Hats on to Empress
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 curries, and the spiciest sauces.
On Friday 23rd January 2018, the Oakham Curry Club (OCC) sidled up to The Empress in anticipation of what mouth watering delights the evening had to offer to blow away the January blues. With this establishment playing host to our first UK meet of 2018, expectations were high from the group of 12 present that evening.
With the OCC UK chairman playing host to the group for the evening - there was a packed agenda for us to get through, including a new applicant to join our illustrious UK branch. Getting underway I was kindly handed a traditional Hindu head garment to wear whilst addressing the group/venue, but this review starts before we even settled into our seats for the evening...read on.
Customer Care - 7.81/10
From the moment of booking, Foz laid my mind at rest that the large group size (12>13 later in the meal) could be accommodated - even though a similarly sized group were booked to dine that evening (clearly minus the prestige of the OCC).
Upon entering the restaurant we were greeted very politely by Head waiter Foz, who turned into court jester throughout various stages of the evening - keeping everyone on their toes. Foz regularly checked to ensure we were comfortable, though the size of the group meant cramped seating for some given how busy the venue was. With the spiciest chillis consumed from any of our previous meets, this place proved to really pack a punch.
Atmosphere - 7.33/10
Although not the largest of venues, there was a nice buzz about the place - with our distinguished club on one side of the restaurant and another similarly sized group of 10 or so the other; so hats (/traditional headdress) off to the staff for stepping up for the evening to prove this venue to be a little pocket rocket of an eatery.
Service - 7.10/10
From ordering to the serving of food to the table, Foz consistently retorted ‘an excellent choice sir’ to every order. I imagine Ham, egg and chips may have received a similar response had their chicken not been taking part in dry January.
Guidance on orders, regularly being asked whether all was ok (including accommodating an additional person part way through the meal), together with posing for photos at the end of the evening with the group added to the overall experience and scored service just shy of some high scoring venues in the local area.
Quality - 6.96/10
Let the people be the judge on the quality:
Buzzing little place, with good banter from the waiters. Food on the more average side
Very tasty food served as requested and with courtesy from Foz. Good little restaurant, perhaps just lacking that something special to make it stand out. They should USP the hottest chillies in the world that they have.
Good service and craic from the head waiter - an excellent choice to everything! My tikka massala was juicy.
My food was very good, with a good amount of spice. Cramped table set up less great!! OCC
Some mixed reviews in there on quality, certainly with room for improvement, but don’t let that put you off - you be the judge.
Value - 6.38
Be sure to take a little extra in the sky rocket when the bill arrives - our group judged the meal to be a little pricey, though taking all aspects of the dining experience into consideration - it is worth that little extra. Recommendations on alternative options can open your eyes to new delights - so definitely pay a little extra, if only to experience chillis to blow your head off and/or Foz in full flow!
Customer Care - 7.81
Atmosphere - 7.33
Service - 7.10
Quality - 6.96
Value - 6.38
Overall Rating - 7.12/10
High praise from the OCC to score an establishment in the 7’s - so we hope The Empress keep doing what they’re doing and strive for curry dining excellence; taking onboard feedback from their valuable customers and obviously from the Oakham Curry Club.
Be sure to visit our website for more alternatives in and around the London area - with additional branches in Hong Kong, Shanghai and with advanced talks to open up a Singapore branch - you may soon find yourself not far at all from a branch of the OCC (give or take a few 1,000 miles perhaps).
Until next time….
May your poppadoms be crispy, sauces tasty and curry spicey...
and may also be yours.
OCC OCC OCC