Opening 12ish till very late
Pre and Post refurb, bottom picture July 2010
Rice & 3 in the refurbished Hunter'sJuly 2011
It's been a while. I've nearly been in a few times but other, more reliable, places have dragged me away. I'm pleased to say that this was a surprisingly good visit. The place has a had a real change around - even to the extent that the curries have moved - always disorientating. The food hasn't become something incredible but it is at least what it's supposed to be - no frills decent Asian food. I was attempting to order 3 curries with chapatti rather than rice (the rice has been pretty variable on the last few occasions), but this all got a bit muddled - partially it turned out, because they now give a free chapatti (or drink) with rice & 3 at lunchtime. Given that the rice & 3 is already the cheapest around at £3.95 this is a real bargain. In the event the rice was fine too. The curries weren't special - I can't pretend they were. They tasted pretty similar to one another and the keema was rather salty - although the lamb and chicken meat quality has gone up a notch, if not the nuances of the recipes. Salad and sauces were also part of the deal - an incredible one when you consider Kabana being £2.10 more, just down the road. Now, you may well say I'd rather pay £2 and have the superior meal - fine but when you consider that's an additional 50%, perhaps it becomes important.
I noticed they're also doing small chicken shawarma (doner) with a free can at £2.50, and a small (2 piece) seekh on naan with a can at £1.99 etc etc - In fact I've now posted the menu (above). Great value stuff, certainly at this time of day.
Hunter's has had a revamp. It seems to be taking itself more seriously. It looks good and clean. The staff were knowledgeable and serious about service, and there are a few more little details which make a place seem to care - coriander, chillies and ginger to add to taste, for instance. This is all well and good but how is the actual food? Unfortunately not much better. The meat is still pretty poor quality, cut up into tiny chunks. possibly to disguise it. One of us more or less got a lump of inedible jellified gristle as part of a lamb dish. And the rice still isn't cooked properly. It's hard - same as last bloody year! The chapatti and veg dishes were good - but meat curries and rice are the staples of the Curry Cafe crowd. We really like it inside and the staff are good, there's a great panoramic view ....but the food just isn't up to it. We wish it were.
Finally, they seem to have set themselves up as a chippy with a big fryer behind the counter so they can dish out halal fish and chips. Fair enough, but another diversion from good food in our view.
Another go.... Dec '09 - for previous trip/blurb see below
We were hoping for Hunter's to prove us wrong this time - it was better, but only just. The rice wasn't right - either dried out in the hot container or undercooked in the first place. Our best guess was dried out as it was the end of the batch and there wasn't the tell tale pool of additional moisture caused by undercooking - which at noon on a Monday makes one wonder when this batch was first cooked. Worrying! In fairness the place was fine and the service was helpful and polite. The range of curries was impressive too, however the potions were not very large and the cuts of meat somewhat fatty. A highlight was the slightly odd kofta - which consisted of seekh kebabs in a curry sauce, a bit unconventional but tasty. The different daals got mixed reviews and the whole meal was rather unsatisfying. At £3.95 is it fair to quibble? People spending £4.60 at This & That round the corner would probably argue yes.
Key Ingredients 13.0 (out of 20)
Other Food 6 (out of 10)
Service Setting 7 (out of 10)
Value for Money 3.5 (out of 5)
Range 5 (out of 5)
Average Rating 6.9 (out of 10)
Like This & That, Hunter’s BBQ is a bit of an institution, which makes it difficult to say anything negative about it without provoking reaction. Some people love it like an old spicy friend and take great offence at anything other than glowing praise and ‘best kept secret’ or ‘for those in the know’ type phrases being thrown around – well to those people, sorry, but in our experience the curries are pretty poor. To put this in context: we pick a day to review and get what we get on the day and judge on those merits. We do eventually revisist and review but not for a while and on our last visit the curries were bland and lukewarm and the rice was badly cooked. Enquiries about the game dishes and specials led to confusion and vague mumblings and we were given the usual stuff from the pots at the front – no problem there if it had been good. It was the usual stuff – chicken, keema, lamb, chickpeas etc. Just pretty poor examples of it – the chilli, coriander and ginger garnishes/seasonings available elsewhere may have helped a bit but they were not on offer. There wasn’t even any water freely available. On the plus side the location of this place is excellent, being situated at the main crossroads near the end of Thomas Street – so there’s plenty look at as you sit and eat and the chapattis are very good. People who are familiar with, and like, the place may well cite the kebabs or game curries or whatever – or that it opens late and is great after a few pints, which is all fair enough but we have to go on what we got the day we reviewed and it wasn’t good, perhaps a revisit will change our minds. As a side point the kebabs are fine if not amazing – though there’s far less competition for decent kebabs in this part of town, which may help please Hunter’s late night crowd.
Key Ingredients 12.0 (out of 20)
Other Food 5.5 (out of 10)
Service Setting 5 (out of 10)
Value for Money 3.5 (out of 5)
Range 5 (out of 5)
Average Rating 6.2 (out of 10)
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