11 February 2012: Masaledar - Birthday Bhajis
As it was my birthday on 6th February, I did the only logical thing and organised a curry to celebrate (albeit on the following Saturday).
Attendees were as follows:
Me (Birthday Boy)
Andrew ‘The Ace’ Campbell
Emma ‘Scopey’ Copestake (AKA EC)
Angela ‘Ang’ Farrell
Alex Knight (AKA AK)
Henry ‘Harry’ Stead
David ‘Bubaloo’ Jeremiah
Lisa ‘Brunty’ Brunt
Matt ‘Lisa’s BF’
Angus ‘Gus’ Chadney
Greg Burgess (AKA GJ)
Notable by his absence: Co-blogger, Tom Scrimgour (went to see Annie Mac – a poor decision always)
(Anyone reading this now who wasn’t invited, I kept numbers down purely for organisational reasons and not because I don’t like you, unless I actually don’t like you, in which case hard luck you missed out on being my friend and on curry)
Given the nature of the event, and amount of alcohol consumed this review will be less than comprehensive and an officially unofficial review….
The venue was chosen as Masaledar, a decision made due to its slightly nicer décor (it was my birthday and only a curry house with a waterfall was going to cut it) and its proximity to Tescos (good for giving pre-event directions). Having enjoyed a few beers earlier in the day whilst watching England barely beat Italy in the rugby, most of us had built up a good base appetite for curry (I say most of us, but I can only really speak for myself). The stage was set, the time was 19.30. I had expected late arrivals so wasn’t on time myself, but to my pleasant surprise a few of the lads were tucking into some pre-match popadoms when I arrived, no doubt eager to celebrate the birthday of one of their most valued friends.
As mentioned in the summary, this venue wasn’t chosen haphazardly. This is one of the curry houses in the area that would fall strictly in the restaurant category, as opposed to the more canteen-style venues. In this respect, it is ideal for celebrating events such as anniversaries, engagements, Bar Mitzvahs or even birthdays. The aforementioned waterfall inside is a lovely touch, as is the mood-lighting, and glittery wall that adds to the sense of occasion. The entrance is decked with a wooden facade and the clock above the door is helpfully stuck on 5 O’Clock (maybe the universally recognised ideal time for a curry – who knows?)
As you enter there are some small tables and some bench seating for those waiting, but the main eating area is upstairs, elevating the diner to (quite literally) a new level. The furniture is tasteful and contemporary, echoing the general interior design. All in all, this is a very pleasant eating environment, with size enough for large parties such as our own (but always book ahead, as it’s only sensible). For venue, I’m giving an 8/10.
Sides and starters
6 Pilao rice
3 Peshwari naan
3 Garlic naan
3 Portions of Bhaji (2 in a portion)
2 Mxed Grills
I remember the popadoms being strong (in general, not in flavour or material) and the mango chutney being equally satisfactory, so nothing to complain about there. The mixed grills contained an assortment of chicken tikka, lamb chops, chicken wings, seekh kebabs and tandoori chicken (apparently). The naans were distinctively buttery and... that’s all I remember...oh, and of course, rice is rice. I do not recall any complaints – 7 for sides.
We had seven, which I think were the:
Chicken Malai Murgh
...and four others
The array of curries were ordered with all tastes and persuasions in mind. Notable dishes were the Daal and the two specials - the Lamb Masaledar (presumably a signature dish) and the Chicken Malai Murgh. The Daal Makhani was a nice creamy, black lentil dish that was a favourable, vegetarian diversion to the other meat dishes. The Masaledar lives up to its billing as the house dish, and the Malai Murgh – tandoori chicken cooked in Malai sauce – was memorable. Whilst the other dishes were less so, I remember thoroughly enjoying them all at the time. In general the portions were ample and all twelve of us were satisfied with the amount ordered. With not much to go on it’s a 7 for the curries.
My experience with Masaledar staff has always been slightly sloppy service that doesn’t befit the relative class and sophistication of its aesthetics. In this instance I was too busy enjoying myself to notice, although I do recall being told there would be a 20 minute wait at one point. However, given it was a Saturday night I’ll go easy. I’d give a 7, but as I wasn’t paying any attention so I’ll go by previous experiences and give a balanced 6 for service.
Value For Money
Generally speaking with Bring Your Own venues, you’re already half way there on the value front. We certainly got our money’s worth as a whole bottle of Jagermeister was quickly consumed between the lot of us (thanks Lisa). Regarding the restaurant’s offerings, like with most curry houses in the area (and I can only assume worldwide) there were economies of scale with such a large group dining together. The final bill came to £13 a head which is certainly great value, as all party members were left full and satisfied, and considering the wide array of dishes that had been consumed. 8 out of 10 for VFM.
In general, I had a great night and was again impressed by Masaledar on what was my third visit. For those interested we went on to Tooting’s most famous nightspot – the Tram and Social – for more drinks and I’m sure some silly dancing. We think Greg got lucky as well, so, well done sir.
Sadly, given the lack of contribution from other attendees, and my own lack of any attempt to take notice of proceedings, this review has to remain unofficial, but, based on the above, the total score comes to a more than decent 36/50. Unfortunately, no X Factor points this time, despite my temptations to give one for the waterfall and glittery wall. We will be back to do an official review.
Address: 121 Upper Tooting Rd, London SW17 7TJ
Alcohol Policy: BYOB
Summary: Smart interior makes this one of the nicer looking curry houses in Tooting. Good food and BYOB make it great value to boot.