We are a group of 4 curry and beer enthusiasts, Niggles, Joebeak, Davekins and Chossmops who decided to trawl the curry houses of Ipswich to find the best and worst the town has to offer, we are rating each place in 5 categories: atmosphere, service, food, menu and drinks. Survey score is posted at the bottom of each review.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal at 40-42 Norwich Road, Ipswich IP1 2NJ was the first curry house in Ipswich serving us tasty food since 1964 and they are very proud of this fact! The restaurant is a fair walk for all of us and it was a hot summer Saturday evening so the first thing we requested a cool glass of water. We were seated at an unmade table next to one already laid out, we proceeded to sweat for the next 15 minutes, the air conditioning seemed to be off (we politely presume broken) and were happy to be next to the open door onto a busy Norwich road breathing in the sweet smell of petrol fumes. Eventually our beer came, gladly, but with no sign of any water. Not a good start. Davekins had the chicken Masala and said the meat was the best quality he'd found in Ipswich and said the general flavour was good, not massively exciting but certainly tasty, the other boys were in agreement, for me Taj mahal offered some of the more flavoursome veggie dishes Ipswich has to offer. Yet again the evening seemed to be overcast with very poor service, with few smiles, very little attention paid to making sure the evening was enjoyable and generally a stuffy atmosphere. This was reflected in our tip (IE- none) to a very unhappy waiter, at least we knew what was wrong with the miserable sod now.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Review of Royal India (closed down)

Royal India, Burrell Road, Ipswich IP2 8AJ is right opposite the train station and only a short walk from the town centre so should be a fairly prime spot for hungry travellers. First impressions here were not great thanks to a large group of bald, singing thugs hanging about smoking and drinking on the street outside The Station Hotel, which occupies the other half of the building. We perservered and went inside, the waiter who looked bored to tears, seated us at a table next to the window, as there was no air conditioning they had all the windows open on to the busy street. We were given our menu's and offered drinks, the only beer they had for sale was Carlsburg for a staggering £3.50 a pint and so I opted for a glass fo wine, some time later he came back and asked if we wanted any popadums, we ordered 2 each and had a look through the menu. I personally find it a little disconcerting when an indian restaurant offers a wide range of omlette and chips, however it has become a fairly typical on menu's here, before we had decided on what to order the waiter brought us our popadums and some dips, the mango chutney was a suspisiously runny red looked more like tomato ketchup so I opted to eat mine plain and soon found they were stale and chewy so gave up, hoping my main meal would be better, only a few seconds later niggles found himself biting down on a piece of glass that had been in the lime pickle! We pointed this out to the waiter (who still hadn't taken our orders) and his response was "oh, what do you want me to do about it?". We decided (mostly due to our extreme hunger) to stick it out and see if things got any better, he took our orders and brought out a new pot of lime pickle, however was distracted seating some other customers so simply plonked it on our table, behind a menu, without an apology or even a look in our direction. We sat for some time with our half eaten unappetising popadums and dips and eventually the waiter wheeled over a trolly of food, he hadn't cleared our starters out of the way and started handng out the plates for our main meal, we attempted to give him our starter plates, as well, they were in the way and his response "no i'll get those in a minute" he handed out our food like he was feeding monkeys at the zoo, with a bored expression and no personal contact whatsoever, didn't offer us any more drinks and wandered off. We called him back and ordered 2 more beers for Niggles and Davekins, about 10 minutes later he came back with 3 beers as he hadn't actually listened to what we'd said, we just told him to take the 3rd back and carried on with our meal, which surprisingly wasn't too bad, thats not to say it's the greatest i've ever had, but the onion bhaji's were a good texture, not to oily and ok to taste, they could have done with a little more spice flavour, but generally they were better than alot of the places we've visited. The boys all said the meat was fairly good, though Niggles was dissapointed with how mild his jalfrezi was, for me the only concerning thing was the metallic after taste of my korma. By the end of the meal we had been charged nearly £70 for glass in our food, stale popadums, bored and miserable waiting staff, not willing to even appologise properly and a failry average meal with cheap tasteless beer to wash it down. Would I recommend eating here? NO! Now closed down, suprisingly (19th November 2011).

Survey Score: Royal India: 36%

Friday, 30 July 2010

Review of Jorna Indian Takeaway and Restaurant

Jorna Indian Take away & Restaurant, 29 Wherstead Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 8JJ. The Jorna stood out before we even sat down as we are friends with the Bgoodes who wrote the jingle for their website. If you happen to see them gigging about give them a shout and ask them to play it for you, you wont regret it! I had been a sometime regular at the Jorna some years ago when the restaurant was more than twice the size it is now and always enjoyed the curry so was hopeful, this coupled with the fact that they offer a bar but you can also B.Y.O which is rare these days it seems. The place was a little on the quiet side when we arrived and we were seated in a fairly small booth by the friendly waiting staff. The menu was comprehensive, I stuck with something simple a vegetable korma, some rice and onion Bhaji's while Niggles and Davekins went for a Chicken Masala and Joebeak who is an avid Jorna eater had a ceylon. The general feeling was that the food was average, Dave said "the masala was hot but not much else to it" and personally I was very dissapointed as mine really only tasted of potato and coconut cream, I realise many people out there will be reading this and thing "well she went for a korma, korma's are bland" I don't happen to agree, I've had some really lovely increadibly tasty mild curry's over the years, it just takes a little spice and imagination. Joebeak however enjoyed his very much and recommends the Kulcha nan aswell. So the verdict? This is a very friendly restaurant, with a solid regular customer base, not particularly exciting food but a good price and a great theme song!

Survey Score: Jorna Indian Restaurant and Take away: 71%

Monday, 12 July 2010

Review of Zaika

Zaika situated at 17 St. Nicholas Street Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 1TW - 01473 210 110 and is a generally popular restaurant, so we hoped for something good. We arrived at about half 8 and so it was peak time, they were surprised to find we hadn't booked and so I would generally recommend if you wish to eat here on a Saturday call ahed. We were seated in a cosy alcove and the atmosphere was warm and generally friendly with low lighting, however this did make it a little of a challenge to read the menu. We were very quickly served with a round of drinks and popadums, however after taking our main orders and clearing away the starter plates we had another hours wait before the main courses arrived. The food arrived (with the waiter persistently calling me "sir", being a busty young lady this was a little odd) and I had a vegetable masala which was very very sweet and could have done with a little more variation in the flavour, Nigglybeak said he thought it was "overpriced and underflavoured" and Davekins who opted for the chicken jelfrazi said he thought that the My Keralam version of the dish was far nicer. Needless to say we were all a little dissapointed already, however when the bill arrived we were shocked to find that it worked out at £30 more than the average price we normally paid anywhere else. The verdict is that this would be a nice place for a quiet date mid week if you dont mind being a little cramped, but dont expect the food to be very exciting and take a little extra cash as you'll need it.

Survey Score: Zaika: 58%

Review of Ghandi

Ghandi is at 8 St. Peters Street, Ipswich IP1 1XB, 01473 286 268, placed at the quiet end of St Nicholas street it seems to get a little less foot traffic than the other restaurants in this road. We decided to use it as an excuse to escape the football and so found that it was an unusually quiet saturday night, the restaurant is fairly narrow so I imagine on a busy night it could be faily tightly packed, however in the quiet of world cup fever we enjoyed a relaxed meal. Davekins said he thought "the service and food were up to scratch albeit on the expensive side" which I would agree with, generally my feeling was everything at Ghandi was fine, the food service and atmosphere were all good enough, but it didn't particularly stand out for me in any way, either good or bad. However this ended up giving it the second best overall score!

Survey Score: Ghandi: 78%

Review of Orissa Bar & Restaurant

Orissa Bar & Grill is situated in the prime location of 10-12 St. Nicholas Street, Ipswich IP1 1TJ, 01473 232 439, right in the middle of Ipswich's restaurant row. Orissa is lucky enough to have a beautiful timber framed grade II listed building as it's setting, many will remember this as a tapas bar and some years ago "Spooks" goth restaurant. We were a little dubious at first largely due to a big sign in the window advertising DJ's and partying till the early hours on a saturday night, but the atmosphere seemed relaxed and we thought it was worth a try. The downstairs area is a relaxed bar, so if you want you can enjoy a quiet drink before heading upstairs in to the main restaurant area for a filling meal. They have done a nice job making the place feel modern but still sitting well with the age of the place, and generally the big selling point of this restaurant was it's ambiance, though there was no music the evening was relaxed and the staff were friendly, I certainly felt in no rush but also wasn't sitting there wondering where the hell my food or drink was! The food was good, not perhaps as interesting as My Keralam but tasty and unpretentious. Davebeak asked about the vindaloo sauce and rather than risk having him unable to finish a curry too hot for him, they recommended he stick with a madras but gave us a nice big bowl of vindaloo sauce to try for size and were happy to spend time making sure we had a great meal. The only real downsides to this restaurant are that it has no air conditioning, so in the summer heat it could be a little stuffy and the menu is very brief, having said that, it also offers a good enough selection and this may well enable them to offer better food and service than if they had a million options.

Survey Score: Orissa: 79%

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Review of Koh-I-Nor (Sadly now CLOSED)

Koh-I-Nor (also known as Jamils) has had two locations in Ipswich, previously on Upper Orwell St and a favourite among many Ipswich curry eaters, which then moved to 24 Crown Street. We tried out the latter and it scored a good rating. The beers were only £2.80 a pint! Shame its now closed as we would have gone back to try it again. Still worthy of a mention.

Rated 76%

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Review of Maharani Indian Cuisine

Maharani Indian Cuisine is based at 46 Norwich Road, Ipswich, IP1 2NJ - The Maharani already had to live up to some heavy competition but has a good reputation for consistently good food, so we were all hopeful. Generally the food was average to good, the Onion Bajhi's (my personal barometer) were large and fairly good, not the best I've had but certainly not the worst. Davekins had the Chicken Madras which described as "Good. Hot." and I distinctly remember beads of sweat forming, even nigglebeak struggled and was impressed by the tone of the food, though he did say it is a restaurant that generally people would go back to again and again he would not. The restaurant was very busy, and everyone seemed to be enjoying their meal, the clientele seemed to be generally middle aged and relatively conservative so we certainly stood out, we would definitely recommend that you make sure you book ahead on a Saturday night. The staff were very friendly and even supplied us with a complementary shot of baileys to finish off our meal which finished our night off perfectly.

Survey Score: Maharani Indian Cuisine: 70%

Review of The Dhaka

The Dhaka is based at 6 Orwell Place, Ipswich, IP4 1BB and has been Davekins' regular curry haunt for some time. The staff at the Dhaka are very friendly and the service is swift without being rushed, they also have the added bonus of booth's which adds a sense of privacy and cosyness. The menu has a good selection of options and all reasonably priced, the only really dissapointing thing is the food, it's not terrible but not great, the curry's all seem to be padded out with onions and weather you have a rogan josh or a madras they use the same grilled skewerd chicken. Joebeak, had the Pssanda and said it was really very nice. I went for a mild korma this time, I know most people live under the impression that mild means bland, unfortunately in this case it does, I personally believe that mild dishes should be full of flavour just without the heat. Similar to the Sonar Bangla we found that the onion bajhi's were too large and floury. So the verdict, the food is generally fairly average but the service and atmosphere make it a pleasant experience.

Survey Score: Dhaka Indian Restraunt: 75.00%

Review of Sonar Bangla Balti House

Our next stop was at Sonar Bangla 37 Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, IP4 2EA which is a stones throw from My Keralam and a vastly different restaurant. We were initially encouraged by reports of it's good reputation in the town and the fact that it has a B.Y.O policy on alcohol which is something ipswich is deffinately lacking. Our initial impression was not too impressive, the restaurant is very small and it felt a little like sitting in someone's un-lived in living room, the staff were friendly enough but largely seemed a little bored. We ordered our meals which took some time to arrive, so of course we were all starving by the time they arrived and eager to tuck in, unfortunately we all all more than a little disappointed Joebeak decided to go for the Lamb Ceylon and said it "tasted like bisto with curry powder and a touch of coconut." Niggles had similarly disappointing things to say about the Madras. Personally I like to try something simple in each restaurant, the onion bajhi, simple but oh so easy to get wrong... all I can say about Sonar's was that it was like eating a floury tennis ball. disappointing.

Survey Score: Sonar Bangla Indian Restraunt: 49%