“ Monty's Tandoori Restaurant / 1 The Mall / Ealing Broadway / London / W5 2PJ / Tel. 08713320416. „
I've been eating at Monty's in Ealing Broadway for nearly 20 years - it's my favourite restaurant. In the past I would say that I used to eat there once a week, now it's more like once a month or less (mostly due to the fact that I'm economising in general). It's my restaurant of choice and I've taken many friends, relatives and colleagues over the years and to date, I've never regretted introducing anyone to this branch of Monty's.
A HISTORY LESSON
There are 4 separate Monty's restaurants in the Ealing area. One is in The Mall in the Broadway (the one I'm reviewing), there's on in High Street, next to the shopping centre, one in South Ealing, and one in West Ealing (Northfields). I've dined in all bar the South Ealing branch and the branch I'm reviewing is for me the best dining experience. Originally Monty's in Ealing Broadway was very popular but the management decided to go their separate ways but all agreed to use the restaurant name Monty's and so the other branches in the locality were opened.
I used to find it rather bizarre when I read the menu in The Mall branch and saw "We are the only Monty's" and think "But hang on I've seen 3 other branches around here!" I think they've dropped that statement from the menu now.
This branch though is the "original" branch of Monty's, i.e. where the restaurant was first opened.
The owner of Monty's is a respected local businessman, Mahanta Shrestha, (also known as Monty - that's where they got their name from) and he is often seen in the restaurant greeting customers and even serving customers at very busy periods. I always get a "Hi, how are you?" when I see him and his staff seem to genuinely like him.
Monty's is situated in the heart of Ealing - just a minute's walk from the busy Ealing Broadway station and within spitting distance of several of Ealing's most popular bars and nightclubs, such as Town House, North Star, Chandlers, All Bar One, (bars/pubs) Barracuda, The Priory and Red Rooms (nightclubs).
There are tables downstairs (ground level) and also upstairs - the upstairs area has only been available to diners in the last few years after the branch had a massive refurbishment.
The restaurant has a capacity of about 120 diners. The only complaint I would have about this restaurant is that people queuing for a table or coming in to collect a takeaway order have to wait by the bar in the middle of the restaurant which is quite inconvenient for staff passing by with food for tables or for other diners going to or from the toilets.
WHO ON EARTH DINES THERE?
Monty's is popular with couples and groups. I've often seen lone diners there too. Many locals order takeaways too and as far as I'm aware no one has to wait long once they've phoned their order in. When I've seen people coming in to collect takeaways, they're literally in and out within minutes including paying for their food. I've also been to Monty's on several occasions with my colleagues from work for a treat after a hard week or after a long meeting. We've also ordered lunch from there for a meeting at the office and advised what time we'd be in to collect and the food was ready and waiting and there were no errors in the order when we got it back to the office. This is very important to myself (and my colleagues) as we have people with allergies and specific vegetarian and dietary requirements.
As with any other "curry house" you also sometimes get your share of lager louts in here, shouting orders at the top of their voice, ordering 10 pints of lager (or bottles of Cobra) and the hottest dishes on the menu and pretending not to cry when their chicken vindaloo (that they demand is made "extra hot 'cos I can handle it") burns the lining of the roof of their mouths! It does amuse me to think that the tonight's vindaloo will mean tomorrow's "in the loo" all day! The staff always deal with this particular type of clientele as politely and as efficiently as with any other set of diners. I am pleased to say though that this is a complete rarity as there are larger restaurants nearby such as The Clay Oven who have their music louder which seems to attract the more drunken diners later into the evenings.
WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD?
No complaints from me here. The menu is reasonably priced and they are very happy to adjust their spices according to your request. Being an Indian myself I often ask for the food to be spiced up slightly more than the standard menu offers and it's never too much trouble.
The food is a mixture of some of the finest dishes from India and Nepal. Fresh ingredients are used and new menu items are added as and when they become available. I've always found the quality of the food to be exemplary - why else would I have been going back there for the last 20 years?
For an idea of the food prices, I thought I'd give you a sample of the prices charged for various dishes to whet your appetite:
~*~ STARTERS ~*~
Onion Bhaji £2.35 (vegetarian)
Aloo Chaat £2.95 (vegetarian)
Chicken Tikka £3.45
Ghurka Grill £5.75 (Nepalese style grilled lamp chops served sizzling)
Tandoori Subji £3.85 (vegetarian)
~*~ TANDOORI DISHES ~*~
Tandoori Mixed Grill £10.15
Sheek Kabab £6.75
Tandoori King Prawns £12.45
~*~ OTHER SPECIALITY DISHES ~*~
Naram Chara £8.85 (Nepalese chicken curry)
Haans Ko Masu £7.75 (Nepalese style duck)
Nepalese Meat Massala £7.85
Moglai Chicken/Meat £6.55 (a mild meat dish)
Tandoori King Prawn £12.85
~*~ REGULAR DISHES ~*~
Meat Madras £5.85 (hot)
Prawn Vindaloo £6.65 (very hot)
Mixed Vegetable Curry £3.75 (medium)
Sag Panir £3.95 (spinach & cheese)
Vegetable Masala £4.55 (dry fried dish)
Mushroom Biriani £6.95
~*~ SUNDRIES ~*~
Plain Naan £2.15
Keema Naan £2.65 (naan with minced lamb)
Special Fried Rice £3.85
Boiled Rice £2.05
I won't give you any more prices in case your mouth is watering too much and you start munching on your keyboard!
Unlike many other Indian restaurants I've dined in over the years, Monty's has very subtle music playing in the background - Indian instrumental music which is pleasant and soothing and in no way does it intrude on your conversation with your dining companion(s).
The waiters are not on your back as soon as you've finished eating to whip your barely finished food plates away to hurry you along - even if there are people queuing to be seated (I've noticed this often in other busy restaurants locally). I also like the fact that the waiters have a lot of discretion - if a couple is deep in conversation, they won't be interrupted with a "May I take your order please?" or "Can I bring you the dessert menu?" It's also never an issue to get an available waiter's attention. I've often been frustrated at other restaurants when trying to catch a waiter's eye to ask for a glass of water or another drink or to request the bill.
In all the years I've dined there I've never had cause for complaint. I know the staff must be looked after really well by management because there are waiters there that have been taking my food order for many years. If they weren't happy in their jobs, they would have moved on many years ago. You are always greeted with a genuine smile and they are very accommodating, if you ask to be seated at the rear of the restaurant or by the front windows, wherever - nothing is too much trouble for them. The staff also are very happy to explain dishes on the menu if you wish for further clarification on how something is prepared, if it contains nuts, eggs, etc.
I always leave a tip for the staff - and I always make sure it's in cash. As with most Indian restaurants leaving a tip on a credit card or cheque means the money goes to the owner. I leave tips when I get a good service and the service is provided by the waiting staff so the tips should go to them.
Monty's do not include a service charge in their bills (although the service is so good you'll WANT to leave a tip) and VAT is included on all food on the menu.
It's also important for me to include in this section that I've never had cause to frown about dirty tablecloths or stained plates. The toilets are kept much cleaner than most restaurants I've dined in, except there's only 1 ladies toilet downstairs so there can be a bit of a queue at busy times! Sorry I've not checked the gents toilets, so can't comment on that for you chaps
Some of the awards Monty's has received include: Good Curry Guide Top 100,
Ealing Responsible Award 1999 and Time Out Eating & Drinking Guide award 1996.
Overall I'd rate Monty's a high 9 out of 10. It loses 1 mark as it's slightly annoying that diners are made to queue in what is the middle of the ground floor restaurant whilst waiting for a table or collecting their takeaways. On the other hand, it goes to show what a popular restaurant it is, that people will wait around to be seated in a locality where restaurants are scattered literally every few doors away.
They're open Monday to Friday from noon till 2.45 p.m. and then from 6 p.m. to midnight and noon till 5.00 p.m. and 6.00 - 11.00 p.m. on Sundays. They do a nice buffet lunch on Sundays for £8.50 from 12.00 - 5.00 p.m.
I'd also point out that Monty's is wheelchair friendly and family friendly too, although I've not noticed a baby changing room anywhere.
Montys Tandoori Restaurant Nepalese Cuisine
1 The Mall
Tel: 020 8567 8122
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2006
Dined at Monty's again a few nights ago with some ex colleagues who are now my friends! We were having a reunion as several of us have moved onto new challenges in recent months and we quite missed working with each other.
We had decided to meet for a few drinks in Ealing before going to eat and my pals insisted that I choose the venue. Well, of course, I chose Monty's and just had to update this review to say, the service is still as good as ever, for a busy Friday night, we did not have to chase the waiter's up to bring us our drinks or jugs of water (of which we had several) and the food was delivered piping hot and delicious to our tables perfeclty timed. The staff saw we were having in depth conversations and didn't butt in to ask if we were ready to order, just stood by discreetly waiting for the person speaking to finish. This is what I call excellent customer service and I'm only too happy to again say what a perfect dining experience it is for me!
Food Type: Indian. Nearest Transport: Ealing Broadway Tube.