Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Painted Heron, 8th November

I managed to lose my camera the other week when I was out cavorting at the Bugged Out Halloween party. This may seem to have little relevance to a review of an Indian restaurant but I mention it by way of apologising for the nonexistent or truly poor quality photos. My camera phone just isn’t up to scratch when faced with the kind of low lighting used to provide ambience. I took two photos of the starters and then gave up.

Which is a shame as some of the food looked really good.

Painted Heron had earned a place on my List from trawling through 1000 Things to do in London. And then, just as with McQueen, Time Out had an offer on to dine there which was an opportunity too good to miss. And what an offer it was – £15 for three courses. Naturally, Stephen and I assumed there would be a set menu as there was for McQueen but we were completely mistaken. Other than being restricted from ordering the sharing dishes as starters we had free reign to choose from their normal menu. They even included a side of rice and a choice of bread. You couldn’t fault the value for money with this.

There were a lot of interesting-sounding dishes to choose from which made deciding tricky. In the end I went for the lamp chops with nutmeg flower to start because I decided I would have the guinea fowl with green chillies for the main. The other starters I had been eyeing up included crispy quail or pigeon breast but once I’d decided on the fowl, I thought that was enough poultry for one meal. Stephen had the plaice with crab to start followed by the quail, pigeon and duck in coconut stew. We also ordered some poppadoms to munch on while we were waiting for our starters, though we forgot to order these when we ordered the rest and we’d barely started on them when our starters arrived.

They were plated beautifully and I was smitten with my lamb chops with the first mouthful. Tayyabs eat your heart out! There was a decent amount of meat on the chops, they were tender and fantastically flavoured and the sauces laid out beside them were equally delicious. Of course, it’s a little unfair to compare them to Tayyabs as, without the special deal, they would have cost £9.50, but on taste alone they win hands down. Stephen was similarly impressed with his fish starter and urged me to try it. We were excited by the food (and our discount) and Stephen even proclaimed that it was getting on for Lassan standards. Lassan is an upmarket Indian restaurant in Birmingham that we went to earlier this year, after having been taken with Aktar Islam’s creations on the Great British Menu. That was some pretty fine Indian food.

The dark splodges in front are the chops, the bright(ish)
yellow thing is the nutmeg flower
So we awaited with baited breath for our main courses and unfortunately they didn’t manage to maintain the gold standard. I definitely ‘won’ the main dish round, being quite satisfied with my guinea fowl. There was heaps of it – I think there must have been half the bird in my curry and I couldn’t finish it all (not a problem when you have a Stephen with you to take over). I liked my sauce – it was sweeter than I had imagined it would be, but the heat of the chillies tempered this. It was really Stephen’s dish that was the let down. He didn’t like the way the birds had been overcooked. He said the duck was alright but the pigeon and quail were far too dry and not at all tasty. The sauce seemed quite nice, if a bit thin. We had saffron rice and a chilli and rosemary naan bread which was nice, though neither particularly spicy nor particularly fragrant with rosemary.

My curry and some of Stephen's in the background
Desserts aren’t in general a strong point for Indian restaurants and this was no exception. Our choices were: kulfi, ice cream or sorbet. Stephen had a mango kulfi which was nice enough, and I had pistachio ice cream which was also nice enough – pretty creamy.

So a bit of a mixed bag but I feel I shouldn’t complain too much as we had it at such a bargainous price. The mains would have cost about £15 each alone, never mind everything else. It’s just a bit of a shame that they didn’t live up to the promise of the starters. 

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