu, however a very recent holiday to India might have made me over critical and I did enjoy my earlier visit to their Wellingborough branch.
Having made the above statement I have never heard a bad report about the place only praise since it opened, I would imagine it will thrive and prosper plus gain immense popularity as have the established sister restaurants. My personnel opinion is that after all the good effort and money going into the well thought out design and creation it has missed a golden opportunity to offer more creative and authentic Indian food in keeping with the forward thinking image which it has tried so hard to portray. I wouldn't refuse a second visit if in the area but it wouldn't be my first or second choice, however the majority would probably disagree with my food criticism as the restaurant is very well patronised and not just only at weekends. After all their effort I do wish them very well for the future and admire their presentation and enthusiasm to create an environment which attempts to assassinate the long standing reputation of the stereo typical image that an Indian restaurant only appeals to those suffering from the effects of copious amounts of alcohol wishing to conclude their evening with a hot and spicy meal.
Paul rated this 6 out of 10.