I have been coming to Tangawizi for years and have always found it reliable and good quality. You get that sense when you try the chutneys that appear with the popadoms here. The popadoms themselves are crisp but instead of the cliché of mango chutney, lime pickle and lurid mint chutney, here there is an array of options. To be sure there is some mango chutney, but the lime pickle is different, thinner in texture so you don't get big lumps of lime, but still the same tartness. In addition there is aubergine chutney, tomato chutney and good mint chutney. To start with I had a dish I had eaten many time before, little cauliflower florets cooked in the tandoor. They were different tonight: cooked all right but with a rather gloopy sweet and sour style sauce that you mind get in a Chinese restaurant. It didn’t entirely work, even though the cauliflower itself was fine (12/20). Tandoori prawns, usually a star dish here, were overcooked and rather dried out. They were still tolerable, but nothing like the versions I have eaten here before (11/20 at best).
At this point we were quite concerned about what had happened to one of our “go to” Indian kitchens. Chicken biryani was better, having good, fragrant rice, though the pieces of chicken were a bit on the dry side (maybe 13/20 if I am kind). Aloo gobi was just disappointing though, bland and with the potatoes having lost their texture (10/20). Saag paneer was decent (11/20) but even the black dhal, once a star dish here, was a shadow of its former self; where was the rich, smoky concoction that I remember? Not in this rather bland version for sure (11/20). Naan bread was also different, not bad but a little papery in texture compared to how I recall it (12/20). A carrot halwa at the end at least seemed to be still quite good (13/20).
The waiters were as friendly as ever though I didn't see either of the two owners tonight. I can only assume there has been some major change in the kitchen since last came two years ago. The bill came to £42 per head. Although this was objectively still an entirely acceptable meal, the score just about limping up to 12/20, it bore no relationship to the meals that I have eaten here before, with dish after dish underperforming compared to the many very good meals that I have eaten here before. This makes me genuinely sad, like seeing an old friend in decline.