Always wanting to take any opportunity possible to visit an Indian restaurant, I was pleased when Jonathan and Julian agreed that our dining experience of the evening would be at Mary Gold. I’m not sure what the building used to be and it’s not listed, although in 2007 it was given planning permission to change from a warehouse facility to a restaurant.
The opening hours weren’t entirely correct on Google, meaning we arrived around twenty minutes before they were open. This didn’t faze them in the slightest, they welcomed us in and got drinks ready for us. I thought that was rather decent hospitality and my first impressions were positive. It was also a fortunate turn of events as the restaurant was soon at capacity and we might have missed out entirely if we had waited for much longer.
Although prices have risen quite sharply over the last couple of years, I thought that this still represented seemingly acceptable value for money. We all went for the first option which made things easier in terms of meal planning, with the waiter being helpful during the service. I don’t get to try enough Indian restaurants to have a complete understanding of this, but I think that this is towards the lower end of the scale for pricing.
I’m not normally a beer drinker with Indian meals, my option is usually a mango lassi, but beer felt appropriate here. Julian went for the Mongoose which I hadn’t heard of, but tasted similar to Cobra to me when I tried it, and I liked the play on names.
The poppadoms appeared promptly and the lime pickle had a suitable bit of kick to it, although we could have done with more of it.
They could probably do with smaller plates to make the portion size give the appearance of being bigger, but it was a perfectly sufficient sized starter. It’s chicken pakora and the meat was tender, the coating had a pleasant flavour and the sauces added to the presentation.
I went for the peshwari naan and the Gunpowder chicken curry. The chicken was once again tender, there was a slight spice kick although as usual, I wanted a little more heat. However, the sauce had a depth of flavour, the portion size was reasonable and the peshwari naan had a light texture and a richness from the almond.
We tried to leave at this point as we had a walk and several pubs to visit, but they then politely queried why we didn’t want the free dessert. I stampeded back to the table, I’m easily sold on a Viennetta type dessert at the best of the times and this felt an appropriate moment. I had the orange as well such is my obsession for fruit.
There was then a free chocolate and a free Amaretto. I was glad that we hadn’t left and Jonathan was particularly surprised and delighted at how things were turning out.
And then free sweets to complete the meal. This is quite clever as I suspect it leads to a bigger tip, which is what we did, but I still liked the gesture and we weren’t obligated to give anything. I was also pleased to note that the waiting staff never tried to rush us out, even though it felt evident to me that they could do with the tables. I’m keen on proper hospitality and I felt that this was offered here.
Overall, I was pleased with the restaurant and that was quite useful since it was my suggestion to go there. Jonathan and Julian seemed equally delighted, with the whole meal representing value for money. The quality was high, the surroundings were spotlessly clean and the service was attentive and warm. OK, it doesn’t match the free items given by Lowestoft Tandoori (but where does?) but I left feeling the experience had been positive. Definitely recommended and I can see why it’s the best rated Indian restaurant in Hereford.