November 2011 - Closed, now a bar.
A week later and we thought it was time to go back. This time two of us took on the 'Eat as you like buffet'! Actually, we'd both had enough after the first plateful - good lamb dish of unknown name but rich yoghurty consistency, decent chicken jal frezi, chicken saag, potato and aubergine, excellent daal, etc. The only poor dish was the 'mixed veg' which looked like a tin of mixed veg in a curry sauce - little cylindrical carrots and all. Still no chapatti, which was a bit of a gripe. When we came to pay we thought we'd better find out if it was a buffet or not (not for our benefit really, merely fact finding), and apparenly it was. There was no problem having another portion of rice and whichever curries we wanted. So begrudgingly we did, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. It's just so hard to turn it down when it's hot, tasty and you've already paid. 'The Boss' from last time wasn't around - perhaps he's changed the 'one visit' policy or perhaps the staff ignore it. Who knows?
The decor and the music on the large TV are a bit offputting, and the place looks a bit like a club or a 'stylish' bar. Still, if you find yourself on this side of town there's nothing to match it.
Khan’s seems to be the baby of someone who likes the Northern Quarter Curry Cafes but wants to branch-out, iron-out their ‘deficiencies’ and do so in an area with no competition – which is surely a good idea. It’s definitely of the same ilk – but big and clean with big sofas, huge fake gilt edge mirrors and a massive TV playing a music channel. I don’t really like any of those things but presumably some folk must do. The counter is large with the usual rice & 3 style containers, which facilitate serving warm food immediately – accompanied by a tandoor and grill. So far so good. Unlike anywhere else of its kind, it’s not Asian run. There’s an Asian chef – and certainly the food is authentic - but the vibe is slightly different. We went for the £5 ‘Eat As You Like’ buffet – which was a tad confusing (omitting the word 'much'). It was essentially Rice & 3. We were doled out a relatively small portion of rice and asked which of the 6 available curries we wanted – and we were told we couldn’t return for more.
I was slightly disappointed with the quantity of food – the lamb on the bone was just a small bone and no meat at all, though the smaller cuts of meat (chicken and keema) were well represented. The quality was fine, flavoursome and interesting enough without being an oil-fest – aubergine and potato and the daal being the highlights. When the non-meat curries are stealing the show you know that you're either being cooked for by someone who knows what they're doing or eating an abomination of animal (it was the first one). I ordered naan (no chapatti available – another sign of not being an Asian orientated place) to bulk it up a bit and that was good – fresh from the tandoor but done slightly thicker and sweeter than usual with a peshwari flavour to it (£1, not included). However, the strange and glorious bit was that after ‘the boss’ left to get milk the chef came out and prompted the lady serving to give me more food – ‘it is a buffet after all’. So I left completely stuffed after essentially eating twice. Hopefully the boss will realise that people will be disappointed with the slightly stingy general practice or will at least re-advertise it as rice and 3 – the buffet tag implies something more substantial. I’ve no idea what will happen next time. In short – on this side of town it’s a no brainer – go here. But I probably wouldn’t come to this side of town just to do so. The food’s fine, but not exceptional, and the place hasn’t quite settled into itself.
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