Sunday, 29 July 2012

Patti Raj - Oystermouth Road

Forgiveness. As the Bible says... actually, I have no idea what the Bible says about forgiveness, but I assume there is probably something about it in there.

The reason I bring forgiveness into a Swansea on a Plate review is because the restaurant in question is one which has been in the press recently, for all the wrong reasons. The Patti Raj made headlines after news of a dirty kitchen broke in 2011. However, since then they've cleaned up their act and, I'm happy to say, are a much better restaurant for it.

So, let's forgive and forget, and see what they have to offer!

The restaurant, which opened in 2010, sits inside part of the Patti Pavilion, which is an unmissable building superbly located on the sea front. The interior of the spacious restaurant offers a comfortable enough atmosphere with a very contemporary design, highlighted with modern Indian music piped across the restaurant via flat screen TVs.

You have a variety of choice when it comes to seating, with standard tables and chairs nearer the windows overlooking the bay, to high-backed booths and cosy circular tables nearer the back. I'm not a fan of the overflow section immediately as you enter the restaurant - with no windows and less atmosphere, it's worth avoiding this section if you can.

The only problem we found with the design was that the setting sun beamed its way through the massive windows, causing a few areas of the restaurant - including our table - to have to squint their way through most of the meal. I guess even the best restaurant cannot control the sun, but an adjustable blind system would be an ideal addition.

Now to the food! Firstly I have always been impressed with their varied menu, offering something for everyone, including a few signature dishes supposedly unique to the restaurant.

To start I went for something a little different, giving the Mahashas a try - minced lamb and rice in a sweet and sour sauce, hidden inside crispy, fried cabbage leaves. Very enjoyable appearance and texture, and highly recommended by me if you're after something over the regular samosas and bhajis. My dining partner started with the curried cockles; again something you don't see in every restaurant and an appetiser I was assured tasted great.

 Mahashas - a winning starter!

My usual main course is a saag dish but, still in the mood to sample something different, I went for the Chicken Dumpak. This meal - a signature dish for the restaurant - still gave me my fix of spinach, which sat next to the curry: a sweet, creamy sauce, not unlike a korma. Combined with chana rice (chickpea rice) this was a very filling, tasty meal. It's not as cheap as some rival curry houses in the area, but it's worth it for the variety and quality.

Dumpak Chicken (Note the sun interfering with my photo!)

The beer selection works well for an Indian restaurant with Cobra, Kingfisher and Bangla among the usual selection of Carling and others. Wine, champagne and spirits are plentiful too. Talking of plentiful, the service was efficient thanks to the many waiters, all constantly checking you have what you need and instantly taking away what you don't.

Looking at it, the Patti Raj could well have closed down after the very poor publicity it received. However, they've bounced back and shown Swansea that they can make great food and serve it in a wonderful setting, without breaching hygiene rules. Well worth a visit!

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