Name: Passage To India
Area: Old Street
Address: 107-109 Great Eastern Street
London EC2A 3JD
Phone: 020 7253 3839

Visits to this restaurant ...

1. 30 Aug 2007

"If he thinks I'm going to apologise ..."

Visit Report

Visit Number: 89 (visit 1 of 1 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 30 Aug 2007
Cost per head: £23.50 (1.5 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 5.8 3.9 6.3 6.3 5.4 5.3 5.9 6.0 5.4 5.63
Graeme 3 3 6 5 3 6 7 6 4 5.0 See Graeme's comments
Dave 4 0 6 5 5 3 5 1 3.7 See Dave's comments
Tim 6 4 6 8 6 7 7 7 6.5 See Tim's comments
Dominic 6 4 7 5 8 4 5 5 6 5.5 See Dominic's comments
Richard 6 3 5 7 5 5 4 5 5 5.0 See Richard's comments
Alex 8 7 7 6 6 7 7 7 6.8 See Alex's comments
Brian 7 5 6 8 6 6 6 6 7 6.4 See Brian's comments
Jon 6 5 7 5 5 5 8 7 6 6.1 See Jon's comments

All Comments

Graeme - Although I suggested this place (on the basis it was in a 'barren' CurryMarks area), it was very disappointing. From the outside, it looked like an old-fashioned curry house but, in fact, it was just old, tired and grubby (and not even any flock wallpaper). There was no-one else in there when we arrived although a few people did come later. The seats against the wall were upholstered benches (rather than chairs) and were lacking in padding, low and uncomfortable. The poppadoms arrived quickly but were soft and unappatising and the relishes were runny - I knocked 2 points off my starter mark (per rule 38.2d). My Peshwari Nan was greasy and most of the food was not hot enough. Funnily enough, having said all of the above, the core components of the meal were reasonably good. My starter (Reshmi Kebab) and main course (???) were both tasty, and the rice and veg dishes were OK. Unfortunately, this was not a great find. The evening started with a visit to our old haunt Dirty Dicks where not much had changed - it was still dark and pokey with expensive beer. However, the surprise of the evening was the revelation from El Presidente Mark that he would not be joining us for a curry as he wasn't allowed out!

Dave - I think Mark's departure before the curry must have been based on inside info as this place was awful. The alarm bells began ringing as we arrived to a completely empty restaurant where the only ambience created was the continuous blare of passing police van sirens. The toilets were dingy/dirty and the service was appalling considering there was no-one else to serve but us! My chicken curry arrived only after I had enquired as to its whereabouts and in hindsight I wish I hadn't bothered as what was delivered contained rubbery chicken in a bland tasteless sauce. As I was driving, I had to content myself with drinking flat coke and then, to cap it all, the evening was rounded off by the now predictable pathetic excuse for a hot towel. If ever faced with the prospect of eating here again I would definitely do an "El Presidente" and bunk off after the drinks.

Tim - We arrived to find the restaurant deserted. The decor is unremarkable. There was the usual Cobra and Kingfisher available, though for some reason they had no pint glasses, only half-pint ones. I liked the spicy popadoms; they seemed to have a slightly different flavour from usual. Starter of shahe kebab (I think) was finely chopped lamb + sauce in a pancake roll, with salad - this was good. Main course of chicken ajwani was new to me. It was quite spicy and had a decent amount of meat, but I didn't find it particularly exciting. Rice and veg were OK. The bill was lower than some of the other places we've been to recently.

Dominic - A first visit in this part of London and perhaps a last! The venue was a little old fashioned and dated although the (many) waiters hovered nearby. The popadams were fresh but my starter of the reshmi kebab was quite ordinary. Nothing took my fancy with the mains so I opted for a mixed tandoori grill which was fine except the chicken was very dry. The nan bread was very tasty but the special rice was soggy (Robin, you're lucky you weren't here!). The rest was average except the wine which was quite good but even here they ran out after 1 bottle which wasn't good timing given that I managed to surround myself with 3 wine drinkers (OK, admittedly I brought one as my guest - go the Toon Army!). All in all a disappointing meal.

Richard - I'm expecting a few scatalogical jokes about the Passage to India, which I shan't indulge in. I thought it was more a passage back in time, as the place seemed like a low-end curry house from the 80's (that hadn't been decorated since), complete with dingy bogs and laminated plastic menus. Maybe it just fits in with the scruffy location near Old St. The food was reasonable, with an interesting starter whose name I forget, which was a savoury pancake filled with minced lamb. They supplied the most firey Jalfrezi I've had, too much for my taste, and the poppadums were not so good. Dom's guest was another Aussie rosé drinker (although he claimed, unconvincingly, to be a born and bred Teesider), and continued his corruption of young Mr Colgate.

Alex - OK place but not particularly thrilling.

Brian - This was an old-style curry house, with decor, music etc from another era, and I've marked the ambience down for that reason, together with the "rest-room" facilities being inadequate. My starter of minced and spiced lamb wrapped in some sort of bread/pancake was excellent, however the mystery lamb main that I had was not as tender as I would have liked, although it was certainly hot enough. Excellent company and conversation as always.

Jon - An old fashioned place on the outskirts of the City that was OK but distinctly unspectacular. It was empty when we got there and we were only joined by a handful of other customers. Service was polite but they brought two of one dish and forgot Griff's chicken curry - it then arrived so quickly that I suspect it was a mix of whatever they had ready. My main course, a chicken madras, was hotter than average and very nice, but nothing else really came up to scratch. One plate of the plain poppadums were soft, and the reshmi kebab starter was slightly disappointing - seemed to be based on a sheek kebab rather than a shami. Special rice was anything but and the keema nan was a bit short on the meat side. Veg was good though. Dom failed to entertain us with any slapstick in his first appearance since the "flimsy" chair, and we had to settle for a Murray mint rather than a liqueur.

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