Oriental Gardens

Written By: The Lowdown - Nov• 30•00

Eating OutFollowing warm recommendations by friends, we decided to have dinner in the recently re-opened (ex-Chantal’s) restaurant, the Oriental Garden. We were greeted by country and western music which continued all evening. A few men sitting at the bar, otherwise the place was empty. There were checked cloths on the tables, and one could admire one’s reflection in the full-wall mirror, but nothing suggested anything even faintly resembling ‘oriental’.

The food on offer is Indian and Continental. We, a party of 4, chose Tandoori chicken (K15,000), prawns (K28,000), Nile Perch (K18,000) and Pepper-steak (K20,000), omitting starters. The menu said all Indian dishes were accompanied by either rice, naan or popadam and raita. This turned out to be untrue. The food was a long time in coming – which, in an empty restaurant, is understandable (I presume the chef has to defrost things first).

We ordered drinks: two water, one beer, one glass of wine. The beer was frozen when it came, the water had turned into lemonade. We sent it back; the waiter apologised. And then he hovered. I don’t know what he was waiting for. We asked him to remove himself while we were talking. He did.

We then were offered two popadams, an advance on the meal accompaniment. We munched popadams. And waited. Finally the food came. The Tandoori chicken was just that, a leg and thigh of a chicken with a few chopped cabbage leaves on the side. The prawns likewise: ten shrimps (NOT prawns) cum cabbage, nothing else. The fish and peppersteak were alright; they came with rice and the obligatory cabbage. What of the naan? It was brought. No raita. Later we found naan and popadam on the bill (at K6,000 each), the side-salad was K7,000. The total bill came to K145,750 – not much in these days of high inflation but too much for what was offered.

Management was not in sight. And, because it is always futile to complain to staff – especially to ill-trained waiters as encountered at Oriental Garden – we didn’t. Needless to say, they won’t be seeing us again – ever.

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