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Restaurant review: Mayur

Andrew Hobbs gets assertive on a curry experience that failed to live up to the hype

Published on January 14th 2010.

Restaurant review: Mayur

EVERYONE loves the Mayur on Duke Street, everyone except us.

This stylish 140-cover restaurant opened in 2007, and has received nothing but praise ever since, including the title of Best Newcomer of the Year in the Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life Food and Wine Awards.

So, sorry for spitting in church, but the service was slow and distracted, the food was no more than average and sometimes below that, and on a mid-week night in February, chilly was the operative word rather than chilli.

I complained about the heating but was told it was on maximum. We did rather a lot of complaining, which is not like me – I once attended evening classes in assertiveness, they were crap but I didn’t dare say anything.

We complained at the first table offered us, miles from any other diners, we complained when they brought the wrong wine, we complained about a main course, and we complained when they brought us someone else’s bill.

As a former member of the judges’ panel, I know that Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life take their awards seriously, so I can only assume we caught Mayur on a bad night. I was looking forward to it, and desperately wanted to like it, because there are so few North West Indian restaurants that rise above the average, at least outside Manchester.

The decor is great – lots of dark colours, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an ironic take on the traditional flocked wallpaper. The menu looks good, too, with plenty of dishes I’ve never seen before, including marinated pot-roast quails, and lobster.

Eventually our orders were taken and some pappads (no um) arrived, with fresh, flavoursome chutneys (£3). It was all going well, apart from slow service, and the cold. My starter, paneer tikka shaslik(£4.50), was excellent, big chunks of paneer cheese on a kebab, chargrilled with vegetables, served with a fresh salad and subtly spicy dip. Note to self: must try this on the barbecue.

Lynne’s starter, aloo tikki (£4.50), seemed a safe bet, but these potato patties were oily and soggy, two dollops of spicy mashed potato without a hint of the expected crispiness. Remember those starters – they crop up again later.

My main course, elaichi ka bhuna gosht (£11.50) – “lamb steeped overnight in whole spices and ginger garlic juice, pot-roasted in a flavoursome full-bodied cardamon-flavoured spicy masala” – was tender and tasty, the cardamons coming through strongly, and there was plenty of it. I started eating it before Lynne’s main course arrived, purely

to give her something to look at while she waited. I’m thoughtful like that.

A good five minutes later, Lynne’s subz thaal (£12.95) arrived. I suggested it, thinking that it was a thaali or tray with a selection of curries, always a good bet for quality vegetarian fare. However, I should have read the description more carefully ‑ ‘a platter of vegetarian selection – chargrilled cottage cheese, fresh vegetables and fruits, potato tikki and onion bhaji, served with mint dip, a sauce and naan bread.’

This subz thaal was substandard – whereas my starter included at least four big chunks of paneer, here there was one small piece. Another aloo tikki, closely related to Lynne’s starter, with the same pasty complexion and mushy texture, was there, plus a sprig of broccoli, half a pear and a half-cooked onion bhaji, with more of the side salad that had accompanied our starters. The curry sauce (which reminded me of tinned tomato soup) and naan bread wrapped in Bacofoil, had arrived five minutes earlier, and were a bit tepid by now.

OK, maybe I should have guessed that it included both our starters – but perhaps the waitress should have questioned the choice. And there was no excuse for it arriving late and undercooked. So we sent it back.

Here, I can’t fault the restaurant. Without a quibble the owner, Suhail Ahmed, took it away and suggested an alternative, the very palatable palak paneer kofta (£8.50), spinach and paneer dumplings with garlic, in creamy tomato gravy – which arrived quickly. We weren’t charged for the thaal, either, which had been badly mauled during Lynne’s search for some protein.

However, we were now left without any veg – I had been assuming that the thaal would be full of it, and that I could nick some while Lynne went for a fag. So I had some fruit instead, grapes to be exact, in the form of a fruity bottle of Accademia del Sole Viognier from Sicily. The wine list is good, not too long, but well chosen.

Puddings were standard fare, pistachio kulfi and gulab jamun, like a little rum baba without the rum plus a dollop of ice cream (both £4.50). The bill came to £57.95, although the other table’s bill, which we were offered initially, was lower. A little expensive for the quality of food and service, but I suppose we hit it on a bad night. I might risk the early evening offer in future, three courses for £14.99 (Sunday to Thursday, 5.30-7pm).

I am grateful for the opportunity to practise my assertiveness skills, but I’d much rather have a decent curry anytime.

Liverpool Confidential reviewers are independent, dine out unnanounced and pick up their own tabs. Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes.

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14 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Tikka BillaFebruary 10th 2009.

Years ago there used to be lots sheep in Indian restaurants - unless I was drunk and it was flock wallpaper.

Indian loverFebruary 10th 2009.

there are far far better indians around...try the sultans palace on victoria street, much better. Great service, great food.

AndyFebruary 10th 2009.

Try Zyka in Formby. Great service, decent prices and the spices are fresh from Brick Lane Market. Nuff said.

EvilEddFebruary 10th 2009.

I think you've hit the nail on the head: you must have caught the Mayur on a bad night. I've eaten there several times, had stuff I've never tried before, and never had a bad mouthful. I've always found the staff very helpful, too - essential with a menu that doesn't stick to the same-old standard curry-house fayre.

AnonymousFebruary 10th 2009.

our bill was £50 for two people and the food was pretty standard - HUGE letdown

Rogan ToshFebruary 10th 2009.

Isn't Mike Storey going to be the next Mayur? Waiter, there's a greasy hair in my dahl!

Col CutterFebruary 10th 2009.

I hope this isn't just a plug for Liverpool's next Lord Mayur - a grim Storey indeed.It's not one to tell your naan, even to curry favour with the old lhassi. Or any other Simla relative.

KerryFebruary 10th 2009.

Larry the lamb could be shortened to Ltl lol! But people might think he was pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. lol!

Liverpool WagFebruary 10th 2009.

I remember that too. When the bill came, I realised I'd been fleeced.

EditorialFebruary 10th 2009.

Funnily enough, an impending trip to Zyka was being discussed this very afternoon. We will be reporting back soon.

Scouser curry fanFebruary 10th 2009.

Sultan Palace is for great curry meal and air conditioning which customer always ask for. I visit always the Sultan's Palace in Victoria Street for best curry house in Liverpool

DigFebruary 10th 2009.

Lambee. Sorry La'mi. Whatever its called. If A.P is on board lets go each way.

IndianScouserFebruary 10th 2009.

I thought I was the only person in Liverpool who didnt enjoy the food in Mayur. I dont rate Sultans Palace much either. The places to go for a good curry are either Spice Lounge down at the Albert Dock, Bengal Dynasty out in Connahs Quay, or EastzEast, Blackfriars in Manchester.

AnonymousFebruary 10th 2009.

You aren't scouser curry fan are you? How is it that whenever a curry house is featured on here, somebody pretending to be an ordinary Sultan's Palace customer comes on. At least get a mate to do it!

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