Posted 03 April 2012 - 12:06 AM
After a fairly quiet start to the year, our restaurant visits have become more and more frequent. Apart from London, the North West and the Midlands have been the focus of our attention. The problem is, after a while your taste buds can reach overload and a bit jaded especially when eating the same type of food. So we left Sunday free so that we could decide on the day what type of food we fancied. After considering Thai, Chinese, etc, we decided that an Indian meal was in order.
Now then, we have been here before, perhaps three four years ago and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The restaurant has gone through a recent refurb as the previous decor was a bit dated somewhat. It is in a fairly quiet street away from the hustle and bustle but a shortish walk or an even shorter taxi ride from Buckingham Palace. So you could visit our Queen then stroll down here.
We visited on the Sunday lunchtime service which was very quiet, and there was one set menu on offer. This turned out to be very good value especially given the various bits and bobs that were included. There was in fact no shortage of choice either, seven starters, seven mains, and four desserts. Coffee, tea, or an infusion were included in the price.
We were bowled over by the very different flavours running through all of food. The chutneys, the dips, all excellent, and the whole meal had no duds whatsoever.
Service was truly superb, attentive but unobtrusive and delivered with grace. The type that you normally associate with high end Indian restaurants. Other establishments should take note.
I took some photos but it was a little dark at our table so I shall have to edit them a little, but expect a full report very soon.
Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:20 AM
My one and only meal at Quilon was a great disappointment. We went for my birthday at great expense (train tickets, hotel, not to mention the meal itself) because I spent a few months in Kerala and really love the food from that part of the country. The service was excellent, the setting beautiful, but the food left a lot to be desired. For me it was nothing like the food I ate in Kerala, or the Keralite food I prepare at home. Some of the dishes seemed more like bland versions of standard North Indian takeaway food. The worst bit was the payasam (like rice pudding) at the end, which they had chucked a tonne of cold raw fruit on top of! Also, the filter coffee which was so limp as to make any sensible South Indian weep.
However, I fully appreciate that we may just have been unlucky, as the place certainly has a lot of fans. In addition, we only had vegetarian food and I have heard a lot of people talk about the seafood, so the non-veg preps may be better. I will give it to them that their appams were rather good.
Edited by Jenni, 03 April 2012 - 04:23 AM.
Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:27 AM
I appreciate your comments, and yes I think that you were just unlucky on the day. As I keep reiterating we are not experts in any cusine (especially Indian) but because we dine out so very much we are able to make up to date comparisons from restaurant to restaurant. Although having said that, Indian cusine is not something that we eat much of at all, rarely in fact. We found however the depth of flavour and complex spicing a real treat.
Perhaps because you seem to eat this type of food all of the time your expectation level is greater than ours? Again perhaps our tastebuds were in need of a distraction and more receptive than normal to the food on offer, who knows?
We fleetingly tasted Keralan food during a fabulous cruise around India, we loved the flavours but it was so long ago we can not make a meaningful comparison.
You mention great expense, tell me about it. Frequently our travelling and hotel costs are more expensive than the meals themselves.
Interestingly head chef Sriram Aylur was in the kitchen on the day. A real surpise, I thought Sundays would be a day of rest. He visited our table for a quick word before heading off to the world famous Bombay Brasserie, where he is also Director and head chef.
He really is a charming man, very gracious and focused. Other chefs please take note.
And before anyone carps on about treatment. We arrived unannounced, made no mention of any blogging, and of course paid our bill in full
My wife enjoyed her South Indian coffee, and I really enjoyed my pot of Masala Chai, but of course we have no direct comparison to make against other Kerelan places.
If you click on the website and then on to the comments page most of the food reviews are very good indeed, there do seem to be some service issues however, not unlike somewhere that we dined at recently. They do though take it on the chin instead of making distasteful comments. You however seemed very happy with that side of things, which was entirely our thoughts too.
Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:52 AM
If you click on the website and then on to the comments page most of the food reviews are very good
Comments on a restaurant website say the restaurant is very good? Of course. Meaningless.
If you took the trouble to click on the website like I said, you will find that the reviews are totally independent
Here you go, I will do it for you
Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:54 AM
Posted 03 April 2012 - 08:09 AM
If you took the trouble to click on the website like I said
you will find that the reviews are totally independent
I see little evidence of that. But even if they are, they are only selected for inclusion by the restaurant. As are comments or reviews on nearly all websites. There is nothing stopping me deleting any negative comments or reviews on my website and writing loads of positive alternatives and publishing them.
I'm not suggesting that Quilon does this, or am I making any comment on the quality of their restaurant. I have never been and have no opinion.
I am just suggesting that selected reviews republished on a restaurant website should be taken with a pinch of salt. It's called advertising.
Edited by liuzhou, 03 April 2012 - 08:12 AM.
Posted 10 May 2012 - 05:43 AM
David, I know you get to Nottingham once in a while. Why not try Kayal? Service is OK, but the food is authentic and very good. Expect the chef to leave you alone!