“ Address: 19 Prince of Wales Rd / Norwich / NR1 1BD / England „
Having decided to randomly type "Norwich" into the dooyoo search function I found that the Prince of India was listed as an option to review but no one had yet reviewed it. What a coincidence that I ate there with my husband very recently! I actually sat not at the table closest in the photo but the one just behind it closer to the door. My husband had gone there somewhat regularly during his uni days but hadn't been in about two years, hence my never having been before either.
The Prince of India is located on Prince of Wales Rd in Norwich which doesn't exactly commend it to one! Prince of Wales is where the dance clubs of Norwich are located and can be an interesting spot in the later hours of Friday and Saturday night. However, in the evening its pavements are generally full of folks heading off for a meal of some sort all behaving in a very reasonable manner. I understand that on weekends the Prince of India is quite popular so we called ahead to check that we were safe to arrive at 7pm. This is quite early for them to really get going so there were in fact only three other couples there when we were eating. However, a party of upwards of a dozen people arrived around 8pm so things were picking up.
I just discovered that The Prince of India does in fact have a website (www.theprinceofindia.com) and has been established in Norwich since 1973. I'm not sure how much of the décor has in face been updated in that time. There is a small reception area and bar upon entering the premises. People who have ordered take away can wait quite comfortably in this area as can those waiting for their table to be ready. The restaurant itself is fairly dark with dark wood and furnishings. There is an Indian flavour to the décor without it being completely and totally over the top. Don't get me wrong, its pretty gaudy in areas, but for an Indian restaurant they've been fairly reserved.
We were waited upon by a series of gentlemen in white shirts and black trousers who all seemed to be in their 20s. When we were seated extra cutlery and side plates were quickly cleared out of our way and we were promptly presented with menus. Having declared that we did want papadums and randomly pulled the number four out of the air when asked how many we wanted (he wasn't good at suggesting how many would be reasonable) we also had to make fairly quick decisions about our drinks. In retrospect if we'd just asked him to give us more time I'm sure he would have but he seemed very keen to take our drinks order right then and there.
The menu can be found on their website and is very much a "quantity" menu. The several page menu was good at explaining what was in each dish as well as mentioning the region in India where the dish had originated. The average dish was around £6 or £7 pounds with naan, rice and sundries generally being less than £3. It all seemed very reasonably priced for the serving sizes. I enjoy all sorts of Indian food but wasn't feeling in an overly spicy mood so opted for the Chicken Tikka Massala which is a real favourite of mine. It seems my husband was in a similar mood as he chose the Chicken Pasanda which has a quite almond flavour to it. So neither of us can report on the spicer fair from this trip though my husband assures me that spice can be attained! Hubby loves peshwari naan so that was ordered as well as pilau rice.
The food came very quickly, though it may be slower when busier, I'm not sure. Our lovely toppings for papadums were whisked away and the metal warmer was put down and the tea lights lit to keep the food warm. My husband and I split the chicken dishes so I can comment on both. I feel that my Chicken Tikka won hands down but I think that's partially because the Chicken Pasanda with the peshwari naan just got too almondy for me!! The chicken was nice and tender in both dishes. Husband really likes lamb and says the lamb dishes there area also always good.
I enjoyed dinner thoroughly. It wasn't the best Indian food I had ever consumed in my entire life and I'm sure someone who is actually from India would be disappointed. However, it is certainly some of the best Indian I've had for the price! It is Indian food for westerners and that's what we know and love. We were quite full and the dessert menu just didn't tempt. It was very unimaginative and obviously mass produced.
It was at the end of the meal that the one complaint I wound up having came to light. The gentleman at the next table over ordered tea having finished his meal and requested Darjeeling tea. Now Indian restaurant or not you'd think anyone who'd lived in England for any time at all would at least recognise the tea. Not so the waiter who stared at the man as if he had two heads. The man eventually managed to get himself a pot of black tea of some sort. Without fully considering that exchange I asked my waiter whether or not they served chai tea. This didn't seem like a huge stretch as its chai tea for pete's sake. You can get it at starbucks and its Indian. Once again the two headed look appeared. Husband and I beat a hasty retreat at that point and simply asked for the bill. My impression was that the wait staff (one of whom had told the man next to me "I've never been to India!" when told that Darjeeling was very popular) were not highly knowledgeable and that one was best to simply pick from the menu and not attempt any substitutions or special dietary requests.
The host who was slightly older and had been so polite and hospitable when we arrived had been arranging free drinks for the party of 15 or so who had been arriving in dribs and drabs through out our meal. They were seated just before we left and so he very politely asked whether or not we would like to have a free drink in the bar before we left. We'd planned to have movie night with a bottle of wine at home so declined, but it was a particularly nice touch after all of the tea confusion.
Overall, a very reasonably priced, nice English style curry house. You can expect decent if not first class service and a clean, tidy restaurant that can cater to groups of diverse size. I would go back again when the craving strikes or perhaps send hubby to collect take away as it's really not a far walk from us!
Indian Curry House