August took us on the path to Lotus Land
In August, having been graced with the presence of the Hong Kong OCC Chairman, it was decided that the Shanghai OCC would head back to Lotus Land, a venue that keen OCC watchers will remember scored 7.4 in 2017 and was at one stage leading the charge for the 2017 Curry House of the Year (CHOTY). Much like sleeping with an ex, re-visiting a previously high scoring venue for another review is fraught with danger. How warmly will you be welcomed? Will it still be entertaining? Will it still taste the same? All those questions and more were running through members’ heads as they entered the Tianzifang location for the evening’s festivities. Customer care 6.1 Service 6.9 Value 7.5 Quality 7.5 Atmosphere 7.4 Total 7.1 As with rekindling things with the ex, the journey to Lotus Land began awkwardly and with no small amount of negotiation. Despite having booked for a Saturday dinner, the venue had the booking recorded for the following day, on Sunday night – a clear issue for a table of 11 hungry curry enthusiasts. It was only following a number of conversations and the shifting of one unfortunate but accommodating solo diner that the OCC was finally seated at a table together. This somewhat shambolic start to the evening is reflected in the customer care score of 6.1 – although it should be noted that once seated, the customer care and indeed service improved dramatically. Fortunately for Lotus Land, this was the only real letdown of the night. Having waited for a while to get our table, the starters came promptly and delighted all; the tender, perfectly spiced lamb chops were a particular highlight that had members eagerly awaiting the main course. With the foreplay over, the main courses soon arrived and quickly reminded all present of why we loved Lotus Land the first time around. We quickly fell into our old routines and ordered the classics, each of which added something different – the lamb madras and a vindaloo spicing things up, with the butter chicken and palak paneer there for when we needed to cool things down a bit. The atmosphere has always been highlight at Lotus Land and it was no exception for this visit. The location itself in Tianzifang adds a bit of a Chinese twist to proceedings, and the décor inside is tastefully Indian without labouring the point. The level of custom there for a Saturday dinner – even as the night wore on – shows just how popular it is. Lotus Land was also seen as being great value – a price of about 270 RMB per head for the amount of food and drinks we had was felt to be very reasonable, and meant we had no regrets the next morning over our decision to go back to a restaurant we had already been to. Overall, then, while re-treading your steps can sometimes be a dangerous game, it was not the case this time around. The venue’s total score of 7.1 has done enough to re-earn itself an OCC-approved sticker; notable given its previous one had been removed (through error, we had been assured) – we are therefore happy to still heartily endorse Lotus Land.