With tales of its value preceding it, the OCC headed to Ganesha in March to continue its 2018 hunt for the Shanghai Curry House of the Year. Ganesha is well known in the Shanghai curry scene for its lunchtime deals, and so members – particularly those with shallower pockets – were excited to see how this would translate into a Friday night dinner.
Customer care: 6.3
The first thing a shrewd visitor to Ganesha will notice is that it is located in a shopping mall. Conversely, the first thing that a shopper at the Hugemall Complex will notice is that it is home to a curry house – so strong is the delightful smell of curry wafting enticingly through the establishment. Music to an OCC members’ nostrils; we can only hope the rest of Shanghai’s malls take note. Beyond that, it’s fair to say the rest of Ganesha’s atmosphere leaves something to be desired – a small venue with tired settings, the emphasis here is on functionality rather than appealing décor.
‘Functional’ is also the best description of the customer care and service at Ganesha. The staff were not falling over themselves to offer menu recommendations or go the extra mile, but at the same time they brought out the food promptly and dealt with issues with minimal fuss, including the mess made by one member spilling his drink. Of particular note was the speed with which the waitress could refill our mint sauce via a squeeze bottle. Gamechanger.
On to the food itself. As a curry club at an Indian restaurant, we naturally steered clear of the surprisingly extensive Thai food selection, and instead went for the classics: samosas, vegetable pakoras and mutton kebabs to start, followed by palak paneer, butter chicken, mutton jalfrezi, chicken vindaloo, channa masala, and a whole lot of naan. The curries packed a welcome punch in the spice department, but the food overall was much like the rest of the Hugemall Complex – good enough if you’re in the area but not worthy of a trip across town.
Where Ganesha really found its feet though, was on value. Curries hovered around the 30-45 RMB mark, while beers were an astonishingly reasonable 13-15 RMB. With members more than eating their fill and washing it down with a number of libations, the total bill came to only around 120 per head for the 15 in attendance – a stark comparison from the usual 250 – 400 range for OCC meals. The truly remarkable score for value of 8.8 speaks to just how positively this was viewed by members.
Overall, Ganesha has not done enough to sit among the pantheon of great Shanghai curry houses with its own OCC approved sticker, but that’s not to say we don’t see a place for it in Shanghai. Ganesha knows what it does well, and in a city where price is often mistaken for quality, it’s refreshing to see a venue keep its prices low while still serving decent curries. If you are in the Jiangsu Lu area, on the look-out for a lunch deal, or simply craving a cheap curry, Ganesha may be the place for you.