Address: 86 Tooting High St, Tooting, London SW17 0RN
Cuisine: Keralan (South Indian)
Alcohol Policy: Licensed
Summary: Popular South Indian restaurant with authentically decorated interior. Decent food as well, if a little pricier than nearby.
Radha Krishna Bhavan
“Together, we can help make sure that every family that walks into a restaurant can make an easy, healthy choice”- Michelle Obama
With America soon heading to the polls to choose the next US President, we decided to pay homage and cast our own vote on one of Tooting’s favourite curry venues – Radha Krishna Bhavan.
In a true-to-life tribute to American politics, we have decided to pass some ignorant yet powerful verdicts over the culture of others, namely the Indian food industry of Tooting. However, this week there’s a twist. In an encomium to the two-party system, we have offered a balanced debate, one that, for the first time, pits the vigour and resolve of the Tooting Curry Blog against rival budding reviewers to determine who really is giving you the most bang for your bhaji in the Bec to Broadway blogging battleground.
Disclaimer: All rival comments are quoted verbatim, but not necessarily in context. The Tooting Curry Blog reserves the right to twist and spin interpretations in its favour.
Andy Hayler, author of the London Transport Restaurant Guide and a guest critic on each series of BBC's Masterchef: The Professionals has said, ‘This establishment (previously called the Sree Krishna) is an old faithful’.
We say - Mr. Hayler, you're entitled as a critic to your own opinions, and to your own blog, but not to your own facts. Sree Krishna is in fact a separate entity to Radha Krishna Bhavan as any knowledgeable fan of Tooting cuisine should know. However, we will forgive your geographical confusion as you were no doubt distracted by the alluring interior within. As Chris Morrison rightly points out ‘The palm tree beach wallpaper is really enjoyable’. Similarly, Square Meal state, ‘that , RKB is not a venue where subtlety is a priority’ and we concur - the 1980s are calling to ask for their interior design back.
Not only is the décor lively, but so too is the atmosphere. Our very own Tom Scrimgour was quick to point out the ‘good vibes’, a far more subtle and respectful observation than Kath Dyer’s: ‘a lot of Asian customers…got to be good’.
In general, a colourful and pleasant surround. Our verdict – 8/10.
First Term (Starters and Sides)
King Prawn Poori
Garlic Parotha X 2
I think one anonymous Google User hit the nail on the head when he said ‘i like those mini pizza sticks there relly good for my belly great evreything plese order the mini pizza sticks’….but, seriously (and more coherently), we agree with the sentiment.
London Eating may have exaggerated when they said the puffed poori breads were outstanding, but nonetheless, our King Prawn variety were a nice, subtle opener, albeit with all the filling in one and not the other. Better still were the chicken wings that offered a great diversion from the usual carb-loaded suspects, with a tangy, peppery glaze, complimented by caramelized onions.
The Garlic Parotha was so good Tom ordered a second. The rice and poppadoms were standard, but Tom’s laying the blame for some next day repercussions on the onion dip (and strangely not on the fact he’d had two curries in two days).
Consistently good – 7/10.
Second Term (Curry)
Kerala Chicken Curry
‘I’ve had better microwave curries from Tesco’ – ‘Ashley’
In TCB’s opinion, this has been probably the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign. More accurately, as one commentator on Trip Advisor points out, RKB serves ‘very good Keralan food’.
Once again, we question the judgement and taste (in more ways than one) of other critics, namely juratedudley, who thought the curries were bland and thought it appropriate to make a ‘joke’ ‘at the expense of minorities: ‘My boyfiend [perhaps an appropriate typo] made a joke about how many so called ethnic restaurants try to make the food as bland as possible to the English/European clientelle’.
We, here at the Tooting Curry Blog, on the other hand, are more tolerant and tasteful, and thoroughly appreciated the restaurant’s Keralan specials. In this respect, we echo Ashley Nickels who recommends the Erachi Ulathiyathu – lamb deliciously spiced with pepper, chopped coconut slices, coriander and chilli. Likewise, the traditional, Keralan chicken curry was up there with the best on the Broadway. 8/10
The Working Class (Staff)
Attitudecounts says, ‘the staff were excellent, they showed great professionalism’, and London Eating are spot on –‘The service is brisk and efficient, but you can have a relaxed meal out here (unlike, say Mirch Masala, where they rush you in and out).’
The service at RKB is probably the best we’ve experienced so far, much more consistent, polite and disciplined than others on the high street. 8/10
As an aside, in the spirit of the election, we at TCB would like to take the time to campaign for greater gender equality in the Tooting restaurant industry, as the majority of jobs seem to be for men. Can't we find some women that are also qualified? We are going to reach out to a number of groups, Mitt Romney-style, and see if they have any binders full of women to help us in our crusade.
The Economy (Value For Money)
‘Great meal, I had king fish ,good service and buzzing atmosphere, all for £12 per head including wine, what more can you ask? - coinshooter
What more can you ask, you say? We ask for the same value, as you, as unfortunately we didn’t get it from RKB on our visit! The final bill came to a whopping £62.65 between two.
Immediately we lost value from the non-BYOB policy, but in general the dishes were just that couple of quid more here than elsewhere. Whilst we acknowledge the food was of a high standard, relative to neighbouring venues it still didn’t quite justify the price tag. Many others have said Radha Krishan Bhavan is good VFM, but unfortunately from our visit we have to rate poorly. 5/10
‘The better version of Sree Krishna’ – who knows, we shall hopefully see soon, but in general, don’t let the few extra pounds on the bill put you off piling them on your waistline at RKB.
One reviewer says ‘Oh how I miss you! This is the only reason I miss Tooting’. Whilst it saddens us to read such a blinkered view of Tooting, we can see why many love and keep returning to Radha Krishna Bhavan. Some of the best food we’ve sampled, in a lively, welcoming setting; well worth a visit. 36/50
And so we leave you with some final words of wisdom:
The choice you make this November will shape great things, historic things, and those things will determine the most intimate and important aspects of every Tooting life and every Tooting family. This is an election about Tooting and it is an election about the Tooting family. All elections matter. This one matters a great deal. Over the years of our nation’s history, choices our fellow citizens have made have changed the country’s course–they were turning points of defining consequence. – Mitt Romney