Newest Review: ... are made of that horrible plastic stuff, the stuff that's quite soft but has that annoying grain through it. The buffet itself is at the... more
This is the only palace I'll be in on the 29th April!
Taj Palace Restaurant and Banqueting Hall (Oldham)
Member Name: Emma1973
Taj Palace Restaurant and Banqueting Hall (Oldham)
Advantages: Authentic tasty foods, excellent service
Disadvantages: Price is a little on the high side
The buffet restaurants were once dominated by the Chinese food industry, but lately there been a rise in Indian restaurants cashing in.
And we're watching the pennies like everyone hence we quite often visit a buffet and that's why we are at the Taj Palace which we have visited before.
Finding it's a bit difficult though, a tip, go to where the SatNav tells you to go then look for the Mecca Bingo and its right next door, it actually shares a car park with Mecca Bingo.
The place itself looks very large from the outside, well it does describe itself as a banqueting hall rather than a local Indian restaurant.
Theres a large lobby, very chicly decorated in greens and cream with several sofas. One side leads to the buffet hall which we haven't been to as its mainly used for weddings, birthdays, etc. The other to the restaurant, there is what appears to be a small bar, on our first visit this seemed to be mainly decorative as it was a 'dry' restaurant, but that's changed with spirits, wines and beers available. A decision to try and bring in some more Non-Muslim trade perhaps? I should mention that this restaurant is 100% Halal.
It is quite lovely and modern in the restaurant, great big high ceilings give a real sense of space, but lowered lighting gives a sense of intimacy without being too dim. Modern and extremely comfortable seats are at the tables, the really high backed ones where you can really lean back and relax. The obligatory single coronation in a little pot has been replaced by a large twisty vase with a glass flower in it, of course its not glass, its plastic!
My only complaint would be that the tablecloths are made of that horrible plastic stuff, the stuff that's quite soft but has that annoying grain through it.
The buffet itself is at the end of the restaurant next to the open kitchen where they cook some starters fresh naan, poppadums, etc.
The food is in large silver urns laid out along tables. It's the traditional method of grab a plate and get stuck in.
Firstly, as in all Indian restaurants it has to be Poppadums, piles of them in a heated container they were crispy and perfect. The chutneys are kept in the salad bar where there's also onions and coleslaw but also pasta salads, beans salads, etc. What I would like to see is some very small bowls, or containers like they use in the restaurants to put the chutneys in. In one bowl it just turns into a big mess and I hate using the big bowls to put a small amount in.
Theres a large range of starters, I heartily recommend the BBQ chicken, perfectly crispy onion bhajis and crispy fish pieces. Theres also many different types of kebabs and chicken pakora amongst others.
They also do the most fantastic lamb chops I've ever tasted and I'd go there for these alone. They are crusted in a mixture of spices and dry-cooked until the meat falls off the bone.
To accompany the main dishes they have white rice, yellow rice and pilau rice, I'm informed the pilau rice was suitably spicy! Theres always at least 5 main dishes, last nights were Lamb Fillet Curry, Korma, Madras, Rogan Josh, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Curry and a House Special Curry, as well as vegetarian dishes and vegetable side orders. There was also bowls of spices laid out in case you wanted to add a bit extra to anything.
All the dishes looked lovely, there were no pools of oil on top and plenty of meat. I was assured the House Special was similar to a Korma with more spices but still mild, and the Lamb Fillet Curry was medium spiced.
Round the wrong way I think! The House Special was a slow burner, but still lovely, packed with chicken and creamy. My Lamb Fillet Curry was a triumph though, a rich thick tomato sauce, not too spicy, the lamb was so tender you could cut it with the side of a fork.
My partner had his usual pile of Lamb Madras which he described as lovely as always, not too greasy and packed with meat. And very spicy judging by the amount of water he drank.
Unfortunately we didn't try any others that evening, but I can assure you that every time we've been its been excellent. My son particularly recommends the Chicken Korma.
For some strange reason they have started doing some 'Oriental' dishes, the stir fried rice and noodles did look delicious, but if I wanted those I would have gone to a Chinese buffet. I suppose it does placate those people who've been dragged along but don't particularly like Indian food. At the urging of the manager I did try the Sweet and Sour Chicken, it was nice but had too much of a vinegary aftertaste.
A word of warning though, you may find the dishes more spicy than you would find in most Indian restaurants. In my opinion this is because most restaurants cater for 'Western' tastes and make it less spicy. The Taj Palace caters for mostly Asian weddings and banquets, indeed the majority of the diners are Asian hence the food is more authentic and spicy. This is far from a criticism, rather more a great deal of praise!
Drinks wise they are reasonable, they have lemonade, coke, ribena, orange cordial and various juices. All of these are £1.50 a pint, but you can buy a jug for £4.00. They are extremely generous with the squashes and juices, I cant comment on the alcohol prices never having had any whilst I've been there. Its also nice to be asked what type of water you would like when you request it, Sounds strange but they don't sneakily bring you bottled water that is charged for but will happily bring tap water.
I've never been able to fault the staff, the waiters are always polite and attentive but not to the point where you feel they are hovering to the point of uncomfotableness, or whisking a plate away as soon as its finished with. They are also happy to make fresh chapattis, different types of Naan, or as last night lamb chops when they weren't part of the starters.
Oops, nearly forgot the desserts! Theres different flavours of ice cream, carrot cake, and traditional Indian desserts, rice puddings, gulab jamuns and Gajar Halva, my favourite made of carrots, milk and sugar, and it was as gorgeous as usual.
In all, this is definitely my favourite buffet restaurant, if not my favourite Indian restaurant. The price may seem slightly more expensive at £12.00 a head than just your local for a curry and rice, but for the authenticity of the food, the quality of the food and service and surroundings its more than worth it. It's a pity more people don't know about it as it doesn't seem to be very well advertised but I hope this review changes that!
Taj Palace Oldham
24-28 King Street
Tel: 0161 626 9984
Summary: A traditional Indian buffet to tantalise the taste buffet