I think RR must be waiting for this blog entry. :-)
In a previous trip to London, I had an Indian dinner delivered from Sipson Tandoori. RR. whose late father founded the Sipson restaurant, found my posting on the internet. We got in touch and exchanged a few emails and she invited me to try the other restaurant also started by her father, the Grapes Tandoori. I did go to the Grapes Tandoori on the first night I was in London.
Getting from my hotel to the Grapes Tandoori, although not really far, still requires a a taxi ride. I really hate taking taxis in London. They have this minicab services which does not use meters and charges arbitrary. Well, for the short taxi ride of 5km, it costs me 14 Pounds. Sigh … the disadvantage for being a visible foreigner …
Locating Grapes Tandoori was easy. It was right on the rather busy Uxbridge Rd. The taxi driver did bring me to the wrong Grapes, the Grapes Pub which obviously did not resemble anything like an Indian restaurant.
I got in early and there were only one other customer. Man, I must say that the service was attentive to say the least. I have never seen so many waiters in a restaurant, very unlike in Canada where a restaurant of this size would perhaps have 3-4 people max. Kind of unnerving, if you ask me. Because there were just two customers, the waiters were milling around my table and I do feel so … watched.
Started with a drink. Wanted a cocktail but I guess either it’s not big in England or they don’t have it in Indian restaurants. Anyone can tell me why?
Ordered the Sherry and Port which costs 2.50 GBP. I don’t really know what it is and when I asked the waiter about it, he told me he does not know either because he had never tried it before. I asked for recommendation but he could not either. Oh well, I just went ahead and ordered it.
The waiters came by with a platter of condiments. I was really curious what it was but I guess I ran into some communication problem. :-) So, what I found out was that they were not spicy and one of them is onions. They do tastes good though.
I also ordered a piece of Papadam. This is the best Papadam I had ever tasted. It is a big piece, thin and salty and crunchy. I had this dipped in the sauces they provided. A really nice starter. Costs 50p for this piece.
For the main meal, I ordered the item that was asterixed and highlighted on the menu. Must be their special of special. It’s called the Murgh Massala which I pronounced it as mur-guh massala, is that right? Nice name. I get a choice of chicken or minced lamb. I chose the chicken version.
What impressed me was that it came served on top of a really hot metal plate. A good way to keep the dish constantly warm. Never seen food served this way before — I like it. Well, I had itchy hands and wanted to see how hot is hot … trust me, don’t touch it … it is really HOT!
The Murgh Massala consists of chicken breast and some hard boiled eggs served in dry curry. The gravy was simply great, not spicy hot and wish it were but still, it was great. The serving too was large. Just by the looks of it, I know already that this is awesome with either rice or naan. This one costs 9 GBP I think.
So, should I take it with Naan or with Rice? I ordered both. Heck, since I come all the way here already, I might as well order everything even though it was too much food for me. Oh … the garlic naan … it was fabulous and simply looked good. Why can’t I find Naan like these in Vancouver? It came warm, soft and fluffy. I had to quickly eat this before it got cold. This is so good that I could just eat this alone without anything else.
Pilau Rice. It was nicely done and very flavourful. A bit of fried onions served on top. I like these kind of rice where the grains were separated and not clumpy like the way Chinese normally do it. Perfect with the Murgh Massala.
I couldn’t do desserts after all these although I wish I could. To close off, they served me hot towels — whew! very HOT towels.
Total bill … 17.05 GBP and they threw in a free Grapes Tandoori chocolate! I left a tip of 2 GBP. BTW, do people normally leave tips in London Restaurants?
By the time I left, the restaurant was packed. Gosh, I have never seen so many whites in one place enjoying Indian dinners. Many people told me that the national dish of Great Britain is … Chicken Tikka Massala. I know what they mean now. :-) I noticed almost all my neighboring tables ordered Chicken Tikka Massala. Had Britain turned into a nation of curry eaters?
RR, I want you to know that it was an awesome meal. I will definitely come again to try your other dishes the next time I am in London.
You know what my big problem was … the transport back to the hotel. The waiters could not help me call for a taxi which I find it kind of weird. They told me that if they call it will take 45 minutes, minimum to get one and that it was a busy night. So, I took a 5 minutes walk to the taxi call centre and got one in 3 minutes. Sigh … this time the taxi charged me 10 GBP back to the hotel and and an extra 2 GBP if he drops me in front of the hotel. So, 24 GBP for taxi, 17 GBP for the dinner and 2 GBP for tips.