We will start this post off by letting you know a little secret, we simply love Indian cuisine because me and Sims are vegetarians, and this is one cuisine which offers such a huge variety of dishes to choose from that you never feel missed out by being vegetarians.
Nottingham has a good number of Indian restaurants including Tamatanga, 4550 Miles from Delhi, Masala Junction to name a few and when our friends informed us that one of the Indian food specialist Chef Sukhbir has opened his first restaurant in the city, we were keen to visit Passage to India with our friends.
We visited with our friends and their kids on a Tuesday evening and were pleasantly surprised that the restaurant was occupied more than half, which was great considering the venue is reasonably new. Our feedback is based on 4P’s of the restaurant namely
- Place (Venue location and ambience)
- Product (Food & Drink and service)
- Price (Menu price)
- Promotion (offers)
Place(Venue Location and Ambience)
The restaurant is located at the Mapperly market opposite Sainsbury store center and therefore is a perfect location for shoppers and local residential people in the area. In terms of parking, there is enough available at the roadside during the evening time considering its opening times is 1730 to 2200 hours weekday and 1630 hours to 2100 on Sunday. The restaurant is located on the first floor which may be inconvenient for elderly and disabled guests.
The waiting area is warm and welcoming with the Buddha statue and hand painted “Namaste” which means a respectful greeting in India. Although the restaurant has capacity of 40 (approx.) however the theme of white drapes and contemporary lights give it a unique, open and relaxed atmosphere. We liked the ambience a lot as it seems authentic yet modern with clean and neat fit out.
Product (Food, Drinks & Service)
Once we were seated and were still looking into the menu, complimentary trays of poppadum and variety of chutneys (minted green apple, mango chutney, spicy onion) were served to our table. We ordered the cobra beer for adults and mango lassi for the kids both of which go very well with Indian food.
For starters we ordered Veg Selection (for 2) which was an assortment of Aloo ki Tikki /Red Onion Spinach Bhaji/Paneer Tikka /Salad. The aloo ki tikki was soft and mild in spice with filling of cottage cheese and sweet yogurt which just melted in the mouth immediately. Paneer Tikka was fresh and perfectly marinated and roasted, however the spinach bhaji was average and could have been better if it was bit crispier in taste. The kids also enjoyed their portion of chips.
For mains we were a bit indecisive and this is where Chef helped us in choosing what he thought would be right pick for us as vegetarians.
We ordered Malai Kofta, Dal Double Tadka and Bhindi Do Pyaza alongside assorted breads and pulao rice. Here I have to confess that we usually don’t order Malai kofta (mixed vegetable dumpling simmered in tomato sauce) when we visit Indian restaurant, but on the advice of the chef we went ahead with it and were pleasantly surprised that it was just perfect and didn’t had too much of sweet taste which is always our concern for not trying it out. The “double” tadka dal (lentil) had interesting “double flavors” which made enjoyable treat. Here I would like to add a trivia that tadka dal is one of the most popular lentil amongst Indians but surprisingly very difficult to match the authentic taste for the simple reason that it is cooked in almost all Indian household by their mum. The fresh assorted breads did the right justice and complimented to the mains. Bhindi do pyaza (Okra tossed with tomato and onions) was simple and had balanced taste.
The chef was kind enough to send a plate of complimentary green salad for us. The portion size of the mains looked huge may be because of the style of the serving pots but they were adequate for us.
And finally, …….
I’m not a big dessert person but keeping in mind the popular request on our table and especially of the kids we ordered ice-cream with gulab jamun. The hot and cool contrasting temperature of the dishes make the combination very popular and I could guess the kids thoroughly enjoyed it, which was evident with their expressions.
All in all the food was exquisite! As an Indian food lover, I have to admit that expectation was not particularly high. It was therefore a lovely surprise to have my expectations exceeded by the team at Passage to India. The chef recommendations of the dishes were not only beautifully presented which were worthy of social media posts but were authentic in taste as well.
The service of the staff was good, and they ensured our requests were taken care of. Inspite of our kids on our table being were noisy, the staff were very warm and accommodating
Pricing (Menu Price)
The overall menu pricing is moderate. The starter platter (for sharing) we ordered was for £10 each and mains £6 (as sides portion) and £9 (as mains portion), which is pretty reasonable. Our total bill came to £130 for 4 adults and 2 kids which is great considering the amount of food we enjoyed, not to forget some complimentary poppadum and green salad for our table.
Promotions (Offers & Deals)
This is one area where they can do better. We didn’t find much activity on their social media and also no mention of offers on their website. Considering it is a new restaurant anything on drinks or early dinner would be desirable and be attractive for potential diners and tempt them to try this new place. I wouldn’t bother too much on this aspect as it boils down to business approach of each venue. We did see some mention of “15% OFF” on the A-board displayed outside the restaurant although we didn’t bother too much on the same.
Overall “Passage to India” is above average Indian restaurant in the city and they are clearly striving to do something authentic with food as its center point however their small drawback is them being on a first floor.
We would strongly recommend a visit when you are in Mapperly or anywhere close, make sure you take suggestion from chef Sukhbir as he would be more than happy to give you his recommendation from the menu based on your taste.
To know about their menu and to book a table you can visit their website Passage to India.