Name: Smithfield Tandoori
Status: Closed
Previous name: Moved from 4 Lindsey Street
Area: Smithfield
Address: 12 Smithfield Street
London EC1A 9LA
Phone: 020 7248 4000

Visits to this restaurant ...

1. 23 Feb 2006

John's mood reflects his dissatisfaction with the ambience.

Visit Report

Visit Number: 71 (visit 1 of 1 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 23 Feb 2006
Cost per head: £32.00 (2 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 6.5 4.1 7.1 6.2 6.1 6.1 7.5 6.6 4.6 6.21
Dave 9 6 7 8 5 7 9 9 6 7.5 See Dave's comments
Graeme 8 3 8 7 8 8 9 7 5 7.2 See Graeme's comments
Dominic 7 7 4 5 6 5 6 5 3 5.4 See Dominic's comments
John 5 0 8 5 6 6 8 4 4 5.4 See John's comments
Mark 7 4 8 6 6 7 2 4 5.7 See Mark's comments
Jon 4 4 8 5 3 6 7 8 5 5.7 See Jon's comments
Alex 8 7 7 9 7 8 8 6 7.6 See Alex's comments
Robin 6 3 8 6 8 4 6 7 4 5.8 See Robin's comments
Tim 5 3 6 5 7 6 7 9 4 5.6 See Tim's comments

All Comments

Dave - Got off to an appalling start (empty dark & no music), but improved as the evening went on. With the exception of a rather doughy Nan bread, the food was excellent, in particular the vegetables and the Chicken Curry. Quality was reflected in the rather "lumpy" price, but the arrival of proper hot towels helped to soothe the financial pain.

Graeme - We were the only people in the restaurant when we arrived and the atmosphere was absolutely dead. It picked up a bit later on - the restaurant was about half full when we left. However, in spite of this negative (and it is a big negative), the meal was very good. Excellent food, very good service and draught Kingfisher (quite rare these days). I had Chicken Tikka to start (sorry!) which was tasty and succulent. For main course I had a chicken dish that was described as fiery - it was, but not so hot that I couldn't enjoy the flavours - it was superb. The meal was expensive but just about worth it. I would go back, but not before 9:30pm! The evening finished with a complimentary liqueur (thanks to Dom's persistence) and I certainly enjoyed the half pint (well, nearly) of Tia Maria that was given to me. Unfortunately, Griff and The New Griff missed the free drinks as they had left in a bit of a hurry - apparently a sheep had got out and there was a flood in the lower field.

Dominic - Well I knew this was going to be an interesting evening when we walked into the restaurant to be greeted by dimmed lighting, pristine white tablecloths and spotless crystal-like red wine glasses! And it only took 2 minutes before one member (who shall remain nameless) questioned why we were here .... for correct effect please insert appropriate expletives! All in all this was a very expensive evening without extraordinarily good food to match. Very briefly the Puri was oily, the Rogan Josh a touch dry, the veg average and with no special rice on offer and an exceedingly pricey wine list this quickly became a very low VFM evening. The one redeeming factor was the free round of digestives but even that was as a result of 2 lots of begging .....

John - Good food but no atmosphere, miserable waiting staff and rip-off prices. The sheek kebab starter was ok but not that tasty. The main course (some sort of chicken/chilli curry) was excellent but a little too spicy for me. Kingfisher on draught was a nice surprise though. Doesn't deserve a CurryMarks star.

Mark - The Smithfield Tandoori (or ST as they style themselves) was empty when we arrived, only lit by a few dimmed 30 watt bulbs and had no background music available to drown out Griff's drunken ramblings. I always believe it is not a good idea to insult the staff before they prepare your meal! Ambience gradually improved as a few more punters arrived and the noise level rose accordingly. After £22.50 worth of poppadums my Sheek Kebab starter was pleasent but a bit dry. Chicken Biryani main was better, containing a good mix of meat and rice although the curry/sauce to accompany it lacked any bite. A well presented meal & attentative staff but a lack of soul and very heavy on the wallet. Sag allo was literally a mix of spinach & potato that looked like they had not met until 30 seconds before serving - wierd.

Jon - It was not a promising start. The place was empty (although it did get busier later on), completely devoid of any sort of music and the menu displayed a selection of unfamiliar and expensive dishes. The waiters were attentive (as they had no one else to serve), but my low service mark is partly down to the lack of traditional options on the menu such as a special rice or even keema nan (not to mention madras, vindaloo, etc.). I didn't dare ask for a reshmi as it seemed clear that, contrary to the norm in Indian restaurants, if it wasn't on the menu, they didn't do it. My quail starter was uninspiring, but the main course (chicken something or other) was good. Tender meat in a tasty sauce with green chillies. The rice was OK, but the nan was very disappointing both in size and taste. It was also cold, although none of the food could be described as piping hot. The vegetable selection was also unusual but generally very good. Draught Kingfisher was a pleasant surprise.

Alex - Atmosphere perked up later. Drinks on the house for the stop-outs were much appreciated, thanks to Dom’s peerless negotiating skills. Despite rather tasty food it was still somewhat expensive…

Robin - The place was completely empty when we walked in although it was filling up by the time we left. The ambiance was definitely lacking for the first hour - they didn't even have any music! Very nice draught Kingfisher, good vegetable dishes and an excellent paratha were somewhat let down by an almost tasteless Sheek Kebab starter, an indifferent Chicken Kalaphuri main course - and they had nothing remotely like special rice. Very expensive for what we got, slightly mitigated by the free brandy at the end. Not a visit to repeat.

Tim - On our arrival at 7:30pm, the restaurant was deserted. The plain, if not austere, nature of the decor; the total lack of any music; and the extreme dimness of the illumination, made the interior seem more like a place of meditation than a restaurant. Some quiet music would have been welcome to give some ambience, and cover up some of the remarks made by one of the louder members of the party. Although the subdued nature of the lighting added atmosphere, it was so dark that some people had difficulty reading their menus. We had popadoms to start; the presentation was good (e.g. chutneys in white china), but the rolled spicy popadoms didn't seem very practical - how are you meant to eat chutneys with a popadom when it's wrapped up into a tube? The starter of tandoori quail on a sea of lettuce was a bit disappointing - the quail was quite tasty but somewhat dry, and there was far too much lettuce. At over £5, I would have expected some sauce with it, or a selection of salad. The main course of pasanda mogulai was fine. Meat was unusually cut into medallions instead of being diced, and was of good quality. The sauce wasn't terribly exciting, but that was my fault for ordering a mild pasanda. There was no sag aloo on the menu, though they brought some at our request. This was the poorest of the veg dishes we ordered as it consisted just of spainach and potato together without the usual herbs and spices. To be fair though, the other veg dishes we had, which were on the menu, were very good - spicy potato; and mushroom and peas. However at £4.50 each, I would have expected better than average. Service initially was very attentive, though interest tailed off somewhat once other customers arrived. Disappointingly, no freebies were offered with, or after the meal; often with meals at over £30 a head, a free liqueur or similar is provided at the end. After some negotiation, and some mention of writing reviews for a website, we were offered a free round of drinks. The measures were extremely generous, but I think it's rather a dangerous precedent to tell a restaurant that your reviewing them in the hope of getting a better deal.

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