There is a slight irony in the fact that I was able to watch a little Premier League football on TV over lunch in Peterborough’s smart new India gastro pub Tap & Tandoor - as the visit was something of a “game of two halves”.
I was lucky enough to go to the launch in August to sample the food and the drink and was looking forward to returning. The place looks great for starters and the concept, new to Peterborough, is a winner. A menu consisting of tasty Indian dishes from snacky starter-type (small plate) dishes, through home-style curries to its signature dish - the tandoor mixed grill.
Add to that 10 great beers on tap, some big screen TVs to watch sport, and an eclectic and enjoyable background music selection.
The aforementioned tandoor mixed grill (£12.50) was absolute meat heaven - great flavours, nicely cooked and plenty of it. The lamb chops were spot on, the chicken tikka pieces soft, the seekh kebab had a little kick and the hariyali wings were bursting with coriander and mint. I paired it with a Tap and Tandoor Salad (£3) which turned out to be stunning- gorgeous chunks of red onion, cucumber and tomato with a delicious dressing; great flavour and texture.
Donna was equally enthusiastic about the salad and even more so about her choice, chicken palak (£7.50) - a rich and thick spinach sauce packed with small chunks of chicken. Absolutely wonderful.
Not to feel left out the two girls had chicken tikka with rice from the children’s menu (£6.95 with a fruit juice and dessert).
The meat was nicely cooked, but in hindsight it was a little too dry, a combination (with plain rice). It was crying out for a dip.
Getting back to the footballing analogy, the other half of the experience concerns the service which, unlike the food,left a bad taste.
I don’t want to be fussed over while I am eating; likewise I don’t want to sit at a table piled up with empty plates and dishes for 15 minutes. It happens when things are busy, I get that, but when you can see staff just standing around like sentries on duty or occasionally just walking by to rearrange some menus, it is grating.
I shouldn’t have had to ask for the table of four to be cleared - it should have been obvious. I shouldn’t, five minutes later, have had to call someone over and ask for dessert menus; and five minutes after finishing desserts I shouldn’t have had to go over and ask for the bill.
Our food: Premier League. Our service: second division.
Brad Barnes has lunch at the Tap & Tandoor in Cumbergate, Peterborough city centre. www.tapandtandoor.co.uk