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Dr John Hawkins

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Posted on 2010/07/10 15:36:03 (July 2010).

[Thursday 1st July 2010]
Fancied Indian food this evening, so took Chie to a place I had read about on the web called Rasa. It ended up a bit of a disappointment. Here's my review:

Was very attracted to this place by the reviews, especially the comments that it was very good for vegetarians, and the quote on their website from Jamie Oliver that he has "taken people to this restaurant on about ten occasions just to show off" (although that might be referring to one of the other Rasa Restaurants).

So we ordered the 'Vegetarian Feast" for two. On the menu it said "Our team of award winning chefs, are expert at preparing the most exquisite mix of flavours and textures in a Kerala Banquet." so I all in all I had assumed we were in for something really special.

It started reasonably well, their take on the usual poppadoms was a bit more interesting than the norm, with a variety of other poppadom style things (acchapam, pappadavadai, murukku and banana chips) I haven't seen before, and some interesting pickles.

Then the starter was OK, but nothing particularly special - some vegetable bhajee - a potato ball, a slice of aubergine, and a slice of plantain (which to us tasted more like banana).

We had quite a long wait after that, and the main course was then a huge disappointment. The first dish they brought, simply "mixed vegetable curry" already had me worried - it was pretty much just carrots and green beans in a fairly bland curry sauce. It didn't really improve from there - there was a saag daal which had an unpleasant flavour to it, a dish of pretty much just savoy cabbage with some barely perceptible spices, and then a dish of mango yoghurt curry. This was the only thing that had an interesting flavour to it, but I was surprised at one point when I took a spoonful of it and my wife said "can I have half of that?" - it turned out I had taken the only notable piece of mango in there. Other than that it was just a bowl of sauce. The breads were nothing to shout about either - an average paratha, and some kind of bread with red onions in that I found to be stodgy and not all that pleasant. Plus some plain white rice.

In the end I had about two or three spoonfuls of each curry and then completely lost my appetite - it was just so boring. Given the price, and the use of words like "feast" and "banquet" in the menu, I'd expected something really special. What we got were four bowls of frankly uninspiring and unimaginative curry.

The dessert was nothing to write home about either - a small ramekin of lightly spiced rice pudding. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, it was just boring.

If the "vegetarian feast" had been half the price it was (19.50 a head), and there hadn't been any of the hype, I'd have just left thinking I'd had an average and uninspiring dinner and would have left it at that. As it was I left feeling frankly a bit annoyed - our total bill, including two beers and service, came to 54. We could have eaten South Indian food on any of several restaurants on Drummond Street for half that price, and it would have been much better.

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