After July saw the OCC announce Kaveen’s Kitchen as the new frontrunner to the Curry House of the Year (CHOTY), it was with great excitement that the OCC headed to Tandoor. Although the OCC naturally puts no weight in non-members’ opinions, it’s fair to say that Tandoor has carved out a reputation in Shanghai as one of the city’s finest Indian restaurants. Open since 1992 and claiming to be the first Indian restaurant in Shanghai, the OCC was excited to see if the CHOTY leadership would be changing hands again. Scores: Atmosphere: 7.4 Quality: 7.5 Service: 7.1 Customer care: 6.7 Value: 4.5
Overall score: 6.6 Current CHOTY ranking: 6th out of 8 Upon walking into Tandoor, it’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into the venue’s atmosphere. Fellow curry aficionados will no doubt notice and appreciate the décor which depicts the journey of two Chinese monks on the Silk Road sometime in the 4th to 6th century. The soft lighting and well-spaced tables help to create an intimate feel which would be ideal for a date or even a gathering of 10 curry enthusiasts. It is clear that similar care has also gone into the food itself. Inspired by Tandoor’s name and the waiter’s recommendations, we started with a variety of succulent tandoori platters which left us suitably excited for the usual sampling of curries, naan and rice to come. Members all enjoyed the food, and the portion sizes were hearty enough for all at the table. The quality score of 7.5 has Tandoor just about on par with other Shanghai curry institutions such as Masala Art and Lotus Land. The service was felt to be quite attentive. Each guest was served personally from the tandoori platters at the beginning of the meal, and the waiters were quite attentive with drinks, although sometimes these were served to the wrong person. It is worth noting that despite charging a 15% service fee, Tandoor’s overall service score is on par with most other venues the OCC has visited in 2017’s race for the CHOTY – none of which charged a similar fee. Customer care is one of the harder elements for restaurants to achieve, and Tandoor was no exception. Waiters did accommodate some unusual requests to facilitate the OCC’s administrative duties throughout the night, and the manager was more than happy to take a photo with members after the meal. However, the lack of ‘extra mile’ is what hurt Tandoor in this regard. Unfortunately much like our meal itself, we must end this review on a sour note. With a final bill of 600 per person for a group of 10, value is the one area holding back Tandoor from making a true push up the ranks for Indian venues in Shanghai. As curry experts, members are happy to pay a premium for quality, but the scores suggest the quality is on par with other establishments where members paid only 250-400 each. Much like a pencil without lead, a curry without a beer is pointless. However, at 55 for a Tsingtao or 75 for a Kingfisher, members were forced to make decisions that no one should have to make. Finally, the 15% service charge on was another sore point for members who value transparency in restaurants. The OCC would like to take this opportunity to note that the scores listed above are our final scores, with no extra taxes included. Overall, Tandoor does provide a solid curry in Shanghai in a very enjoyable setting. There are curry houses that represent a better all-round choice, but the OCC would recommend it for anyone looking to impress or lose some weight in their back pocket.