When we first started onionbhaji.co.uk we knew that one day we'd have to visit the Royal Bengal. We weren't looking forward to it as we'd had a few bad experiences there so put it off as long as possible. However, all things must come to pass so we bit the bullet, hoping the ordeal would be made less onerous as we had more free curry vouchers from The Sun. We needn't have worried. The restaurant is huge with lots of tables crammed in to every available corner but we were the only customers - apparently due to the warm weather and everyone else staying at home to watch a Manchester United Champions League match. Whatever the reason, this gave us the undivided attention of all the staff so the service was very brisk.
For starters - what else? The onion bhajis were the ball variety, two per portion. The texture and taste was very reasonable although the abundance of grease left a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. The sheek kebabs also had a good texture but were a little dry but with a good helping of spices. Everything was served on plates so we didn't have the pleasure of hearing and smelling the kebabs on a sizzler long before their arrival. We were provided with a choice of 4 splatters - and for once there was enough for everyone!
Declining the option of having a breather first, we dived straight into the main courses. The Chicken Balti was excellent - a huge helping with lots of meat, onions and peppers. Another tasty sauce chock full of tomatoes made up the Chicken Rogan Josh. PhilS bagged the Chicken Pathia and was slightly disappointed to receive a small portion and a little on the mild side. However, had he taken the chance to peruse the menu more carefully, he would have noticed that there was the option of having it as hot as you liked. In all dishes, the quality of the meat was mediocre. Once again the nans were a bit hit and miss, mostly miss. The keema nan was a bit overcooked and not over endowed in the stuffing department whilst the mossala seemed to be missing the onion from its stuffing. Once again, IanD failed to finish his plain nan even though it was near perfect!
Our fear and trepidation at visiting the Royal Bengal was unfounded. In the end it turned out to be a pleasant experience. The staff were friendly and efficient and, unlike at La Hind, they didn't look down their noses when we proffered our Sun 2-for-1 Curry vouchers. In fact they were most apologetic that, as there was an odd number in our group, we didn't get the maximum discount! When the bill arrived, it added up perfectly. Good food, friendly staff, no overcharging - no worries. Certainly worth a return trip.
Which gives an overall rating of 3.5 bhajis.