Machaan is the younger sister of a restaurant of the same name in Hampton Wick; the Stamford Brook branch opened in March 2013. The name “Machaan” means an elevated platform used for hunting game, though I didn’t notice any game on the menu. It is on the site of what was the short-lived Indian restaurant Korma, which itself took over from Woodlands. That little stretch, near Stamford Brook tube, is a difficult area for restaurants for some reason, with a quite high failure rate.
The wine list started at £15.50, did not bother to list vintages but had choices such as Chardonnay unoaked La Playa at £16.50 for a wine that you can find in the high street for around a fiver, Sauvignon Blanc Turning Heads £23.00 for a wine that retails at about £13 and Veuve Cliquot NV champagne at a reasonable £50 for a wine that will set you back up to £43 in a shop.
Murgh malai tikka was marinated and the cooked in a tandoor, the chicken tender though a touch dry, and not having much taste from the marinade (11/20). Worse was aloo tikki, whose vegetable pattie had a hard texture that was not sufficiently well disguised by slathering nondescript green sauce over it (10/20).
Monkfish curry featured very little fish indeed, with what there was being overcooked, served in a bland tomato-based sauce (8/20). Tandoori prawns were better, cooked a little too long but still reasonably tender (11/20). The best dish was dhal makhani, the lentil curry having decent texture and a little spicy punch (12/20). Sadly this was not the case with spicy potatoes, where the vegetables were mushy and the sauce bland (9/20). Spicing throughout these dishes was poor, with a generic slight heat rather than being able to taste individual spices. Naan bread was on the crispy side instead of supple, and was far from hot when it arrived.
Service was friendly enough, though there were inordinate delays in the dishes arriving given that only two other tables were occupied when we were eating. The bill came to £37 a head, which is more than I would pay at Haandi, which is in Knightsbridge. I am not sure why the standard of north Indian restaurants in the Hammersmith and Chiswick area is so low. There are plenty of places, but not one that delivers food that makes me want to return. I will just keep on eating in Southall, where the food is vastly better and the prices lower. Machaan is certainly better than many Indian restaurants in this area, but that is not a very high bar to jump.