The OCC was at full capacity for the first meet in some time, with appearances from the Chairman of HK Branch, and the AFKAVC (Artist formerly known as Vice Chairman) who were back from overseas for Christmas. We all met for a pre-meal drink at O’Neills before getting to the restaurant nice and early to avoid any chilli fines for being late.
The owners bought this fantastic building for over £1million which was home to the popular Imperial Bentos, a tough act to follow by any means. First impressions are excellent, and it seems the 5-figure sum rumoured to be budgeted for refurbishment looks to have been well spent. There’s a fantastic water feature at the front end of the dining room, and the high ceiling helps create a really spacious environment. Unfortunately, the restaurant is not busy at all, with only about 5 small tables filled. We were taken through to our table at the back and our drinks orders were taken quickly.
Popadoms are a vital part of any meal, and although they arrived in good time, the quality did not live up to the standard of our surroundings. In fact, it was widely agreed that they were actually stale, they certainly lacked the gentle crispy crack that we have come to expect. As always, we asked for 2 poppadoms each, accompanied by “All the sauces’, however these were lacking both in quantity and quality. The small ramekins did not have enough capacity to allow a mini-group of 4 to apply plentiful condiments to there pops, so we rationed accordingly. The mint sauce was also quite flavourless.
Chilli fines were dished out for various misdemeanours, myself and ADAM (Adam Da Action Man) took ours with not too much trouble. The same could not be said for HK Chairman, who required 3 cubic tons of ice, and VC, who requested an entire crate of Yakult in order to ease the pain.
Next up were the starters, which took a very long time to come out, luckily we had the fantastic owner to keep us entertained. It’s just a shame the rest of the staff were not able to live up to his enthusiasm and knowledge. As customers, we were left to continually work out whose food was whose, and often were left looking for waiters to try and get condiments or further drinks. The boys even tried working through the small cocktail list to keep our patience in check, but that was just full of weak, drab, over sweet mixes.
A strange turn of events then meant the Kitchen appliances tripped out, which again the owner kindly explained to us and said that Naans would be unavailable, but chapattis could be provided instead. This was no problem, however when basket after basket of Naans then came out, it left us wondering if they’d popped out to the next door kebab shop to get them. More chaos ensued, as the AFKAVC scoffed my Lamb Saag, somehow mistaking it for his own Cheese based spinach side dish.
The food itself was actually very good, the Chairman himself thought Ba Shoh had actually reached Curry perfection and awarded them top marks for quality of food. However it was felt the decor, branded plates and cutlery had zero residual value when assessing the overall experience. The lack of knowledge and slow service let down the brilliant owner, and they are going to have to invest heavily in the basics of running a restaurant if they want to make a success.
Customer Care - 6.46
Service - 4.54
Value - 6.39
Quality - 7
Atmosphere - 4.89
Total - 5.86