“ Address: Mansfield Road / Derby / DE21 4AW / Tel: 01332 292575 „
On Saturday my husband and I were in Derby and were given a great tip for dinner by fellow review writer catsholiday who recommended ?A Slice of India'' on Mansfield Road. I was warned that it wouldn''t look like a restaurant, that it had previously been a nightclub (although I'd say it looks rather more like a carpet warehouse), but that it was worth ignoring the outwardly unusual appearance because the food would be good.
We arrived about half past seven, parked up in the enormous car park behind, and headed in, passing the tuk tuk parked in the entrance area for decoration and for kids to play in. The lady on reception said she would take us to our table, find us a waitress and - since it was our first time - she'd do the tour and explain everything. I was quite impressed by this approach. Part of me thought "Hey, it's an all you can eat buffet, not the Louvre", but actually it was very well done. She explained the veg/non-veg layout, what special foods could be cooked to order at the dosa station, the golgappa point, the Chinese wok-area, and even told us that there was a kids area with scampi and chips and pizza for the little ones. She reassured us if there was anything we didn't understand, we could just ask and the chefs will explain. This is a place that wants you to enjoy the diversity of the food on offer and not be intimidated into hunting down the chicken tikka masala and pizzas.
I wasn''t overly hungry and we probably didn't have the appetite to take full advantage of A Slice of India but it was clear that a lot of the customers were going to install themselves at their tables and eat all night. There were - sorry if this sounds rude - some seriously enormous people who looked like they could cut into the restaurant's profits that evening.
I started with a small plate of vegetarian starters and a bit of Amritsari fish which packed a punch, especially with a big dollop of coriander and chilli chutney. For main courses, I skipped all the complicated stuff and just went for rice and a selection of the vegetarian curries. I said I wouldn't have pudding but when I went to have a look, I was transported back to India by the sight of rasmallai, carrot halwa and Indian sweets. I had the tiniest bit possible of each and loved them all.
At GBP14.50 per person on a Saturday night, it's not the cheapest of buffets but it's probably the best I've seen in this country. We drank diet Pepsis which came with unlimited refills which made them good value. For the two of us it was less than GBP35 and we left stuffed to the gills and very happy.
Note. this is adapted from a post I wrote a few days ago for Bubblews under another user name.
Slice of India
Telephone: 01332 292575
Last night my husband and I enjoyed a very good meal courtesy of yet another Groupon voucher I purchased. I paid £11 for two people for an 'All You Can Eat Indian Buffet' which normally would cost £27 for two. Now having enjoyed the deal I would happily go back and pay the normal cost which would be great value at £13.50 a head but for £6.50 a head which is what we paid we got extraordinary value.
Finding the restaurant:
We had no idea where this restaurant was until we looked it up and followed our nose. It turns out that it is right next to 'Roller World' and is in the building that was formerly a nightclub for those familiar with the area. Outside it doesn't really look that amazing and as you go round the back the car park is big and not that welcoming. We walked back round to the front and as we entered the building we both said 'Wow'.
Firstly there was a real authentic Indian tuktuk just on the left as you entered the restaurant painted with the restaurant's name which I thought was a very different idea.
Secondly the size of the place was mind blowing for a restaurant. It was huge and just to the right was the welcome desk. We were greeted with a warm friendly smile despite our Groupon voucher and we were asked to add our name and email address to their mailing list. They were obviously using Groupon as advertising as they had only been open a few weeks and when I looked on Groupon they had sold 999 deals and they were allowing 100 Groupon deals per day .
After being welcomed we were taken past a couple of seating areas with sofas and a huge bar to our table. The tables were various sizes and we had a small one for just the two of us. I notice that over to the left of us were a few tables with banquette seats. They had broken the vastness of the building up a little with some rattan screens and the tables were also in blocks tone side or the other of the restaurant.
The kitchens were open and in the centre of the buffet area. There were plenty of waiting staff, I think I counted at least twelve and they were very attentive without being in your face and bothering you. We were welcomed by our waitress who asked if we had been before and if we would like to be shown where everything was or would we prefer to just go and have a good explore by ourselves. We decided we could probably manage to find things and so then we ordered our drinks which came while we were exploring the food options.
Food Glorious Food:
We found the starter were to the left but initially made our way to the fresh dhosas. If you have never tried a dhosa then you are missing a true culinary treat. These lovely little crispy balls ( a bit like an egg shell) have a hole poked in them then they are filled with something very yummy and then either a spicy or a 'sweet' spicy sauce fills the hollow. You have to put the entire thing in your mouth as it is full of liquid. As you crunch your mouth is filled with the most amazing sensations of taste and texture, hot spicy and just so yummy. We were given one each and we collected some other tasty tip bits like mini samosas, tiny spring rolls, chilli paneer and poppadoms with fresh chutneys. I have to confess that I did go back for two more dhosa!
I also sampled the rice pancakes which were freshly made in front of me. You ate these with a spicy lentil soup and fresh chutneys. This was also something I had never tried before and was really tasty, spicy and went really well with the hottish lentil soup.
Despite the fact that this was a buffet the food was so fresh and was constantly being replenished. I can't even begin to list all the dishes available for the main course. There must have been twenty to thirty different dishes to choose from. I do remember that there was steamed basmati rice and pilau rice, biryani chicken, chicken marsala, two different dhals, a vegetable curry and a vegetable in black pepper, a wonderful Goan prawn curry, lamb rogan josh and that is about all I can recall. I tried several and sometimes had only one prawn as I was determined to try as many as possible. Everything tasted superb and each was really different from the next. I really cannot complain about a single one that I tried and I wish that I had been able to eat more.
Apart from all these tasty dishes there was an Indian street stall section with some very interesting looking biscuits and other bits but by the time I found these I was so full I really couldn't fit any more in.
Next to this stall was an Asian stir fry 'stall' with noodles, fresh vegetables and some meat. You chose what you fancied and this was cooked freshly for you. Sorry but even in the interests of reviewing I really could not manage to eat any more.
Finally there was also a salad section and a grill section just next to the dessert section . My husband managed to force a kheer down but I decided to avoid the wonderful gulab jamon and barfi in favour of a simple vanilla ice cream which came from an ice cream machine like a Mr Whippy. You could add whatever you fancied from chocolate covered peanuts, marshmallows, smarties or other bits and a choice of sauces. I chose to eat mine without garnishes as I truly was so full but just fancied something fresh and sweet. I could have chosen from various cakes or even from the healthier fruit selection too but shamefully I opted for the vanilla ice cream.
What did we think?
Well at the price we paid £11 for both of us plus £7 for a white wine spitzer and a large Kingfisher beer we were thrilled. The food was really freshly cooked and tasted great. Because it was a buffet you didn't get the presentation that you do with fine dining but the food was just as tasty. You just had to present it yourself on your plate. Each time you finished plate of food it was cleared away and fresh cutlery was brought to the table. As I said before the service was very efficient and friendly but despite the fact that they were around the waiting staff were not hovering and bothering you with constant questions. They all smiled as you passed them going to and fro and the chefs were chatty too and asked if you were enjoying the food.
The restaurant is all on the ground floor so would be wheel chair accessible. There were several children in the restaurant so that obviously is not a problem and we were not bothered by the children at all. It was also nice to see that there were quite a number of families of India or Pakistani background who were eating there so the food must have been pretty authentic as my Indian and Pakistani friends often tell me that some of the local restaurants are not 'authentic'.
On the wall over to the right there was a film playing with Indian dance music so some sort of Bollywood film I would think. The music that was playing was not Indian, just normal poppy sort of stuff, nothing special. The restaurant was quite busy and considering how huge it was it had a nice buzzing atmosphere about it.
Would we go back?
A resounding, yes. The food was fantastic and the restaurant was clean and the staff were lovely. We felt well looked after and so very full when we left. I am afraid I didn't find the toilets but as it was all on the ground floor I imagine they were also on the same floor but I can't really say.
If you ever in Derby and want a really good value tasty Indian meal then this is the place to go.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under the same user name.