The dining room at MG Road.
A friend from India had described the fare at MG Road as “Indian food served French bistro style,” which sounded like a tempting option. A small group of my friends and I were very much looking forward to dining there, but unfortunately, our sense of disappointment was commensurate with our bright expectations.
How many times have you phoned days ahead to make a reservation and been asked to choose between the 7:30pm and 9:15pm seatings? From now on I will take this as a sign that the restaurant has gotten too big for its Parisian britches or is more interested in making a buck than in making its customers happy – which is exactly how the two waitresses at MG Road made me feel.
When we arrived, the small restaurant was not even half full, yet they offered our party of five a table for four, providing a tiny metal stool (with no room for a place setting) at one end for the “fifth wheel.” When we protested, one of the waitresses, who could barely pretend to be amiable, said, “We always do it this way, and it works really well.” I wanted to ask her how often Miss Muffet had dined there.
Begrudgingly, she moved us to another table, but things continued to go downhill from there. We tried all of the four main dishes on the menu. One was tasty (Kerala-style machli fry, or fish curry, with coconut rice), one was
passable (Kashmiri lamb roganjosh) and the other two (butter chicken and paneer tikka masala) were dry and tasteless. The cheese and spring-onion naans had nice flavors but a soggy texture.
Surprisingly, the highlight of the dinner was the ginger-spiced baked yogurt dessert, which
we had along with the tasty kulfi (ice cream) with saffron and almonds. (The friendlier of
the two waitresses was about to serve them wih five spoons so we could share, but the other one told her to forget the extra spoons.)
When we ordered a second bottle of “Pourquoi Pas?” Coteaux du Languedoc, the waitress opened it without asking any of us to taste it first – unheard-of in any French restaurant – and swiftly emptied the whole bottle out into our glasses, filling them nearly to the brim – a definite no-no for white wine. Did she do this to ensure that we would get out of there as fast as possible or because there was no wine bucket to keep the wine chilled?
It was almost a relief when we found ourselves out on the street at 9:15pm. We agreed that none of us would return to this overpriced, underwhelming restaurant as we set off to find an antidote to our unsatisfactory dining experience and, Paris being Paris, ended the evening on a happy note at a relaxed and generous café a few blocks away.