Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides
The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories
Jubilee Hall, 35 The Piazza, Covent Garden WC2
020 7240 6001
The Maxwellâs Group, as regular readers of the site will be aware, is one of Londonâs most stalwart "give-the-public-what-they-want" chains. Their burger/steaks/chicken heavy menus are hugely reliable and excellent value. However, within the chain thereâs a great deal of difference. Letâs call it the Maxwellâs spectrum. At one end, thereâs Cactus Blue, their very-good-indeed Mexican-flavoured Fulham Road eaterie. In the middle, thereâs Maxwellâs, Sticky Fingers and Navajo Joeâs. And then at the other end, thereâs Roadhouse.
As a restaurant, Roadhouse makes a very good bar. That probably sounds like a complaint but itâs not meant to. Like its sister restaurants, Roadhouse merely plays to its strengths. And, given the central location, the apparently eternal Happy Hour and its place in the hearts of Londonâs young revellers, Roadhouseâs strengths revolve around liquid refreshment and loud, live music. The bar is huge, the beer is cold and the cocktails are plentiful. The food, while remarkable value â before 8.30pm, starters are Â£3 and mains Â£5! â is more of a hit and miss affair. When itâs good, itâs very good. When itâs badâ¦
Take our meal. My companion tucked into Beef Brochettes (usually Â£5.95), which involved beef skewers, pitta bread, peppers and onions in a perfectly decent combination. My Basket of Red Eye Wings (also normally Â£5.95) was a cut above. Slow cooked chicken wings, smothered in a smoky messy sauce, served in a tortilla basket alongside a blue cheese dip. The dip was nothing special, ditto the basket, but the meat was tender, flavoursome and gloriously messy and got a big thumbs up.
Fortunes were reversed in the mains - when they finally arrived. Sizzling Lamb Fillet â served with caramelised fennel, onions and sweet peppers â would have been overpriced at the usual Â£12.95 but for a fiver? Hard to grumble. The Turf ânâ Surf Burger was a different story. First time out, chips were cold and the burger, once the prawns and seafood sauce had been scraped off, was burnt. So, back to the kitchen it wentâ¦ Some minutes later, a slightly less burnt burger â and piping hot chips â arrived. The quality of the meat was obvious despite the charring. The quality of the grill cook was obvious because of it.
All in all, dining at Roadhouse was frustrating: excellent service, however friendly, a nigh constant flow of beer (during Happy Hour, Corona is two for Â£3.40) and the ludicrous prices canât quite make up for the temperamental nature of the kitchen. Disappointing.