“ INDIAN. LONDON: 7 Bishopsgate Churchyard, EC2M 3TJ. Tel: +44 (0)20 7628 7888. BIRMINGHAM: 214 Broad Street, B15 1AY. Tel: +44 (0)121 6330366. GLASGOW: Pollokshaws Road. MANCHESTER: Dolefield, Off Bridge Street, M3 3EN. Tel: +44 (0)161 8317099. NOTTINGHAM: „
Loud dance music blaring from one corner and 50th birthday karoke from the other. Good food but really wasn't worth it. Left very unhappy.
The décor of Shimla Pinks has been variously described as "up-market" and "art deco" ... it is neither, to be honest, but it is noticeable that the proprietors of this small chain have paid some attention to the appearance of their restaurants. I'm just not sure whether (as the kind of "bright young thing" Shimla Pinks hope to attract, according to their website) I particularly want to dine in an over zealous bling fest of shiny materials and moodish lighting. Besides, it makes no difference how swanky the décor is when you see the manager bringing in a load of shopping from the cash and carry through the restaurant.
The menu is great - I'm not a connoisseur of Indian cuisine but like all fellow British countrymen I will dabble a bit and enjoyed the zingy and sophisticated flavours, but apart from the MFI-on-acid interior design, there isn't much to set this restaurant apart from others near-by. I generally choose Indian cuisine for those cold winter nights when I want comfort food served in an unsophisticated, timeless and informal environment... that is, after all, why curry is the national dish of Britain. Shimlas is decent food (at great prices if you go at lunchtime) served in an overworked package that is going to go out of style very quickly. My personal preference is to save a few quid and stick to the take out menu.
Shimla Pinks are a small nationwide chain of upmarket Indian restaurants found in the centres of most of the big cities in the UK. I have visited the one in Birmingham which is located mid way up Broad Street in a good location a couple of minutes walk from Brindley Place.
Throughout this review there will be a constant theme which could pretty much sum up my experience in Shimla Pinks and that was style over substance, this should not be seen as a totally negative statement as we had an enjoyable meal in a nice setting with really friendly service, the thing is though that I will remember Shimla Pinks more for the décor than I will the food which is a shame as memorable food is a priority for me especially when the meal is not the cheapest going.
The best example I can give is the fact that the day after visiting Shimla Pinks the main thing I spoke about was my visit to the toilet. Now before you have some George Michael inspired mental picture of me in a Birmingham city centre toilet the reason I was so impressed was that while going for a pee I was able to direct my jet straight at a small TV screen built into the urinal which was showing The Krays movie. In fact there were three small screens in the urinals for patrons to take aim at and the rest of the décor was pretty funky as well. This is all well and good but Im pretty sure it was not the main conversation piece that the owners hoped for.
The rest of the restaurant is really well set out and one of the things I did like was the impressive entrance which had a nice seating area near the bar and some stylish headless mannequins in Indian formal dress that formed a line leading into the main part of the restaurant. The eating area itself was a large open plan area all on the ground floor which makes access easy for those with a disability. The other feature I liked was that there was a range of alternative seating arrangements to cater for different group sizes and also some slightly more private circular booths which were great for groups of about eight.
The food itself was good without being spectacular. The starter dips were really nice and had a lot of flavour and the poppadoms were crisp. I especially liked the yoghurt dip which was very smooth and the mango chutney was very fruity with large chunks and a strong sweet taste. There was a large amount of choice on the menu which was very extensive and there is a range of cooking styles on offer so making a choice was not easy. In the end I opted for a dish that was made up of three different small portions, there were two lamb dishes (Koh-E Avadh and Lamb Jalfreezi) and one chicken (Tikka Massala) and while they were all very nice they lacked any real strong flavours and were a little on the bland side in that the flavours tended to merge into each other although the accompanying Kachaumber Raitha which is a yoghurt based dip was delightful. My dinning partner who had Chicken Saagwala also felt the same about their dish. The accompanying rice, naan bread and Aloo Gobi were very tasty and the whole meal was really well presented.
The meal was a little on the expensive side but then again given that it has recently had a million pound renovation I guess that they have some money to recoup, our meal including a couple of soft drinks and coffee came to just under £60 which I felt was a little pricey with the main courses around the £12 to £15 mark. Apparently one of the best deals is to attend when one of the buffets is available, the basic one starts at £9.95 and is on a Sunday only whilst others are available ranging from £19.95 right up to £44.95 for the Royal Banquet, certainly my partner has been to the one on the Sunday and said it was really good.
Although we did not partake I did sneak a look at the wine menu which was pretty good and actually quite reasonably priced given the location and they also had a pretty decent cocktail menu as well which suggests this would be a good location for a large group to party and enjoy the atmosphere.
The service was really good and very friendly, the waiter had already informed us that two staff in training would be serving us and he checked back during the evening to make sure everything was ok however to be honest if he had not told us that they were in training I would not have noticed. They were a bit enthusiastic at times and there was some duplication of effort being asked four times if our meal was satisfactory was a bit of over kill but much better than being in a place where you need a loud hailer to gain someone attention. Despite this we never felt rushed and the service was very prompt and efficient when it came to taking both our food and drinks order.
I guess the acid test is would I go back and the answer would be a reserved yes. It was a great atmosphere in the restaurant, stylish décor everywhere and great service. The only let down was that the food could have a little more flavour to it, I do not want my Indian food to burn a path on route to my stomach nor to I want to be tasting it for days afterwards bit if a dish has garlic or ginger in it I want to be able to know that from the taste and not just from the description in the menu. What is on offer is a good number of choices for vegetarians, easy access for those with disabilities and the chance to pee on Martin Kemp. What more could a diner ask for.
For more information check out the website http://www.shimlapinks.com/index.html which lists all of the locations and gives examples of he menu available.
Thanks for reading and rating my review.
Well, Shimla Pinks Glasgow - I don't know about the rest of the group - has certainly made an effort in the decor Art Nouveau and Jazzy of the place! You can't miss the place if you drive in the Shawlands area down Pollokshaws Road. From the outside it's all white with huge windows and long blinds. Same thing inside, white tone de rigueur! The place is definitely exquisite to look at and the service is outstanding...Yet, appearance is not enough... you came for great food after all! Indeed the food is not the best I would say, knowing that there are plenty of authentic Indian restaurants in the southside of Glasgow. I mean it's alright but I know several take aways which are far superior. As a conclusion, I'd say that if you want to experience Indian food in a romantic restaurant?! well, that might be the one to go for especially if you're hanging out in the southside!