On Friday 8th October 2021, the OCC took the trip to West Hampstead to sample the fare of Colaba Indian Dining. The previous trip to Hampstead proved a successful one, with neighbouring establishment Paradise taking home the CHOTY 2019 award. How would Colaba compare to its esteemed associate?
The restaurant has been influenced by Colaba, an area in the old part of the city of Mumbai. With its sea side promenade, Colaba is inspired by Mumbai’s cultural diversity and culinary traditions. The restaurant was chosen due to high ratings on trip advisor, with 47 out of 50 ratings at 5 stars. Now it was the OCC’s turn to discover whether the preceding reputation was accurate.
On arrival, the staff seemed friendly and the restaurant was adorned with vibrant and contemporary décor, portraying a sense of laid back dining and fun. Although the service started well, it did take a while for drinks orders to be taken and then, oddly, a menu was taken from our table before we had ordered food. We had already not been given enough menus for the number of people at the table.
The usual order went in for two poppadoms per person and all the sauces. Overwhelmingly, there was disappointment around the table when the poppadoms arrived in halves and there was only enough for two halves each. Even more of a disappointment was the two sauces which arrived. Small pots of mango chutney and a coriander sauces, neither of which were particularly tasty. The poppadoms were actually a good texture and tasted great but all members were left wanting more!
Onto the starters and mains, the service began to improve as did the portion sizes and attentiveness of staff. Some dishes highlighted by members as particularly impressive were the sheekh kebab starter and tandoori bites. The lamb jalfrezi was rated highly as a main course. However, a number of members commented that the xacutti murgh lacked flavour and was a little bland. Overall though, the feeling around the table was that the food was of good quality and there were some real positives about the presentation of the food and many of the dishes.
The meal ended with some excellent customer service and care. The Colaba team were happy to provide the usual plate of chilies and were attentive in bringing over drinks to support the fines handed out, including a mango lassi which was appreciated. The meal concluded with a beautiful gesture from the staff, who gave us all a high quality boxed up vodka mixer drink to take away with us. Possibly the most generous gift given by a restaurant and it’s fair to say members were delighted to have this memento of the evening.
Overall, the OCC felt Colaba was a tricky restaurant to rate. Some high quality food and customer care was mixed with some average dishes, indifferent service and small portions. The atmosphere of the restaurant was busy without being raucous and the restaurant was fully booked, showing its popularity in the local area. One member commented that parts of the experience were ‘on a different level’ however the restaurant ‘had flaws which needed working on’ and perhaps Colaba needs to decide whether it wants to be an Indian tapas style restaurant or a more traditional curry house, rather than trying to be both. We thank the staff at Colaba for their efforts and look forward to seeing how the restaurant develops in the future.
Colaba Indian Dining Scores;
Customer Care 7.50
OCC Average Rating 6.80