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Good Indian food but not my first choice of restaurant
Hussains Indian Restaurant (Weston-super-Mare)
Member Name: zombieflesh
Hussains Indian Restaurant (Weston-super-Mare)
Advantages: Nice range of food, generally friendly and polite service
Disadvantages: Cramped seating areas, atmosphere
We often go out for family meals and my dad always insists on choosing Indian restaurants despite the fact that it's one of my least favourite cuisines. Hussains is located on Orchard Street in Weston-super-Mare and is right in the middle of town which makes it easy to get to. There is a fair bit of competition with many Indian restaurants close by to choose from, and Hussains make an attempt to retain repeat customers by providing money off vouchers with special offers. We have been here on several occasions and I have received similar service each time, which leads me to the decision that it is not a place I would personally choose to dine at, but I'm not exactly going to refuse a dinner invitation from my dad so this explains the repeat visits! From the outside it appears very small, and upon entering you can see that although the space is not very wide, it does goes back quite some way and there is also a function room available upstairs. The whole space appears more like a large hallway or corridor rather than a room. It has a simple, modern appearance with brightly coloured walls and a lovely water feature which is interesting to look at, and is a nice if somewhat futile attempt at creating a soothing atmosphere considering that it is usually very busy and crowded in here. There is a very small bar area just inside the door where you can wait for your group to gather before being seated. There is not much room and unfortunately this theme continues when you reach the seating area. The tables are packed into the space so that each table section is quite compact and there is not much room to manoeuvre. It's quite common to hear every word of conversation being spoken by the people seated at your neighbouring tables and this can be distracting as well as annoying.
I have a major dislike of strong spicy food so this means my menu options are immediately limited when eating at an Indian restaurant. I have a few old favourites that I usually stick to as I know that they're mild enough for me to enjoy and I won't get any nasty surprises. We always start the meal by choosing poppadoms (60p each) and these are accompanied by a selection of sauces (£1.00 per person). I love the mango chutney which is smooth and sweet, and the raita which is a traditional yoghurt and mint dip with a lovely refreshing flavour. I moved on from my standard chicken tikka after previously trying Hussains' passanda dishes which were delicious, and on my latest visit I spotted a new dish on the "Exotic" section of the menu which I couldn't resist trying. For my main I ordered chicken meetha (£8.50) which is made of chicken pieces with a creamy sauce containing almonds, brandy, palm sugar and honey. Wow! It was well worth the long wait for it to be served and the sauce tasted incredible. There was not much chicken with the sauce and I felt like the excessive amount of sauce slightly threw the dish off balance as I had chosen not to have any rice to accompany this, and it probably would have worked better with some rice to go with the rest of the sauce. The sauce itself did have a wonderful flavour and really appealed to my sweet tooth. It was nice to find a new mild curry dish which I could enjoy and I would certainly order this again. Instead of rice I ordered a peshwari naan bread (£2.45) and vegetable bhajee (£3.15) to go with my main, and a pint of Carling (classy, I know) to wash it all down. The naan bread was stuffed with coconut and almond, which I found to be a little on the sickly side and I couldn't finish it. Aside from the sweet flavour the dough was light and fresh and I will know for next time to choose a different variety with a more savoury flavour. The vegetable bhajee was lovely and contained a nice mix of vegetables including aubergines, cauliflower and onion among others, with a lightly spiced and fresh minty flavouring. Everything was cooked well and it was served piping hot, as well as being placed on heated stands placed on the table to keep everything warm as we worked our way through the dishes. Passing on dessert I had a cup of tea to finish with, which was presented really nicely with a bowl of sugar and jar of creamy milk, and we were given complimentary chocolates as well as a small plate of strawberry slices with the bill.
Based on my previous experiences here I have felt let down not by the food itself, but by the dining experience. The main negative other than the general ambience and crowded spaces was always the poor timing of the service. When I'm out having a meal I like to take my time to enjoy the food and the company. The staff here seem in no hurry to bring the food out to you and I have had to wait for what I think to be an unreasonably long time on some occasions; the clock stretching up to a full hour before receiving our main course. Of course, this could well be down to the restaurants apparent popularity - although I have usually visited on weekday evenings the place is always full of customers and they must have a lot of work to do to prepare everyone's food, and of course you have to expect some delay if there are a large number of people to cater for. This wouldn't be so bad if they then allowed you a nice leisurely amount of time to eat and enjoy your meal, but at this stage once the food has been served the staff seemed to be hovering and I would get the feeling that I am being rushed to finish my food quickly and get out of there which can ruin the whole experience in my opinion. I can't complain about the service overall as generally everyone is very polite, and we always get a warm welcome and even a free post-dinner drink from Mr Hussain himself, who is the owner of the establishment, however I wish they could figure out a more efficient way of serving to balance the timing better and provide the food more quickly so that I wouldn't then feel so rushed after its been brought out.
There's nothing at all wrong with the food, and if you like Indian cuisine then Hussains provides delicious food with a wide range of dishes at a standard sort of price. I personally wouldn't choose to recommend it though, as the busy and crowded seating areas put me off and although the staff are polite I don't think the service is entirely up to scratch. There's certainly nothing special enough to make me want to come here of my own choosing and there are other Indian restaurants in Weston that I would rank ahead of Hussains in terms of ambience and atmosphere. I think if I did want to eat with Hussains I'd much rather order my food to takeaway and enjoy it in the comfort of my own home.
Summary: Good Indian food but not my first choice of restaurant