The Oakham Curry Club (OCC) is one of the world's most respected reviewers of Indian cuisine. With multiple international franchises, we relentlessly scour the globe in pursuit of the crispiest poppadoms, the tastiest sauces and spiciest curries.
Our August offering took us to Shahi Pakwaan in Finchley, North London, on possibly one of the worst evenings in recent history for the London Transport network.
Undeterred and relentlessly committed, 11 members made it to Shahi Pakwaan, which is Hindi for ‘Royal Cooking’. The OCC were looking forward to deciding whether the restaurant would sit on the CHOTY throne for 2019, or should be sent to the gallows.
If truth be told, the OCC felt Shahi Pakwaan sat somewhere in between. The experience was pleasant enough and the food was generally of an adequate standard, without setting the world alight. Below is a more detailed account of our experience;
Customer Care- 6.83
The restaurant took the time to call and confirm the booking prior to the meet and generally took good care of us. No one had to wait too long for their food or drinks and the manager and staff were polite and helpful.
The service was to a good standard, with staff knowledgeable about the dishes on the menu. The waiting staff were efficient and there wasn’t much waiting time between courses. It did feel, at times, like the staff were going through the motions and I think all attendees were looking for them to go the extra mile for a large booking, for example offering taster dishes to try.
The menu had some pleasant dishes but was not the most exhaustive. The Lamb Bhuna ordered by one member was a highlight, as was the Chicken 65, which was an interesting dish. Spice levels were good and at the expected spiciness for the type of curry ordered. However, some strange sauces at the beginning of the meal, including chickpeas and a very bland mint sauce let the quality of food down. There was also a fixation with a beetroot side salad on every starter. Most attendees commented the food wasn’t bad but was generally average.
Value for Money- 6.78
Most attendees felt the value was in line with the dishes served. Quality of the food was average to good. The value reflected this.
A small but busy restaurant with a nice atmosphere. Most tables were full throughout the evening and the background music created a nice ambience. Decorative lighting and murals depicting Hindu gods also added to the vibrancy. We were given a table with plenty of room around it, making it easy to talk across the table to each other.
Overall Experience 6.85
Shahi Pakwaan certainly had some positive aspects to its restaurant experience. However, I fear it may be a restaurant that won’t last long in the memory for good or bad reasons. A good night had by all and we wish the staff at Shahi Pakwaan well for their future endeavours.