Ryde Tandoori was one of Matt and Cat’s earliest reviews. They’ve been back a few times, and in the meantime readers have added a mixed batch of comments. So M and C decided to return and see how Ryde Tandoori measured up these days. The original review from March 2006 is further down the page.
December 2009 Review
You know how it is on a Sunday night. You’ve spent the afternoon burning out your retinas in front of the telly or computer and it’s time for tea. A glance at the forlorn contents of the fridge means that you have two options – lettuce soup (it’s part-way there, having turned to mush in its bag) or eating out. This is the situation that Matt and Cat found themselves in recently. The answer was a no-brainer.
Scouring the County Press Weekender for somewhere to eat, they caught sight of Ryde Tandoori’s advert for a Sunday banquet – three courses for £9.99. The decision was made and, buttoning up their winter coats, Matt and Cat headed off to Union Street.
The restaurant’s windows were steamed up when Matt and Cat peered in – and the reason was obvious; Sunday is a very popular night at Ryde Tandoori. Luckily it wasn’t so popular that there was no room at the Indian. The waiter offered a choice of tables for the pair and they plonked themselves down under a seraphic picture of a tiger swimming towards a water-lily. Taking their coats courteously, the waiter disappeared to hang them up, returning shortly afterwards with the menu. This put your reviewers in mind of their first visit when they remarked on the old-fashioned and now less-often seen practice of restaurants accommodating coats, and how enjoyable it was.
Banquet night is on both Wednesdays and Sundays, and is a cracking deal. For a relatively small reduction in menu choice diners are offered at a good price a very generous spread, including most of the main menu unchanged. The banquet night choice of starter is from only four dishes, but the main course could be any lamb or chicken dish chosen from the usual menu, plus a side dish, rice or naan. The final course is either a portion of vanilla ice cream or tea or coffee. Anticipating a decent feed, Matt and Cat weren’t worrying too much about the afters.
Matthew chose shish kebab for his starter and Cat opted for chicken tikka. Both dishes arrived with an almost indecent haste – certainly not the usual leisurely service that you get in some establishments. A neat pile of freshly shredded iceberg lettuce plus other salad offerings accompanied both dishes, all brightened with a lemon wedge for dressing. Both starters were excellent. The kebab was lean and tasty. The tikka was augmented by a generous topping of sprightly coriander. Nice.
The waiter was particularly attentive and, moments after Matt and Cat’s cutlery clattered to a halt on their empty plates, the crockery was whisked away. Other tables were also experiencing this level of service and the place was bustling with diners and staff – plus the occasional takeaway shuttling out of the building. Intimate it was not, but it all made for a lively and pleasant atmosphere.
For her main course Cat had chicken moglai. Now, Cat has two particular and oft-rehearsed complaints about Indian restaurant menus. First, Cat does not like cooked fruit in her main meal, and will stamp her paw in indignation if the most meagre sultana slips onto her plate unannounced. Secondly, the menu small-print tends to identify a dish’s contents; but this doesn’t always make it easy to choose. Take this example from Ryde Tandoori’s own menu: ‘Chicken passanda: thin slices of chicken breast marinated with spices and lemon juice, then cooked in a creamy sauce dressed with almonds’, and compare it to ‘Moglai chicken: tender pieces of chicken breast cooked in a delicately spiced yoghurt and herbs, enriched with almonds and cream’. How to choose? It’s the same stuff, isn’t it? And, guess what? When it arrived, the moglai had mango in it! Where was that mentioned on the menu? What would be really helpful would be an accurate description of the content. However, despite the unannounced fruit the dish was plentiful and subtly flavoured, but the mango was pushed to the side where Matt appreciated it later.
By the way, speaking of menu accuracy, whilst reading the takeaway menu for the purposes of research for this review, the words ‘chicken organ’ floated before Cat’s eyes. Perhaps, for once, this was too much detail… or more likely this was actually an entertaining misprint of chicken rogan.
Banquet night special x 2: £9.98
Matt’s chicken korai sizzled its way to the table in the classic hot metal bowl. Big hunks of green pepper competed for space in the balti bowl with hefty pieces of chicken – a tangy sauce held the lot together.
Included in the banquet’s price is a side dish. This was a great feature for meanies M and C as they usually share a side – this time it was one apiece. Cat’s dish of choice was mushroom bhaghee and M had saag aloo. They helped themselves to both, soon working their way through this banquet and enjoying every bit.
Having finished his own meal, Matt scooped up The Cat’s leftovers: rejected mango quarters, a couple of lumps of chicken and, with deft use of the remaining naan bread, he mopped the sauces with his eager hand. After the main courses were cleared a complimentary plate of very fresh orange slices arrived for a delicious and welcome palette-cleanser.
Finally, coffee was delivered – all included in the price – and M & C had a chance to consider how Ryde Tandoori had fared.
Overall the service could not have been faulted for speed and accuracy but it was pretty impersonal. As is sometimes the case with any customer/staff interface, whether it’s a waiter, hairdresser or manscaper, sometimes a little chat will help the client feel less processed and more like a human being. The food was without exception decent, generous in quantity and sensibly presented. Top of the list for commendation though must go to value for money: this banquet night would be hard to equal anywhere. Whether this deal persists through the summer months too remains to be seen, but even at the standard prices the Ryde Tandoori is not the most expensive offering on what is fast becoming a very well-populated Indian restaurant market in Ryde. Matt and Cat recommend it.
Below is the original review from March 2006.
For a cold Monday evening in March, the Ryde Tandoori was doing brisk business. Matt and Cat, in their dedication to this eating out diary, were amongst the clientèle – having braved the night’s windchill.
The staff were attentive and friendly. The restaurant – a pleasingly traditional curry house which has eschewed laminate flooring and bright lighting – is clean and well laid out. There were no surprises on the reasonably-priced menu and, like any good Indian restaurant, a plentiful choice of well described fare. After the diners were allowed a few moments to catch up with their friends, orders were taken and poppodums produced. A few more poppodums than diners were on the plate, which betters the meagre ration offered in some restaurants.
The main course arrived in a timely manner. Cat felt compelled to have her favourite chicken moglai balti; the dish contained generous pieces of meat served up with a delicious creamy sauce. Matt’s chicken tikka bhuna was well presented with a nice garnish. Perhaps not the most generous of portion sizes but a pleasant meal nonetheless. Matt and Cat’s companions chose prawn korma and, for one less adventurous diner, roasted vegetables and egg fried rice.
When the party rose to leave, almost before they were on their feet the swift and smiling staff brought from an inner room their coats and scarves – much needed on this chilly night. Each item was delivered to the right person. At the door, a waiter was on hand immediately to open the door and wish a courteous goodnight. Small touches, which might have once been taken for granted, but today such old-fashioned service is noted and appreciated.
Ryde Tandoori is a classic Indian restaurant which has no pretensions to be a trendy nightclub or wine bar. The food is good and the staff are welcoming. No wonder the restaurant has been established for many years – and seems likely to be there for a good few years yet.