Sadly, they were wrong. They hadn’t tried the lamb rogan josh yet.
Let us rewind. The events of this evening were by no means all the fault of the establishment discussed, but their food certainly didn’t help matters.
It was a Friday night. The Dish Detective had a lot of work to get through and was working late-ish. Yes, I know. We have a day job.
The DD’s mother-in-law was staying and the DD’s better half struck a deal: you can work late, we’ll sort out putting the children to bed, but the price is you come home with a takeaway.
The DD mulled it over and accepted, fine human that we are. We don’t often go for takeaways, it was payday, we had a guest … the stars were aligned.
And we went all modern and ordered online. Not even ‘pick up as soon as possible’ – bear with us, this will be relevant – but giving about 45 minutes’ notice to Veranda in Wickham Square.
We left work in time to park up in the Square and head to the Co-op for some beer. As this was a spontaneous meal, we had no shopping bags with us and so had to buy a plastic bag for the bottles (again bear with us, this will be relevant).
We got to Veranda at 7.40pm for a 7.45pm collection. We went to the desk, got shown to a seat, and settled down. To our left, a man complained about a 20-minute wait (bear with, this will be .. .you know the rest) which, in hindsight: mate, you were lucky,
Anyway, we sat and waited. And waited. And mucked about on our phone. And asked about the order. And waited. And asked about the order. And eventually out it popped a fraction before 8.20pm.
Now I know this is a first-world problem, but when you’ve not eaten since midday and your mother-in-law is at home, hungry, these things are important.
We sped home, and ran in the two bags of takeaway, plonking them on the kitchen table.
We went back out to get the bag of beer, rushed in and… the compostable Co-op bag split just as we got into the kitchen. Beer bottles fell out, two smashed, and in one smooth movement the DD skidded, stacked it, landed on their back and shouted two words not printable in The News and probably to be crossed out in Viz.
Now I totally accept that that’s not Veranda’s fault. But the meal itself? For something that was running 40 minutes late… so disappointing.
I ordered an Assam chicken (£ 10.95) – to be fair that was the best of the bunch. It promised a curry with chilli and coriander and delivered. The DD’s better half and mother-in-law are both weirdos, because why would you ever double up on a takeaway ?!
They went for a lamb rogan josh (£ 8.95). This was woeful. It was two trays of greasy and chewy lamb cubes with onion, and some fresh tomato added in. Rogan Josh should be heavily spiced – not hot, but spiced. This had nothing.
You’d want to taste cumin, coriander, even cinnamon. You’d want deep tastes. You’d want some sauce (this had none). Nobody finished it.
The problem was that nothing else flew. The pilau rice (£ 3.25) and lemon rice (£ 4.95) felt old, a bit dried-out. The naans were OK, but a touch on the tough side, and onion bhajis (£ 4.95) and vegetable samosas (£ 4.95) were too cold and chewy.
Deeply disappointing, especially after waiting for it to be cooked – what was going on in the kitchen?
Veranda is a dine-in restaurant, and was rammed that night. Plenty of alluring food passed the DD on trolleys as we waited.
The busy night might explain why the takeaway took so long to arrive, but if your kitchen can’t cope, don’t take the orders.
A flimsy plastic bag was the reason the DD woke with a sore back; the bad taste left was sadly all of Veranda’s own making.