“ 5a Watling Street, Dordon, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 1SY, Tel: 01827 331 111. „
We have been to the Simla before and the food is normally very good but last night must have been an off night.
Despite the restaurant being only one third full we had to wait an hour for our starters then another hour for the main course. My wife's lamb dish turned out to be chicken and had to be replaced - which surprisingly only took five minutes considering how long we waited in the first place.
The food was tasty enough when we finally got it but unfortunately the effect was completely spoiled by the coffee as the cream was off and left little white bits floating in it.
When we paid the bill the waiter was apologetic and told us that he had mentioned the poor service to the manager but didn't offer to replace the coffee or even knock it off the bill so I don't think that we will be going back there again.
The other evening my partner and I went over to some friends of ours for dinner. Rather than them cook us anything they had decided to take us out for dinner. This came as a surprise as I had thought that we were going to have Chinese food and Id psyched myself up for Chicken Satays and stuff.
Off we went, us following in the car behind and pulled up at an Indian Restaurant called Simla which is situated in Dordon Tamworth, Staffordshire. With my love of Indian food I have tried a lot of Indian Restaurants with mixed results, so I was particularly keen to try another.
From the outside the restaurant is set high up from the car park and to me it resembled a Portacabin. When you get closer though this impression leaves you and you walk up the steps to the entrance. There is a veranda that runs the length of the front of the restaurant which is nicely gravelled with potted plants set at intervals.
Inside it is ultra modern being decorated in black and white. Linen is black and the table ware is white and very square. We were greeted and shown to a table by the window overlooking the veranda and car park. Although the restaurant is just off a main road which is very busy, you dont get this impression when in the restaurant itself and it feels like a little haven of peace and quiet.
The lighting is subtle and not intrusive just dim enough to provide a nice ambience but light enough so that you can see what youre eating. The chairs at the table are very comfortable being leather armchairs. I know this sounds odd and youre probably thinking How do you reach the table then? but the chairs are such that you are the perfect height for eating yet you can still touch the floor. Being under 5 foot this is a rarity for me as I usually end up with dangling feet or not being able to reach the table properly.
What also struck me is the way that the table is set out. Obviously ours was set for 4 people so was a larger table but when I checked out the smaller tables they were set up in the same way as ours. Just cutlery, starter plates and wine glasses meaning that the table was completely uncluttered. Tables are set far enough away so that you dont feel crowded in and you can hold a decent conversation without being overheard at the next table. Certainly you couldnt really hear others conversation; just a light hum of conversation. Music plays in the background but this is very muted so as not to interfere with conversation.
Anyway, onto the rest of the review. By now I was impressed especially as I had checked out the toilets and found them to be ultra clean. By the time Id got back to the table wine had been ordered so I cant comment on the wine list but my other half assures me this is extensive with something to suit everyones taste.
An Ice bucket was quickly fitted to the end of the table and our wine poured. The waiter also brought along with him water glasses and still water in a bottle so that we could pour our own.
We were then invited to order our meals. Skipping over the Pops as we werent really in the mood for these having scoffed a load before we came out whilst drinking our champagne and wine we went straight for starters.
Looking at the menu I was pleased to see that there was not a huge selection of them. Pakoras, Bhaja, Samosa etc all feature in several variations of lamb, veg, chicken etc along with Kebabs.
Onto the main courses and there are a couple of pages of these and are separated into Traditional dishes, Tandoori dishes etc. Again you could have any variation of these that you required and there were about 10 mains under each section. Sundries are clearly marked in their own section of the menu and include plain, saffron, pilau and basmati rice, aloo saag, Bombay potatoes and even chips. There is also an English selection of dishes such as Cajun Chicken and Steak so the restaurant includes something for everyone.
I chose Veggie Pakoras and Chicken Tikka Tandoori with Egg Fried Rice. Other dishes ordered were Chicken Pakoras, Chicken Tikka Masala, Sheesh Kebab, Aloo Saag and various rices.
Our Starters arrived about 20 minutes after ordering by which time we were on another bottle of wine. I love it when my partner drives as he doesnt drink so I get to take full advantage of the wine on offer. The presentation of the meal was exceptional. There were 3 pakoras on the oblong shaped plate with a small amount of side salad, raita dip and a very small amount of oil drizzled around the edge of the plate. Very simple, yet very effective presentation and made the meal all the more appetising. Looking at everyone elses plates confirmed that theirs was just as appetising as mine.
Tucking in oh yum. The Pakoras were just as they should have been with a slightly crumbly texture and lots of lightly spiced flavoursome vegetables with a crunchy outer coating. The Raita was cooling yet spicy, adding another nice touch. Moments later I had cleared my plate, totally ignoring others I had not paused for air and must have looked like I needed a shovel!
I neednt have worried though as the others had all done the same. We all looked at each other a bit sheepishly but poured more wine and had a bit of a laugh about it. 5 minutes later our mains arrived.
The chicken was set off to one side, again raita and salad were provided with the dish and the rice was in a circular upside down bowl shape on a side plate. The Kebabs looked exceptional with 3 of them being attractively arranged on the plate. I couldnt wait to attack my food so digging in I cut through the first chunk of chicken. The knife glided straight through and I always check the colour (been served too many undercooked chicken curries in my time not to) and was pleased to see it was completely white.
The taste and texture of the chicken was amazing never really had chicken tikka like it, not even my own! The chicken had obviously been marinated in the spice, tenderised and then slow cooked. It was lean and tender and had a slight melt on your tongue quality to it. Upon biting in your senses were infused with the spice that had cooked into the meat not hot spice but tasty, mouthwatering flavour. The rice was light and fluffy with enough egg chunks to satisfy my craving for Chinese that Id had before hand.
We lingered a while after dinner and were not rushed into having dessert or coffee, although we were offered the dessert menu we declined I was having to open the top button on my jeans as it was and they have Lycra in them!
We finished the wine and our hosts got the bill. Now this is the really great part there were 4 of us, we had starters, 3 bottles of wine, 3 bottles of water, lemonade, main courses, sundries and a side order and the bill was £95.
Starters are in the region of £3 - £4 each and mains in the region of £6 - £10 depending upon what you have. Rice is not overpriced either being about £1.50 - £3 for the most expensive. You could quite easily go out for a meal for 2 people on about £20 at this restaurant and this is not because they have skimped on quality because the food is exceptional.
The service is discreet, we were only bothered by the waiter for
A. Wine and food order
B. To pour wine
C. To serve food
D. Once to ask if everything was OK
E. Clear plates
F. Pay bill
Yet we knew that if we needed anything we only had to look up and catch their eye from where they were standing, ready to attend to anything you required and it would be done. Upon leaving we were thanked for our custom, doors held open and just that little bit extra which ensures that youll remember them and go back.
On the whole, my experience of this restaurant was extremely positive. Excellent food and service with the right ambience make for a perfect evening out. Ill definitely be going back here once my stomach has recovered from the gastro feast it has just received!
Information for you
From their website I gleaned that they have another restaurant in Market Bosworth called Simla Peppers. They also provide a take away service and have just started to provide a delivery service. They also cater for larger functions such as weddings and corporate events.
Simla 5a Watling Street, Dordon Tamworth, Staffs, B78 1SY
Tel 01827 331111
Simla Peppers Rear of 9/11 Main Street, Market Bosworth, Leics, CV9 0JN
Tel 01455 293311
Opening times are 5.30 11.30 7 days a week.