Editor's note: In January 2015 it was announced that Chutney Mary would move to St James. This site is now a Masala Grill.
One of the keys to a restaurant is consistency, delivering dishes of the same standard night after night. Tonight’s meal was an example of where that lesson is not followed: I had a good meal here less than a year ago, and so anticipated a similar experience, but this did not happen.
A starter of steamed sea bass was served in a banana leaf, the fish itself cooked quite well, but the spicing of garlic and turmeric being overwhelmed by the coconut, giving a rather one-dimensional character (12/20). A pair of crab cakes, notionally made with green chilli, lime and ginger, were rather bland, a little tomato chutney providing some spicy bite, but the crab flavour itself barely came through (11/20 at most).
My main course Goan chicken was fine, the meat cooked correctly and the sauce imparting plenty of flavour, in this case with chilli, coriander and coconut. There was actually not much chicken relative to the sauce, but the chicken that did make an appearance was tender, and the spicing in this case was quite vibrant (13/20). The monkfish that arrived was simply dismal, the fish itself soft and flabby and having an odd taste (10/20). It was served with a sauce of cucumber, onion seeds and mustard, but that was irrelevant as the fish was inedible. We changed it for a decent enough paneer (11/20). This fish should never have left the kitchen.
Bhindi suffered from okra that had become soggy, as it so easily can do, in this case with a simple tomato-based sauce with mild spicing (10/20). Naan bread was reasonable, quite soft in texture though small in size (12/20). Rice, both plain and lemon pula, was fine, though served in a tiny dish (12/20). I did look at the dessert menu to see whether they still did the gulab jaman that I so much enjoyed last time, but this was no longer available.
Even the service was off tonight: when the starters arrived the waiter just looked at us and asked who ordered what. This may be acceptable at a garden centre café but not in a restaurant at this price level. The manager was good about taking the dishes we did not eat off the bill, but even so the bill came to £54 a head, with just three beers between two people, no popadoms and no desserts. This meal was simply unrecognisable from the enjoyable one I ate year less than a year ago, yet apparently the same head chef is present.
Further reviews: 01st Aug 2010