“ 12 Abbey Green, Nuneaton, Warwickshire,CV11 5DR. Tel: 02476 350515 „
For my birthday my Step-Father booked a table at the restaurant he took my Mother to for their first date just over 5 years ago. We've been there as a 'family' a few times and I love it here so to have a table here I was really excited about!
We all love Indian food in my little family and I'm terrible with a menu and I do like lots of choice and a good thing with the Agra palace is that it sure does have that and what is more is that if your a Vegetarian they can make almost anything up Vegetarian that you want! Me, I like Veggie options from time to time so it's great for me!
12 Abbey Green
M6 Junction 3, A444 to Nuneaton Town Centre. From Roanne Ringway follow signs for Atherstone/Coleshill which will bring you to Corporation Street. Take the first left to Abbey Green.
A47/M69/A5 to Nuneaton Town Centre, then follow directions as above.
The restaurant is situated in like a shop unit and is all higgldy piggldy with steps up here and down there inside with lots of open tables but sort of booths with leather seating areas to the sides of it. What is nice is that although there are little steps etc there is a ramp in the restaurant as well so if you've had a drink or in a wheelchair you can still get about with ease (apart from the fact the place is small and a bit crammed in). There is a nice extensive bar as well with lots of wines etc and as you walk into the restaurant there is a small seating area with flowers and Bombay mix there and the decoration of this place gives it a really nice contemporary feel and it really is classy looking.
So you have light lilac and turquoise walls with lovely pictures on there of flowers and the like, like I say there are leather benches to the side (for larger parties) (about 8 of them) and then dark brown leather high backed chairs around dark tables in a variety of sizes and all the tables are made up with flowers, glasses and cutlery as you are led to them. The flooring is light laminate and I only point this out because the restaurant is immaculately clean, fresh and sparkling and has a really bright feel to it and has lots of lighting in it that sort of shines blueish over the place.
Now one of the drawbacks here are there are limited window seats (I think about two tables) and they're to the the front of the restaurant. My Step-Father now always books to get one of those tables because one night after a trip to the cinema my parents decided to go have a curry there. Now my parents are large people and the restaurant was rather busy and they got plonked in the middle of the restaurant and were so crammed in they complained they couldn't breath as the chairs were shoved in too close to the table. They made their excuses and left and went somewhere else a bit gutted and feeling rotten about themselves so that is a drawback of this place.... that you have to watch where your seated and I personally advise that if your carrying a bit of weight or like me your tall and need leg room to ask for a booth or window seat. Booking isn't always necessary, particularly in the week but this is a popular restaurant that has won awards at the Coventry & Warwickshire Food And Drinks Awards (2008: Joint Winner 2007: Highly Commended 2006: Highly Commended 2005: Winner 2004: Highly Commended) and so don't just assume it won't be busy type of thing and it's best to be safe rather than sorry!
So when you walk in you get greeted by one of the several waiters all looking very smart in black suits and your led to your table. You are presented with very large leather bound menus and left for quite a while till they come back and take your order. These guys know their food and any questions are gleefully answered. These guys are proud of their work here. We were asked if we wanted drinks and so ordered some and then left alone to choose in peace what we wanted to eat to which me and my Mum were left talking about the quiet music in the background with a lovely classical feel wondering why it wasn't more authentic music (not a complaint it was very soothing). I soon worked out why though, it really is a relaxing place and creates a nice atmosphere.
The menu like I say is very extensive indeed. Lots of starters, mains (including lots of Vegetarian dishes that I mentioned earlier), lots of side dishes, rices and breads and we were pretty quick at ordering what we wanted. We always have a main each and then between the three of us we have two rices and a nan then my Step-Dad has a main meal of Bombay potato and about 6 poppadom's to go with his meal. Mum has a chicken dish so she opted for chicken tikka balti, I had the noratan special (a mix of chicken and lamb tikka with king prawns in a rich sauce and my Step-Dad had tandoori king prawns with a seperate madras sauce. They had mushroom fried rice between them and I had pesharwi rice and then me and Mum shared a cheese and onion nan.
However first off we had a couple of poppadoms each which were served almost as soon as we requested them. Large, golden and slightly salted they were flaky and melt in your mouth but strong enough to deal with mint yogurt, mango chutney and onion salad (of that my Step-Dad requested more and out came a huge dish so we were happy lol) and we thought these were great and we were given plenty of time to consume them. After that out came our main meal and we were so looking forward to it. It all came out on a wooden trolley, there were plenty of waiters serving us and heating stuff up etc. The only thing that didn't go down well was that my Step-Dad ordered king prawns of course and it came out with salad. As he was tipping a sauce over it he forgot to say he didn't want salad on his plate so told the waiter he wanted it off the plate. There was a bit of eye rolling there and I didn't get why really. It wasn't artistic, just a bit of chopped salad! They did remove it but I did feel a little uncomfortable after that incident if I'm honest.
Mum's meal was served in a balti dish and she complained to us about it. My Mum isn't a hot and spicy lover really but even she felt her meal (being balti) was far too mild compared to what she's used to. She felt it was cooked well enough and interesting in flavours but she wasn't delighted with it at all. Step-Dad loved his King prawns as he always does there and his madras sauce was hot and although he only had 4 prawns (they were huge things though lol) he thoroughly enjoyed them. My Noratan special, again was interesting enough though they are not overly generous on portion size here it was cooked well but again lacked kick and on the menu it did say medium spiced and I found this not to be the case and once again was really mild. The Bombay potatoes and rices were ok but again not alot of either really and the nan...well I was gutted with that!
I'm not a cheesy nan fan, but mum is so I shut up and put up with her choice as we share. As it came to the table she pulled in half and lobbed me my share. Half was cheesy with gooey, melted cheese and lots of what I assume was ghee splattered over the top. The half I got had none on and was dry as a bone and not one bit light and fluffy. I wasn't impressed at all and didn't think it was big enough in size either. If we're going to nit pick as well the rices were just a small round ice cream tub size. You know the individual pots you can get? Well that's a portion here and when it came out they tipped it out of said pots which made me think it was microwaved. Saying that, the rices were hotter in temperature than anything else!
During our meal we were asked if we were ok etc and really looking back I should have said no the food is a bit bland and not very hot but at the end of the day it wasn't me paying for the meal, and the person that was was thoroughly enjoying his! Also if I'd of said anything he would have took it so personally so I kept stum. It isn't that the food was bad or awful its just if you've eaten here before you expect better and I have had the noratan special before and it really lacked something.
The clutter was cleared away straight away and we were offered coffees and or/desserts to which we declined and when it came to paying you can pay by cash or credit card (you can't pay by cheque here any longer) and for the food mentioned we consumed we paid just under £60.00. Ordinarily I wouldn't flinch at that sort of price at an establishment such as this but on this occasion I did feel it was too much and the place didn't offer value for money at all.
Also when I got home and looked on their website I noticed that on a Tuesday and Wednesday night between between 6pm till 9.30pm there is always a buy one get one free on main meals and we were there on a Wednesday and between these times and no one told us about this offer. I felt that was a bit off considering that when my Step-Dad called to book the table he told them the three of us was there for a birthday and not only were we not tipped off about that they did no acknowledgment for my birthday at all. I'm not complaining about that.... I blush easily and I don't like fusses but if i was taking someone there for an occasion I wouldn't be too pleased at all.
The service was good enough apart from the salad incident and that when my Step-Dad asked for a finger bowl as he'd been peeling prawns it took ages to arrive, the place was clean, the toilets smelt though as soon as you approached them though and the ladies was so small I couldn't get in or out but they worked ok. I couldn't see a disabled loo so if you need to know if they have one or not I suggest you check on that first.
Children are allowed in this restaurant and whilst we dined there there was a family in there with kids but do be aware this is quite a classy joint and I don't think kids running around or kicking off would allowed at all and I'm sure you'd be asked to leave.
All In All:
This is all about the appearance of this restaurant and it is a nice, bistro type place and lots of first dates happen here! I know I've seen and I've had a couple of excellent meals here in the past and have fully understood why they have won awards. However this place really did fail to excite me this time and me, well I won't be going there again for the prices it costs! If you like your food mild and lukewarm and your skinny enough to fit into the seating areas...why not lol.
There is free parking to the front of the restaurant as well I feel that I should mention and there isn't a smoking area so your subjected to hanging about on a bit of a street corner if your wanting to indulge! Not good!