The Leprechaun’s missing, but the rustic-like Jameson poster is still there to greet you. There’s about enough green to bear an Irish brand name but no Irish songs playing on the jukebox. Instead, there’s a live show by a local band and aye, it’s quare fine! I quite like my Friday evenings to begin that way!
We were then led to our table-for-twenty and after some awkward exchanges with new faces and some warm hugs from familiar ones, we got down to business. No time was wasted in serving beer samples but I already knew what I was there for – the Stout. The wheat beer was pretty good too, but the cider and IPA weren’t as good as what I’m otherwise used to.
The Stout was well poured; the head stayed on for a while to retain a thin, but creamy lacing. It came on strong with its roasted notes and more-bitter-than-coffee-like flavors so if you’re not used to dark beers this one isn’t for you. I, on the other hand, loved it!
The wheat beer was a universally likeable well rounded sweet-citrusy, refreshing, easygoing beer. In fact it was so light, it’d even pass as a session beer. You’d have to have like four or five of those if you were looking to get plastered; not that I’m recommending it!
The IPA wasn’t as hoppy as I’d like it to be and felt a little watered down, too. And the Cider wasn’t as ‘dense’ as I’d like it to be and the sweetness seemed almost ‘forced‘ so I gave it a pass, as well.
The food was a hit-and-miss story, with the hits being –
Chimichuri Cottage Cheese – well-marinated seared paneer that went well with green chutney. Could’ve used a little stronger marination, IMHO. Can be paired with the wheat beer.
Aloo Ki nazakat – little parcels of potato and mild flavors and a palatable mixture of textures, too. Stout was what did it for me with this one.
Salt & pepper mushroom – Probably the best starter of the lot – strong on flavors (I didn’t mind the extra salt) and pan-fried just right. Frying mushrooms is tricky business. Definitely a wheat-beer partner.
Fish in banana leaves – fragrant and succulent, these mildly steamed fish parcels were a thumbs-up for most of us. Stout material.
Smoked Croquettes – super-mushy (and bland) on the inside but perfectly crisp and golden on the outside. Best had with the strong, piquant dip that came with it. Potatoes go down with anything.
Hot Chilli Prawns – perfectly grilled, well marinated juicy prawns that are best enjoyed by themselves. The portion size was the only issue – we wanted so many more of these!!
..And the misses being –
Nachos – well loaded and crisp, but nothing special about them. Meh.
Loaded fries – Ditto like the Nachos. The fries were well done, though…if you should know.
Tabak Maas – Mutton is either perfect, or it isn’t. This wasn’t. There just isn’t any middle ground. The meat felt rubbery and the flavours/textures were localised to only the coating.
Chicken in blankets – I’ve had these aplenty when I was in the UK and had something of an expectation, which this just didn’t come anywhere close to. There were too many confusing textures and smells and wayyy too meaty if you’re not used to it. Plus, I’m used to the pastry version.
Then came the entrées –
The Oriental dumpling soup, which came after the entrées was refreshingly nice; it was earthy, flavorsome and the dumpling were nice and juicy. The ginger notes added that extra zing to the soup. If you’re not used to thin soups, though, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Among the Pizzas, I thought the Farmer pizza was better than the Irish meat feast. The Pizzas weren’t traditional, but rather ‘Indianised’ versions, so very palatable and fairly loaded, too. Not to mention that they weren’t very heavy at all (which is a good thing IMO), unlike the more commercial heavy-base pizzas that are sold by chains.
The Veg Stroganoff was nice and cheesy, and can make for a one-pot-style meal by itself given how heavy it was.
The Irish drunken potato used to be so much better before, it seems like just white sauce and boiled ‘tatos, now. Shame, I quite liked this the last time I had it, here.
Whatever comes to your mind when you think ‘Butter Garlic Prawns’, un-think it. This was well-done, cheesy prawns that were (maybe) sautéed in butter and gartlic before they were drenched in white sauce. ‘Butter‘ and ‘garlic‘ seemed misleading but the preparation was nice by itself, to be fair. Just don’t think butter and garlic, think prawns with bite and in cheese, instead.
Oh, and the burgers weren’t impressive. As were the Panna Cotta and Red Velvet Cheese Cake. That’s all I have to say about it.
In summary then, I don’t take you for someone who can down more than 1-2 appetizers, 1-2 entrées and a few pints. I’d suggest skipping the stuff that doesn’t work and calling for what does; it’s that simple. Ask the few thousand regulars who seemed to have crowded at the venue. They’ll tell you.