date of visit: Sunday 15 April 2012
I’m probably the last person on the planet who has got around to using a group buying deal for heading out to a restaurant. There are plenty of reasons for this but the main one is that people to have a very different experience when dining out on a group on deal. Check out the comment on my review of the King’s Head, for example. I’m also unsure about how fair the relationship between group buying site and business is but I’ll leave you to google to make your mind up about that one.
However, a deal came up for India House and as we’re always keen to visit places close(ish) to home, and as relatively few had been bought*, I thought no harm would come of giving it a try.
Our deal included pappadums and pickles, a shared samosa entrée, followed by our choice of curries, accompanied by naan and rice, as well as a bottle of wine. This set us back just $39 (a considerable discount on the advertised value of $85 – main courses come in around the $15 mark).
I had no troubles getting in touch and making a booking (a common complaint amongst voucher buyers) and when we arrived (6pm) there was just one other table occupied in the restaurant. The restaurant is tiny – there are maybe eight tables, with a few more outside – but it’s obvious that India House does a healthy takeaway trade.
We sat in the window and this suited the baby just fine, as he could maintain inspection of all the comings and goings (and the bright lights of the cars on Lonsdale Highway) while stuffing himself with tasty morsels from our plates. Naturally, we did have to order extra pappadums!
The papadums came with mint chutney, mango chutney and hot lime pickle – my favourite. We decided that the hot lime pickle at India House is better than that which we normally buy at home. The mint chutney was good – it had a clean, fresh mint taste to it, but it was a touch sweet for me. The vegetable samosas were really good: fried in hot, clean oil they weren’t greasy at all, and the filling was excellent. You could definitely taste the fennel. The baby loved the filling but wasn’t so keen on the pastry and I’d have to agree with him. The pastry could have done with being just a touch thinner.
For main course, we ordered with the baby in mind. I chose the butter chicken and Andy the chicken saagwala. The butter chicken was mild but it had the slightly sugar sweet (rather than tomato sweet) taste that you get with tinned tomato soup. This made it a bit cloying after a while and I certainly wasn’t about to gobble up the remaining gravy. Andy’s chicken saagwala was much tastier. It had a bit more of a spice kick to it (although not a lot) but that was tempered by the spinach with a hint of sweetness from some onion. I had no problems finishing off his sauce!
The naan breads were good: the garlic naan looked a bit scary (it looked like there was a TON of garlic on it) but they were both light, crispy and buttery.
Service wise, the staff were really friendly. I’d hazard a guess and say this is a family business with mother and son running front of house. We’d booked a high chair and when we arrived it was given a thorough wipe down in front of us, which is always reassuring. Both waiters were happy and efficient.
India House is not somewhere I’d head for a celebration curry but I really don’t think that’s where it’s pitching itself either. It’s somewhere I’d be perfectly happy to head back to for both take away and a quick meal eating in. We took a takeaway menu with us and I can see us working our way through it over the winter months.
* I bought close to the deal closing and only about 40 had been sold. Compare this to a deal for another restaurant I’d like to try where close to 300 have been sold … I have my reservations about just how well that restaurant will cope.