I’m a bit of a sucker for Groupon (et al) restaurant deals. They’re a great way to check out a new restaurant without the fear of wasting a huge amount of money if the food is bad and although I’ve had my fair share of dodgy meals thanks to these vouchers, I have had some rather good ones too.
Rupyaal was brought to me by Deal Monster. Martin Dawes’ review helped sell it to me as he’d given 5/5 for both the food and the service, but, I’ll admit to still being a little sceptical. But that’s the beauty of these restaurant deals; it was £10 for 2 mains, a rice and a naan. Given it was BYOB too, I figured I could invest £10 in trying this place out.
We booked it for a Wednesday night and after a couple of drinks in town we headed off down Abbeydale road (via Ozmen for some dried fenugreek leaves and dried limes for my Olympic Food Challenge and Steers Beers for some Sauvignon Blanc) towards Kumquat Mae’s old home, 353 Abbeydale Rd.
We were warmly welcomed by the owner (who I know is called Parvez thanks to the Star review). He was so incredibly friendly and enthusiastic that we just knew that we were going to be in for a good meal. So much so, I broke my rule of only ordering to the value of the voucher (to limit any further financial risk on trying out a new place), and we ordered starters.
First up though were a couple of popadoms served with the usual pickles and Parvez made a point of letting us know that these were complimentary. Brilliant. When did Indian restaurants start charging for these things anyway?
The pickles were good, especially the raita which had a surprising (in a good way) kick to it and we could see that there were flecks of fresh chilli in there. It was delicious.
The starter was a decent sized platter (£4.50) of a mixture of vegetable dishes including vegetable samosa, some bhajis (onion and carrot or sweet potato I think) and a selection of pakora (including aubergine). It was all tasty and an absolute bargain given the size of the dish. I was also glad to find that the salad served alongside the platter was freshly prepared; there is nothing worse than dried out, shrivelled up cucumber.
Onto the mains and Parvez recommended a few dishes to us. We went for the Hyderabadi Handi Gosht which was described as ‘Slow cooked juicy lamb cooked in a chef`s special brown masala sauce with fresh green chillies, tomatoes & coriander’ and the Goan Fish Curry which was a ‘traditional goan curry cooked in a vindaloo paste, tamarind & coriander’. I was alerted to the mention of vindaloo in the dish, but Parvez assured me that the dish is more flavoursome rather than hot.
Mains arrived with a dish of pilau rice which was served properly with some fried off onions topping the plate and a naan bread, which was the star of the show for me. Freshly cooked, it was perfectly light and packed full of the chillies that we’d asked to be added.
Mains were ample, but sensibly sized, portions. The gravies were really good; full of flavour, although I do think that Parvez took my fear of vindaloo a little too seriously as both dishes lacked real heat. Lesson learnt, do not show a fear of heat here!! The fish was well cooked, but sadly I can’t say the same for the lamb. It will have been stewing lamb and it needed a good slow cook and I don’t think ours had quite long enough as it was really tough and chewy.