Restaurant

Name: The Red Fort
Area: Soho
Address: 77 Dean Street
London W1D 3SH
Phone: 020 7437 2525
Website: redfort.co.uk

Visits to this restaurant ...

1. 12 Jan 2017


Great to see a full turn-out for our 200th outing!

Visit Report

Visit Number: 200 (visit 1 of 1 for this restaurant)
"Our 200th Outing"
Date of visit: 12 Jan 2017 (Re-scheduled Dec 2016 outing)
Cost per head: £65.00 (1 beer)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 8.1 7.2 5.5 8.8 6.5 6.1 7.5 5.5 4.9 6.89
John 8 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 5 6.7 See John's comments
Dave 7 6 6 9 6 6 5 5 3 6.0 See Dave's comments
Alex 9 8 7 9 8 9 8 7 8.3 See Alex's comments
Jon 10 8 7 8 5 6 9 6 6 7.4 See Jon's comments
Jeff 9 8 6 10 9 7 6 4 4 7.0 See Jeff's comments
Dominic 7 8 8 9 3 4 7 3 5 6.2 See Dominic's comments
Mark 8 7 4 9 7 6 7 5 4 6.5 See Mark's comments
Richard 7 5 3 9 6 6 8 4 3 6.0 See Richard's comments
Graeme 8 7 5 9 5 6 7 6 5 6.6 See Graeme's comments
Neil 8 6 3 9 8 6 8 6 5 6.8 See Neil's comments
Brian 8 10 6 9 7 7 10 7 7 8.1 See Brian's comments
Robin 8 7 5 8 5 5 7 7 5 6.5 See Robin's comments
Tim 8 5 6 9 6 7 9 7 5 7.2 See Tim's comments

All Comments

John - Relatively good food but expensive. Wouldn't rush back to this place though.

Dave - Impressive start from the Red Fort - spicy pops with nice chutneys followed by excellent mixed starter from the taster menu (served with nan bread). Unfortunately I was not so impressed with the main dishes - lamb shank was a bit bland and the chicken curry had quite a sour taste. Overall I think it was overpriced but enjoyed the evening reminiscing over 17 years of curry eating.

Alex - After the broom cupboard-sized pub, a reasonably spacious restaurant! Given the sub-arctic weather, it wasn't super busy and service was pleasant, efficient and accurate. I went a la carte since the tasting menu contained several items I didn't particularly fancy. Very good flavours and tender meat but the vegetable sides didn't have quite the usual variety. A satisfying choice for the 200th but a bit expensive for what it was so drops a bit on VFM.

Jon - On a cold, wet and windy night, the Red Fort certainly warmed us all up as the club marked its 200th visit in style.  The £65 final cost was lower than most were anticipating and the overall experience wasn't quite as good as I was expecting.  I was one of the majority that went for the tasting menu which included a nice selection of starters, neatly arranged (ahem), followed by a selection of main courses including a lamb shank, a chicken dish, a lentil curry and some okra.  All were very good and it was a nice touch that we could ask for more if we needed to.  I was a little disappointed that they only served spicy popadoms, and the nan bread was not particularly impressive.  All in all, a little like our 100th visit to the Veeraswamy, the food was very good, and the service was excellent, but whether it was worth the extra expense is debateable.  It was, however, a great night and fantastic to get a full turnout from the membership (not sure when that last happened) – some good reminiscing on our 17 years as a curry club, and some thought as to whether we will all still be going after another 100 visits.

Jeff - The first snow in London for 3 years accompanied our trip to this highly-rated restaurant for our 200th outing. Met in Soho in the tiny but atmospheric Dog and Duck, then a trip round the corner past the well-patronised "Gentleman's club" to the Red Fort, unpretentious from the outside and understated though well decorated on the inside. It was only half full if that. Service was slick, pleasant and unobtrusive; spicy poppadoms arrived unbodden but no-one complained, it wasn't that sort of night. The tasting menu at £50 was the exposure-limiting choice of most of us. The mixed starter was probably the best I've ever had, accompanied by small but delicious naan breads, but the main of lamb shank, chicken curry, and okra was not as good. The shank was tender but bland. Rice was enormously plentiful and more shanks were offered if we wanted, an offer we accepted! Kingfisher beer was served out of small bottles and seemed to taste the better for it. Mango ice cream and coffee finished off the menu. Altogether a nice place, but the promise of the heavenly starter was let down somewhat by the main. At £65, was this twice or three times better than our usual haunts? No. But thoroughly enjoyable nevertheless as the conversation flowed easily as ever - for example, we worked out that Robin would be 80 by the 400th outing.

Dominic - A milestone curry deserved a special venue and this certainly fits the bill! ... though one could argue that the pre-dinner drinks in Soho's narrowest boozer also serves as tradition! Having been to the Red Fort once before a number of years back I was happy to see that it hadn't changed coming across, as it does, as a formal dining experience which I enjoy for the very odd curry club night out. Service was largely good and efficient but unfortunately lacked any attempt at engagement. As for the food, herd mentality was the order of the day (literally!) with most selecting the tasting menu (sans vins) - the starters of sea bass, kebab, king prawn and patty were delicious and the pick of the evening. The mains of chicken and the lamb shank were a mixed bag for me: the chicken being quite tasty but the shank a little ordinary (perhaps we have all been spoilt by the Mehek!!). My mark is therefore blended based on this. The veg of okra and lentils (should that be runny lentils!) was mediocre at best as was the bread, popaddums and rice ... rather disappointing that. The wine, however, was very good notwithstanding it was from the lower end of a vast (and expensive!) wine list. VFM is a little disappointing given what we paid but all in all a thoroughly enjoyable evening to mark the 200th visit ... well done us!!

Mark - OK, so the pub was small but we all got in, glad all 13 could attend, and access to the bar was easy! Slightly underwhelmed with the decór in The Red Fort, good but nothing special. Pleasent welcome & service and reasonable spacing on the table although slightly misaligned due to odd numbers. Spicy pops to start meant no 'pizza' for me but the sauces were good. Mixed starter from the Tasting menu was wonderful. Main seemed a bit skinny to start but we soon found we could order more of each dish which meant I could really enjoy the lamb shank. The Chicken dish was fine but as a 'salad dodger' I did not have too much of the veg dishes. Nan bread was useful to soak up flavours but nothing special. Ice cream and coffee were pleasant. Overall I'm glad we did something different for our 200th celebration. It was good but the cost outweighed the standard in my view.

Richard - Nice to be in the West End for a change, but you won't get much change out of £70 per head. The Red Fort was stylish, but a little soul-less, and that goes for the service too. The food was very good however, although at that price for a fixed menu it certainly should be, and disappointingly the Dhal and bhindi were below average and the bread was so-so. I think the price was so high, I couldn't recommend it.

Graeme - We knew it would be expensive, and it was, but I thought it was an excellent venue for our 200th outing. I didn't feel like we were being ripped off - they were actually generous with, effectively, "free re-fills" of rice, nan and the main dishes from the taster menu (which I went for). They looked after us very well. It was a bit disappointing that the only beer available was small bottles of Kingfisher. The mixed starter was excellent, especially the Murgh Seekh. The main courses (Lamb Shank and Andhra Murgh) were very good but maybe not special enough given the venue. The vegetables were mixed - the Okra was very nice but the Black Lentil dish was a bit off-putting due to its liquid consistency! Beforehand, we met in the Dog and Duck, one of the smallest pubs I've been in - it is a proper London boozer though. I celebrated the occasion by taking the afternoon off work and getting there early so I could fit in a 4-pinter prior to the meal.

Neil - After much anticipation (and discussion), the 200th Curry Night arrived! It didn't start too well, given the worst weather seen for a few years and meeting in the smallest pub in London. All worked out well however as we were warmed up and well oiled for the main event. As expected, the restaurant looked fairly posh and the waiters were very attentive as we arrived. Like most of us I went for the taster menu. This was surprisingly large and had a balanced traditional / distinguishing selection. Special mention for the starter which had an interesting Indian 'melted camembert' amongst the more traditional pieces, and the lamb shank main, which looked small to start with (as had to be shared) but more arrived when we pointed this out. Bread and rice also seemed to have an unlimited supply. The dessert was great and they even swapped the coffee for a hot chocolate which was again really nice. Shame we don't have a dessert category (Dave's melon!). All in all, just under seventy quid for a special meal which lived up to expectations, I'm happy with that but may not be back next week.

Brian - Monkfish Tikka starter was excellent, although it could have done with a bit more greenery / salad.  Main of Samundari Ratan (yes, I did have to check the online menu!!) was fantastic; squid, scallop, tilapia and king prawns – loads of lovely, well-spiced seafood.  Sundries were all ok, and I would have preferred a proper pint, rather than halves which were apparently taken from bottles.  All in all, a good west-end curry, and the prices were not as steep as I expected.

Robin - This place had some mixed reviews on Tripadvisor so I was pleasantly surprised by the efficient service and decent portion sizes. Firstly I must mention the (free?) poppadums that we had. They were of the spicy variety (I usually stick to plain) and they were outstanding, having a lovely aroma and taste of cumin. I had monkfish tikka for my starter and it was beautiful – a lovely, delicate, slightly spicy flavour. For my main course I had lamb shank, which although not quite up to (sadly long closed) Mehek's standards was pretty good - plenty of it in a lovely sauce. The veg that I tried was also good (mostly baby aubergines) but the nan breads were disappointing, being quite dry and not very flavourful. The cumin rice was ok but nothing exceptional and, of course, this being the most expensive curry house we've ever visited, the VFM score was never likely to be high – the meal was nice enough but certainly not worth £65 in my view.

Tim - The restaurant was fairly quiet, so we didn't have to worry about the advertised 2-hour table turnaround time. The decor is smart, but I found it curiously soulless. I thought the lighting too bright to be atmospheric, and I was sitting facing a service area and the doors to the kitchen, which didn't really add to the ambience. The toilets are very nice and clean though. I've marked the booze down because although there is a 30+ page wine menu, there is only one beer - a small Kingfisher for £4.25. Dom's suggestion of the Verdicchio was refreshing, fruity and surprisingly full-bodied however. There was no choice between plain and spicy poppadoms - only delicately spiced (fennel?) ones were available, accompanied by thick raita, mango chutney and tamarind sauces. The mixed starter that was part of the tasting menu was very flavourful, including succulent fish (sea bass), king prawn and chicken kebab - all served on one plate like a slightly more upmarket version of the usual mixed starter. For the main course, they brought out bowls to share of the two meat (lamb shank and chicken Andhra) and two veg dishes. If we ran out, they brought more out, so there was plenty of food available. The lamb shank was the highlight for me, but all the dishes were good. There were also bowls of plain nans on the table; there was nothing wrong with the nans, but I can't get excited about plain nan, hence a lower mark. Service was very efficient, and I liked that we had glasses of water that were kept topped up, although I don't much like the practice of keeping wine away from the table - it makes it hard to keep track of how much has been drunk and to pace one's self. Overall, I thought the meal was very good, but at twice our usual cost, I'm not sure it quite justified the money.


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