Shad Indian

Posted by Colin

Where: 96 Tooley Street, SE1 2TH
Cost: Mains approx £9-£13 per person
Website: www.shadindian.com
Food Rating:
Service Rating:

Ruth and I are in mourning. Our grief has led to a I Live By The River first – two ratings for a restaurant, one for the food and one for the service. On Saturday night we took two friends along to Shad Indian on Tooley Street, our favourite and local Indian restaurant. We’ve eaten here many times before and its our Indian of choice when it comes to takeway. No longer.

We had originally booked for 8pm but it became clear that it would be touch and go if one of our friends would make it on time due to a delayed train. So we duly called the restaurant and asked whether it was possible to delay our table by 30 mins, to which they said it wouldn’t be a problem. We get to the restaurant and are told they don’t have a table for us because we booked for 8pm and no-one had informed them of our call. After a discussion in front of most of the restaurant, the waiter said he would go and find out what was happening. After 10 minutes we had to ask again because no-one was forthcoming. Eventually, we were shown to a table at around 8:50pm and the head waiter told us he was going to “kick the arse” of the person who’d taken our phone call.

A different waiter took our orders. The first two people ordered different things and the waiter made a sarcastic comment about how the chef “would be pleased” that he’d have to cook different dishes. I was next and I ordered the Seafood Bhuna and was asked whether I really wanted that as the chef “always overcooks it”. Having eaten there before, I knew how good the food is and so I suspect he was trying to get me to order a dish that was quicker to cook. He then left the table and we had to get him back to take the final person’s order.

When the food arrived it was, as usual, delicious. The seafood bhuna was beautifully spiced and the seafood perfectly cooked. I would recommend the food to anyone. At the end of the meal the head waiter came back and asked how things were. I calmly explained that the service had been poor for the above reasons and that it was a shame because we were regulars and the food was so good. He snapped back at us, cutting me off mid sentence and saying “if you’re going to go down that route, I’ll give you 10% off and that’s it”. I thanked him and asked him whether, in two hours, he’d managed to find out who took our original call and why we’d been messed around. He said that he’d been too busy to find out. I said we wouldn’t be coming back again.

Verdict:

Delicious food that isn’t too expensive, we’d rightly loved this place for ages. However, we just feel let down by the way we were treated from not dealing with our phone call properly to originally missing someone’s order. And I have never ever been to a restaurant before where you order a dish and the waiter discourages you from ordering it apparently because the chef is incompetent. Maybe they don’t need to look after their regulars because of their location on such a busy street, but it is such a strange way to run a business.

So we’re now on the lookout for a decent Indian restaurant in and around SE1. Got any suggestions for us?

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Riot Night in a Balham Pub

Posted by Ruth

Where: The Regent, Balham SW12
When: 13/11/2012
Website: http://www.theregentbalham.co.uk/
Price: £5
Rating:

After experiencing a summer displaying London at its best – full of pride, history, and achievement – it’s hard to believe that just over a year ago the city was gripped by the violence of the riots. Looting and mindless destruction were what filled our screens, not the celebrations and victories of the Jubilee and Olympics seen in recent months.

Living on opposite sides of London at the time, we were both shocked at how quickly the violence escalated in our beloved city, and how close we both were to some of the worst affected areas. So after hearing about ‘Riot Night’ – a play exploring the true events of the London Riots in pubs in South London – we quickly booked tickets and were intrigued about the play.

Directed by Hugh Janes, and written by Robert Young (both critically acclaimed), the night was billed as ‘immersive theatre’ where the audience is part of the action and the performance happens all around you.

The play was held in a section of The Regent (a homely, if slightly try-hard Balham pub), and on entering it felt promising. Little distinction between cast and audience, and a sense of anticipation in the air. However, unfortunately what followed was utterly at odds with the immersive concept.

As the performance started, it was immediately clear that the cast were desperately trying to remember their placement and lines. The dialogue was also hugely contrived – an ill-advised attempt to create a jovial pub atmosphere that delivered no genuine characterisation whatsoever.

Trying to keep an open mind, we assumed things would improve as the plot developed – but unfortunately not, the characters remained one dimensional, and the writing was laughably poor at stages. Exchanging glances with the couple opposite it was clear that they were equally unimpressed.

This was incredibly frustrating; it could have been really affecting, and genuinely frightening – but the amateur nature of the acting and writing negated all emotional impact. We felt like we were watching a gimmicky A-Level performance, with no resemblance to the real events it was claiming to portray. Given the experience and training of all involved this was absolutely not what we expected.

Verdict:
Trying something new and different has to be applauded, and the cast and crew were clearly making a valiant attempt to successfully dramatise the London Riots. However, the execution was so poor that we were hugely disappointed.