A little bit of India in Exeter
Ganges Restaurant (Exeter)
Member Name: magenta23
Ganges Restaurant (Exeter)
Advantages: Excellent food, good sevice, great atmosphere
Disadvantages: A few small details not worthy of losing a whole star.
The restaurant is located on Fore Street, in Exeter city centre. It boasts that it's Exeter's longest established Indian Restaurant, opening it's doors in 1970.
Ganges is not a big place and I've walked down the street during the day and missed it completely! However, at night it's lit up, but subtly and manges to look sophisticated and not tacky. As you enter you are confronted with an impressively stocked bar with every spirit you could imagine all against a blue lit water effect backdrop. This theme continues along the rest of the restaurant with a wall of blue lit bubbles giving it a wow factor and adding great atmospheric lighting. The restaurant in a long thin space, with tables on either side and a walkway down the middle. I wasn't over impressed with the layout, but admit given the shape of the room, not sure what I could have done differently! The tables were simply laid out in white. Given the luxurious and modern feel, however when I was handed the menu book and confronted with boring printed pages in plastic wallets I was a little disappointed, maybe something more imaginative to match the rest.
The food is classed as 'fine indian dining,' so read upmarket curry house. While is has a few curry house favourites on there such as tikka, korma etc, I found there was a lot more on this menu that I'd never heard of and gave it good few reads before I made my decision! The menu is pretty extensive and it took a long time to choose. I saw a few dishes of other tables coming out the kitchen and the portions looked pretty big. We had the usual poppadums to nibble on while choosing but decided based on this the swerve the admittedly, tasty looking starters. One thing I have to say I was disappointed about was the lack of lime pickle on the chutney tray with our poddadums. As somewhat of an addict, it's the highlight for me of any curry evening.
The food took less time to arrive than we had to choose it. When it arrived I noticed the plates were a lot smaller than that of the other peoples food I'd seen whizzing past, however it filled me up without me feeling uncomfortable as a I usually do after a meal out, eating far more than I should. I had chosen the 'Raw Mango Fish Curry' which was much more Thai in flavours. I'm still none the wiser to what the 'fish' was but it was white flaky and meaty, so could be a number of different things but whatever, it was very tasty. The mango was sharp and sweet and the same time and the creamy sauce had just the right amount of spice and heat. To accompany I had lemon rice that was perfect. My dish was very good and the mango was unusual and very tasty, however it was similar to a number of many other thai dishes I've had before and was hoping for something a little more exciting. My boyfriend had a king prawn dish from the specials and we were both amazed at the size of the prawns. These things were bigger than I'd ever seen anywhere. Where did they find these monsters?! I had immediate food envy and know what I'll be ordering if we go back again! I had a chocolate pudding with dark chocolate sauce which made up for it's naughtiness in taste and I was informed the coffee was excellent.
We were served by a polite but very softly spoken waiter, and the gaggle of women chattering loudly on the next table didn't help with us being able to understand each other! However, all the staff in the restaurant were efficient, friendly and happy to help and you can't ask for more than that.
Prices were lower than I was expecting. Starters were £3- £5, the basic curries were £6-£8 and of course we plumped for the most expensive! The fish dishes are £13-15 but if you opt for king prawn I think you get more than value for money. For poppadums and pickles, four drinks, two mains coffee and dessert the bill came to just under £55. Maybe a little more than I'd usually pay for a curry but excellent value for the quality.
I visited Ganges on a busy January Saturday night with my boyfriend, we hadn't booked but decided to chance it that they could squeeze us in, and after a five minute wait we were in luck. The staff looked a little intimidated after a few minutes, as Michelin star chef Michael Caines came in to eat. High praise if that's their clientèle! We were served quickly and were not bothered more than we wished to be. We ate at a leisurely pace and were not hurried when we chatted over the remainder of our drinks when we finished. We were brought complimentary liqueurs which was a nice surprise and they were delicious. I had an excellent evening and would not hesitate to recommend this place to anyone. A real find.
Summary: A great little place I'll revisit...and have the prawns!