Friday, 6 April 2012

The Original India Garden

Groupon is great isn't it?  All those dirt cheap deals certainly are tempting and I've had my fair share of cheap trips to the hairdressers and meals out thanks to these guys.  Having said that, I haven't always had good experiences and I have some pretty poor meals (see my reviews of Orchid Thai and Parthenonas), so I am generally pretty sceptical when buying a deal for a restaurant I haven't visited before.

A couple of weeks ago a deal for The Original India Garden (note that the website is out of date but you get the gist) landed in my Inbox and although I had never been before and had heard nothing good about it, the temptation of two starters and two mains for £8 was just too much. After a few tweets I gathered that The Original India Garden was generally viewed as ok and this Sheffield Telegraph review sang the restaurant's praises.  In fact, that review sealed the deal and I signed over my £8.

I'll admit to still being a bit nervous about the place and, to be fair, I was expecting a bad meal and some amusing material for Twitter and the blog.  As we walked into the restaurant we felt like we had stepped back in time about 15 years.  Pink tablecloths, garish carpet, fussy blinds at the windows and waiters dressed in shirts and ties; it had a real nostalgic feel to the place, and I was becoming increasingly worried about the food I was about to eat!  However, the place was pretty busy for a Wednesday evening suggesting they must be doing something right.

Our waiter takes our voucher and explains that that we can order anything up to the value of £19.40 as long as we have a starter and a main course each.  We order wine; a large glass of the house white, the husband has a coke as he's driving.  The wine's ok, but at £3.50 for a large glass it was acceptable.

We start with a couple of poppadoms and a pickle tray.  The pickles come on a little carousel and there's the usual affair; sickly sweet mango chutney, a yoghurt, a tart lime pickle and an onion salad.  It had been years since I'd had poppadoms as I usually get my curry fixes at East and West or Dhanista's - neither of which would ever serve anything as British as a pickle tray.

For starters I had a couple vegetable samosas.  The pastry was thicker than I had expected or would have liked (a friend later informs me that this is the Bangladeshi way to make samosas), but it's totally free of grease despite being fried and the filling is tasty.  There's a bit of salad to the side, nothing fancy, just iceberg and some insipid tomatoes, but it's fresh so it gets eaten.

The husband went for tandoori mix.  There was a couple of chunks of chicken and lamb and a small lamb shish kebab.  The meat was tender and tasty and again there was a bit of salad to the side.  So far so good and we started to look forward to the mains.

We decided that we would share mains and we went for chilli masalla and rupchall, both with lamb.  The chilli masalla was described as being hot and spicy and although it did have a nice level of heat (and it caused the husband's eyebrows to sweat a little) I wouldn't describe it as hot and spicy.  This isn't a bad thing as such; it's just worth noting that the hot dishes are nothing to be scared of.

The rupchall was nice and tasty with spinach, coriander, peppers and chilli and despite it being cooked in ghee there was no oil slick.  In fact, it was all fresh tasting and delicious.  We had some pilau rice (which was fine) and a garlic nan (which was too doughy and bland for me) and we were stuffed by the end of it all.

Along with the bill comes a warm face cloth (yeah!!) and a mint chocolate (double yeah!!).  All in all it comes to about £32 and because of our voucher we only had to pay £12.50.  Bargain.

So, to sum up, the food was fresh tasting and pretty good for British Indian food, the service was very efficient and attentive, the place was spotless (these guys are rightly proud of their 4/5 starts for hygiene and are obviously trying for 5/5) and the prices are very reasonable.  Will I go back?  Probably not, just because there wasn't anything amazing about our experience and it's a bit out of our way, but I would recommend to anyone in the area wanting a safe bet for a reasonable curry.

Sorry there aren't any pictures by the way, the lighting was really poor.

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