The Delhi Palace – formerly in Greystone Park – has reincarnated itself in the Circle at Borrowdale village. The first time we went our party of five pronounced that the food, while not outstanding, was acceptably average and reasonably priced at around $20 a head including drinks. The reason I decided to give it another bash was that I felt we had not tasted a sufficient cross-section of the menu to be able to do a fair review.
This was partly because three of the five diners were vegetarian and there is a very limited choice of non-flesh options. There are twenty-one meat and fish dishes to choose from, but only two vegetarian – thali and a vegetable kahari. If you search through the starters, side orders and also-rans, there are a couple of potato dishes, one dhal and a non-specific “seasonal vegetable” but disappointingly no spinach, peas, okra, pumpkin or paneers. Even the samoosas are, rather like economy class airline dinners, the limited choice of beef or chicken. The thali was pronounced an unenthusiastic “alright” but lacking in spice and nothing special. On that occasion the carnivores ate a lamb kahari and an unremarkable chicken at which point I decided I had to return and try harder.
And readers – have we tried! Since that first dinner, we have done a take-away tandoori chicken with 3 side orders (excellent and very good value at $22 for two people, including a couple of drinks while we waited) an evening of peri-peri prawns which at $49 for two kilos fed 4 adults and 3 little ones heartily. But nevertheless I felt we must return with guests who were new to the menu in order to do it justice.
We sat upstairs which is smart enough for a feeling of an “evening out” and casual enough to be very comfortable. Complimentary popadoms are served with four tasty dips ranging from mild to lethal. We ordered four starters. Chicken wings, lacking in depth of flavour but served in generous proportions; beef mishka which was enjoyable; tasty chilli bites, and bland samoosas. On our take-away night we had had delicious spicy samoosas but these were bland in the extreme. Each starter came with a sauce, some good but one of which tasted like ketchup, and all are very reasonably priced, ranging from $2.75–$4.50.
Our main course order was thoroughly mixed up and two of the four dishes ordered were wrong. One was rectified immediately but the fourth arrived more than 20 minutes later, by which time we had all shared the other 3 dishes and had no appetite to start again. That was a shame as from the taster I tried, it was a pleasant enough fish masala. But the portions are large and three mains were more than enough for four of us.
By far the best dish was a lamb salan. The delicately spiced tender lamb chunks served with rice, roti, chilli sambal and more popadum was delicious. Disappointing was the prawn salan as the prawns were overcooked and rubbery. The chicken kahari was pleasingly hot but not outstanding in flavour. The dhal, which we had so enjoyed as a take-away, had a curious after-taste on this occasion, as though it had been cooked with margarine (surely not!) or rancid ghee. Something was not right.
We drank an amazingly cheap but smooth litre carafe of Chateau Box and with four imported beers, four starters and four mains, the bill was under $25 a head, with tip.
For value, this is an outstanding restaurant with a welcoming and comfortable ambiance. The service is polite and friendly but I recommend that they WRITE DOWN the order so that mistakes are not made! The consensus on the food was that it is generally good but that thought might be put into more vegetarian dishes and that a choice be offered on the strength of seasoning. Our experience on both dhal and samoosas would suggest that consistency is lacking.
That said, Delhi Palace is to be recommended – three out of four stars.