It was unrecognisable as all the booths had gone and no longer looked like a curry house. Hopefully, the food would distract me from the boring décor. There was a meal deal on- 2 courses plus a drink for £10. Surely that would have the crowds flocking? Apparently not. We were the only ones in there. Awkward. To start, we paid extra for popadoms- £4.80 for the three of us- ouch! The chutney tray was plentiful though, 5 dips including a fiery hot tomato based one:
I washed them down with a glass of flat coke, good job the drink was free with the meal. My starter was vegetarian samosas served with a side salad. If you look, the salad includes that well known Indian vegetable, the Jalapeno.
The samosas were tasty, but my colleagues were less than satisfied with their starters. The Carnivore ordered a chicken kebab and it looked like something from the frozen section in the halal shop on Smithdown Rd, a dubious concoction of processed meat. The Other Veggie's onion bhaji tasted uninspiring and lacking in substance, a bit like the ambience of the restaurant. Time for the mains.
I ordered a Vegetable Madras, the Other Veggie a veg bhuna. The sauces were deliciously potent but the quality of the veg was abysmal. No potatoes or carrots, just lots and lots of leafy stuff and onions. Again, tasty but lacking in any real substance. It was pleasant to eat, but just that. It wasn't what I'd call an ultimate curry experience. The rice portions were decent though and the naan fresh and fluffy.
The Carnivore fared the worst though with his lamb pathia described as 'ropey'. The meat was sinewy and tough and didn't taste like lamb apparently. During the meal, no other diners came and the staff seemed desperate to push their delivery service. Spice City, you've got a lot to live up to if you want to recreate the big night out vibe that the Balti House was known for.
The good- Portion size and price
The bad- Meat quality and no atmosphere