Thursday, 10 July 2014

Restaurant Review: Mumbai Square, Aldgate

The most important thing about a restaurant is the food - or is it the service? Recently the most important issue to me however was...being able to get in. I don't mean being able to get a reservation (hello, Chiltern Firehouse) - but physically locating the door.
I wanted a restaurant for a birthday meal with my university friends that would have space for a large group, not mind if we got a little noisy, cater to fussy eaters and vegetarians, not be too expensive, and allow us to drink quite a lot. So Indian seemed to be the best fit! I saw on offer on Opentable (formerly called Toptable) for 50% off food at the Mumbai Square, a restaurant located between Liverpool St station and Aldgate- very close to where I worked. The discount on food meant the bill would be reasonable even if we ordered a lot of drinks, and curry was one of the only cuisines I could think of that would suit everyone.
I booked online, and a couple of days before rang to ask if I could bring my own birthday cake. The man I spoke to on the phone misunderstood initially and thought I was making a booking, and when I explained I had already reserved online, he asked for my name - and then the date, time and number of people. It didn't sound at all as if he had any record of my booking which was a bit worrying, but was fine when I mentioned the 50% offer and also said I could bring a cake.
It was a short walk to the restaurant from my office, across Devonshire Square, and I met up with two friends. We saw some double doors with a large sign bearing the restaurant's name over the top, and a "push" sign on the door. Push I did... again and again. I could see people inside the restaurant so couldn't understand why the doors seemed to be locked - surely the restaurant wasn't doing some sort of lock in? A passing waiter saw us, came to the door, unlocked it and let us in - then locked the door behind us. I know it's not the most upmarket area but surely security concerns are not that great that they have to lock the door behind each customer? 
We followed the waiter in and I said I had booked a table for 8 and gave my name; he took us to a table for four and tried to seat us (as there were three of us). I explained that other people were joining us and I had booked a table for 8 and gave my name again (getting a bit worried at that point) but happily we were then seated at a large table for 8 in the middle of the room. As we sat down, my boyfriend walked over to the table and joined us. I was really confused and had no idea how he had gotten in, as he hadn't come through the mysteriously locked door that we had used. He said he had come in through the main entrance which was on the other side of the building, and we had apparently been trying to come in the back door - though with the large restaurant sign above the door we'd used, it didn't look much like a back door!

Another friend then arrived, to the same door we had used, and went through the same rigmarole - trying the door a few times, spotting us, wondering why he couldn't get in, so we gestured that he needed to go around the other side of the building. The same pantomime happened with every single person who arrived; by the end we were in fits of laughter. My boyfriend found it hilarious that we were all graduates of a rather prestigious university and none of us had been able to find our way in to the restaurant without help! In my defence, it was really confusing - the address of the restaurant did actually give the street that the main entrance was on, but for anyone walking from Liverpool Street - which is really the main way to approach the restaurant- the door you come to first is the back door (and there is nothing to indicate there is another door around the other side).

After all that, I was quite glad to tuck into the food. We ordered a selection of dishes between us. I chose the paneer chilli to start - cubes of Indian cheese stir-fried with greem chilli, spring onions and peppers (£4.95) though it was a little too spicy for me, so I ended up giving it to someone else, who loved it. For my main course I had the tandoori king prawn (£6.95) and we shared a variety of rice and naan dishes between us. The food was very good, though the service was quite slow - I know we were a big group but it was a very long time before they took our order, a long time before our food came, and we realised at the end they had forgotten my boyfriend's naan. It also took a really long time to get the bill! They were happy to bring out the cake I made at the end, which I have to say was one of the best cakes I have made!

We had plenty to drink and as I mentioned, I had booked through OpenTable, we got 50% off the food bill which was much appreciated. Overall, it was a great meal full of friends and laughter. I would go back, but this time I would use the right entrance!

1 comment:

  1. so a degree from Cambridge is no good for finding the way in to a resturent,glad I don't have a degree in anything but common sense. ha ha !!


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