To welcome a new colleague into our team, we made a change from the usual pub lunch at the White Swan in Woughton and visited the Purple Mango in Walnut Tree instead. They offer a £7.95 "business lunch" which consists of a starter, main course, rice or nan, and a coffee. We phoned them just before leaving the office to check they could accommodate our group of 8, and then proceeded on our way. We needn't have bothered with the call though, as we were the only customers there for most of our visit with just one other table becoming used later on.
The décor and layout is modern, and a cut above most other restaurants in the area. The floor is on 2-tiers with the outer tables a little higher than those in the middle. Despite it being in the middle of the day, and us the only people there, the lighting and background music combine to give it a nicer atmosphere than you'd expect under the circumstances.
On sitting at the table, the waiter promptly took our drinks order and quickly brought them to us. Our orders were taken, and a little later our starters arrived. Between us we'd ordered Sheek Kebabs, Onion Bhajis, Meat Pakoras, Vegetable Samosas and Stuffed Pepper. In terms of portion sizes the onion bhajis won hands down, as each dish consisted of 2 overly large ball type bhajis. All starters went down well, and a little while later our main courses arrived.
These consisted of two Chicken Bhunas, a Lamb Bhuna, Chicken Korma, Chicken Passanda and Paneer Tikka Massala. They were accompanied by Pilau Rice, Garlic Nans, Keema Nan, Peshwari Nan and a Plain Nan. All dishes were of a high standard, with tasty sauces and plenty of tender chicken where applicable. The nans were good also, being evenly cooked with no burnt parts and for those with fillings these were evenly distributed.
The business lunch deal includes coffee, but we did have to call over the waiter and ask for this as it became clear after a while they weren't going to volunteer it. However, upon asking they quickly returned with our coffees. Other than this minor gripe, the service was otherwise faultless, the staff being polite and courteous. Finally, when the bill arrived, it was accompanied with chocolates, aniseed, and hot towels.
Overall the Purple Mango's business lunch represents excellent value for money, and the biggest surprise is that so few other people seem to be taking advantage of it. It took many years for Indian restaurants to become a conventional dinner option and looks set to be a while longer for them to loosen the lunchtime grip of the traditional English pub.
Which gives an overall rating of 4 bhajis.