Monday, November 12, 2007

The little restaurant that could... not

The city of Austin is known for its live music, food, university and an eclectic lifestyle. It is a place where hippies and techies alike call home. It is frequently referred to as the Silicon Valley of the South. The city houses Dell, IBM, Samsung, Texas Instruments and countless others. With the surge of the IT dotcom sector in Austin, the number of Indian residents steadily rose.

Despite my unabashed love for the city, what Austin is not known for is a decent Indian restaurant. Last nite my sister in law's parents came to town so we all went out to Madras Pavilion. Now I know this isn't a very fancy place, so I wasn't expecting a professionally trained waiter with a pinstriped apron to make wine recommendations with each course, but that shouldn't take away from the food, service or ambience.

This is not going to be a fun review, so let's just dive right in. First impression, the plates were chipped. Not regular wear and tear from a dishwasher, but large pieces of plate were missing. My sister in law's mum ordered a mango lassi and asked for an extra glass, the young server girl who brought it to her seemed to not really understand English, but nodded her head anyway. She didn't get a glass. When the order taker guy cum manager cum owner arrived we asked again for a glass and he brought it out quickly, but it was dirty like the soap scum hadn't been washed off. This is my biggest problem with restaurants - that they don't inspect the barware before sending it out. Strange enough, it's also the easiest to fix. I walked over to the register where the order taker guy cum manager cum owner was standing and showed him the dirty glass and asked him to bring another. This time around, he brought a foam cup. Maybe they ran out of glasses. Hey, it could happen. I suppose.

Then the food began to arrive. To start with, we all shared a plate of gobi manchurian which was good, a little too oily though. Then my sister in law got something like idli manchurian. The idli was cut into large pieces and then deep fried. It was then covered with a spicy sweet gravy. This was actually really good. So good in fact, we were all getting hungry and anticipating the food.

Ok, so here comes problem number 3 - the food arrives in 10 min intervals. The two people that order a plain dosa and an onion dosa get theirs first. 10 min later, the 3 mysore masala dosas come out. 10 min later, the 3 chinese dosas come out. So, by the time the last group got their food, group number 1 already were done eating. I am sure if Chef Ramsey is reading this, he's probably headed straight there. Even my sister in law mentioned that this was straight out of a Kitchen Nightmares episode.

There was nothing spectacular or memorable in the least about the food. The chinese dosas seemed promising from the menu description, but they were a complete dud. I've had so much better from hole in the wall type of places than this one. The other thing that is really surprising is that they get so many orders and catering events from the local Indian population because they are the only vegetarian Indian restaurant in Austin.

I was going to give this place an F, but decided that the order taker guy cum manager cum owner stayed pleasant regardless of our criticism. So, this place gets a D- for bad dinnerware and service. Next time you're in Austin, eat Tex-Mex.


ac said...

Sounds horrible

Mansi Desai said...

Hi! My first time here...nice to go through your food blog...I maintain one about veggie recipes and also have restaurant reviews every now and do check it out!


Alpa said...

Hi Mansi,
Thanks! I visit your blog quite frequently. Nice to meet another Gujurati :)

Alpa said...

AC - welcome! Ya, the food wasn't all that.