Basic Bengali or Tiger King
The OCC were back in London for the first time since lockdown, and we were off to the up and coming district of Walthamstow. The Bengal curry house keeps a low profile online with no website to it’s name, but that hasn’t stopped it featuring in multiple food blogs regarding the “best curry houses in London”. Although the OCC shall not be swayed by other reviews! Unfortunately our first impression of the Bengal curry house was not an ideal one, with some structural renovations going on it looked more like a building site than your local Indian restaurant. Things didn’t improve too much as we entered to find the restaurant completely empty on a Friday night (only one or two other bookings came in the rest of the evening) and despite this it seemed to take an awfully long time for the meal to get going. It’s unclear if the waiting staff were allowing us to settle down before taking orders, but really the polite thing to do would have been to quietly ask if we were ready. The extensive menu at the Bengal curry house is what you would expect from a traditional curry house, with an emphasis on the chef and north Indian specials. We eventually did get our orders in and things did take a turn for the better when the poppadoms arrived which for most were the highlight of the meal. Very fresh, crisp and sauces were decent enough. Most chose the mixed starter which is fairly standard as you get most bang for your buck, but again these were quite slow to arrive. The feelings on quality were mixed around the group, with some lapping it up and some feeling the meat was tough and overcooked. And this was a similar story for the mains to be quite honest. Personally my king prawn masala (recommended as the restaurant's specialty) was saucy and the prawns were plentiful. The meat in the lamb dansak was described as perfectly cooked by one esteemed member, however the south Indian chilli chicken and the zal chicken masala received scathing reviews for lack of spice, flavour and meat. This inconsistency was definitely shown in the scoring, with a real wide range of scores for quality. One of the most frustrating parts of the meal, and the service in general was the continuous clearing of beers which weren’t finished. Whether it was during toilet breaks or speeches, our lovely cold cobras and kingfishers kept disappearing prompting unrest at the table (Rule 1: Never take a man’s beer whilst he is enjoying his curry). This was an unnecessary issue which the restaurant brought on itself, although they were very accommodating in replacing the beers. If the food and service were underwhelming for some, the night certainly picked up when a table opposite came in. “Raucous” is really the only word for it, with the pressure on speeches and apologies amplified as the booze and banter kicked in between both tables. The night would be memorable for this at least. Finally a note on price… despite the mixed reviews on quality and customer care, it can’t be stressed enough that this place was cheap. Poppadoms, starter, mains, sides, naans, rice, beers, gin and tonics would usually come in at around £50 per head in a London restaurant. At the Bengal Curry House the bill came to UNDER £30! I will let the scores do the talking on if the OCC thought at this price, if it was still good value or not, because as we all know, cheap does not mean good value! Customer Care 5.99 Service 6.52 Value 7.46 Quality 6.28 Atmosphere 6.43 Total score 6.54/10 So unfortunately it does not get the score needed for an OCC recommendation, but if you’re looking for a cheap Indian in Walthamstow, this would tick that box.