The Maharajah is one of the three kings of Castle Street. A place my dad and I like to visit from time to time and have one of their trade mark spicy curries!
We decided to visit on Sunday afternoon instead of having a roast dinner. A much more British way of spending a Sunday i'd say!
The place was completely empty so we had our pick of seats. The first thing you generally notice about this place is its snappy interior and modern yet still quite traditional decoration. The art work and wall paper looks quite bold yet it seems to work really well. The theme matches the red and gold look from the sign outside as you can see from the picture above.
Once we were seated we were asked if we wanted drinks and poppadoms immediately. We wanted time to look at the menu (and wait for my dad to turn up first). I had a vindaloo the night before at The Tamarind so I was not completely sure if I could handle another one. We noticed the prices were about average, verging on expensive but nothing anyone would have a right to complain about.
We decided to order some papadums and a Kingfisher beer before my dad showed. In the end they were getting quite pushy with getting the order through so we felt a bit pressured. Once we ordered they brought out our papadums immediately, it was like they were having a race. The waiter really didn't look like he wanted to be there today either, he actually looked incredibly depressed. I nearly asked if he was ok. He kept looking at the floor, with a miserable face and was incredibly quiet. I have never seen anything like it!
I was pleasantly surprised with the sauces presented. We were given an onion salad, mango chutney and lime pickle.
The onion salad was quite nice though it was chopped up quite thick which made it hard to eat with the poppadoms. The mango chutney was spot on and tasted delicious. The lime pickle had great flavour but sadly was poorly chopped so you had to take huge chunks. It was also very watery so it leaked all over the table when you poured it on your papadums, which was quite annoying. Overall though the experience was good, the sauces all tasted nice and the portions were very generous.
A different waiter came over to take our main order. I think the other guy must have had to go home or something. I didn't see him after that. This guy was a lot more friendly and lively. He was up for a joke and really had a good energy about him. He did however decided to take it up himself to clear up our papadums and sauces without asking if we had finished. We nearly had finished anyway and I was looking forward to getting stuck in to my mains so didn't make a fuss. This might bother some people and would probably have bothered me on a different day!
I decided to go for the chicken tikka vindaloo and rice (I just couldn't help myself!). My dad and my girlfriend both went for chicken tikka biriyani's. Once we had ordered, the food was out nearly immediately, no longer than say, 15 minutes? I really got the impression that they wanted us out quickly, but I couldn't see why, the place was deserted!
The food was well presented and looked fabulous none the less. The food tasted fantastic (though a little salty) and it had a real kick to it. As a vindaloo should! The texture of the biriyani and rice were both spot on too. They really know how to make a slop-in-a-bucket curry. Which today, was just what the doctor ordered.
It didn't take us long to demolish our meals and sit back with a look of satisfaction. The new waiter came over and was quick to tell us they were closing soon so wanted us out (nice, huh?). We decided to order the bill, in which we were given in haste. We were presented with some chocolates but NO hot towels (which we really could have done with considering I ordered a very hot vindaloo).
The price came to a little over what it should do, that being said, the food was very good, the venue was great, I was just a little unsettled by the staff here. They were either depressed or trying to get us to pay and get out. I cant help but think that if they could work on their customer service a little then they would be the hottest place in town.
Every time I come in here its usually busy, with only today being the exception, so maybe they don't have to be polite? What do you think? I know that this is not the first time I have heard about their poor customer service!
I want to give the place a 4/5 but if you are really bothered by strange/rude staff then it could be a 3/5. Its so hard to fault them on anything else really as they do so much right. The place is unique in style and the food is always good here. The price is about average and the service is fast.