Since our previous visit, very little had changed. The only noticeable change was the menus had been reprinted mentioning that Bobby Davro and Barbara Dickson had visited. No draught beers available, only small bottles. For a Monday night the restaurant was fairly busy, especially after two large groups arrived. As it was St Swithin's Day, we should expect the same standard of curry for the next 40 days. Most people were in for the buffet meal, but as we had tried that last time, we opted for the standard menu.
For a change, 2 lots of Onion Bhaji and a Sheek Kebab were ordered for starters. The overall opinion of the bhajis was that they were rather stodgy and lacked flavour despite their orange appearance. The kebabs were more of a hit, arriving on a sizzler with plenty of fried onions. Their spicy and tasty flavour was no doubt as a result of knobbly bits of ginger and chillies sticking out from them. The starters were accompanied by a large pot of luminous green splatter.
Having a voucher that gave 50% off the main dishes, even IanD could be tempted for one of the more expensive dishes. In fact it was a Chicken Razellah which was rather like a chicken and mince bhuna. A huge portion, hot and spicy and not too runny was how it was described. Before being served, SteveB's Chicken Laziz had brandy poured over it and set alight. Again this was a large portion, containing plenty of small cut chicken pieces and chunks of green pepper in a tasty and medium hot sauce. PhilS had a Chicken Pathia, which was also a good-sized portion. Unfortunately he felt the chicken pieces were a bit on the dry side. Nevertheless, the sauce was well flavoured - nice and spicy.
Unusually, all the nans were the same price. We ended up with keema, garlic and chilli & coriander varieties. The keema nan was thought to be a little stodgy (but as SteveB only nibbled on it, was it a fair comment?) whereas the other two were thought to have a good consistency and were well cooked. However the fillings were all rather sparse or had drifted to one side leaving half the nan plain.
Despite the fact that most customers were helping themselves to the buffet, the waiter service was still slow, with the main course arriving in instalments. Having a 50% off voucher didn't seem to make much of an impact on the overall bill (which was scrutinised by IanD and deemed to be correct). As usual, the drinks hiked up the overall cost. Comparing the scores to those from our previous visit, there was a slight improvement in the main dishes, but a drop with the starters and nans. The ambiance had improved but there was a big drop in value for money. Being tight gits, our next visit will certainly be for the buffet, which works out cheaper and has the added benefit that you can eat as much as you like.
Which gives an overall rating of 4 bhajis.