Jehangir Indian at Swinger Hill

12 May

It’s a chilly May night when we arrive for a group dinner for 7pm at Jehangir Indian in Swinger Hill. The first thing that strikes me is the decorations…

2013-05-10 18

There’s a wreath on the front door. Not just any wreath. A Christmas wreath. Inside the brightly lit restaurant, Christmas baubles hang from the light fixtures. Not just a few, forgotten Christmas baubles. They’re everywhere. I’m incredibly confused. It’s May. It’s too far from December, and too early for Christmas in July. Why are there Christmas decorations?!

The staff are attentive and patient as we take quite a bit of time to decide what we’re eating. A younger staffer member later takes our orders, and goes about it strangely – she starts at one end, then does the other end, before taking the orders from those seated in the middle. There are only eight of us, and it’s not like the restaurant is too crowded to make reaching those in the middle difficult.

In fact, the restaurant is empty, and – apart from our party – remains empty for the entire two and a bit hours that we’re there. The phone rings occasionally, and a few people come in to pick up their takeaway. But that’s it. The coffee machine sits against a wall in the dining area, and three or four staff stand around it awkwardly for most of the evening.

Is this common? I've never seen it before

Is putting table numbers on walls common? I’ve never seen it before

Despite there being only eight of us in the restaurant the entire time, the waiter’s system of ordering means we have to claim our dishes when they arrive – they’ve no idea who ordered what. One diner’s (plain!) naan takes over 10 minutes to arrive after everyone else’s dishes have already been served.

All that said, the food is delicious. I’ve ordered the chef’s specials from the blackboard (rest assured, I don’t think they ever change – what’s on the blackboard is exactly the same as the picture of the blackboard on their website): shahi paneer ($16.95) and anchovy naan ($6.95 – I think it’s the most expensive naan they have).

Shahi paneer

Shahi paneer

The shahi paneer is amazing. The cashew nut gravy’s texture is creamy and tangy, and the cottage cheese is fresh. Too often, I think Indian restaurants‘ shahi paneer has cottage cheese which is too chewy, but this is really soft and flavoursome. I’m impressed. It’s a big call, but it’s probably the best I’ve ever had.

2013-05-10 29

The anchovy naan is a slightly different story. I had no idea that anchovy naan means ‘anchovy and onion naan’. While anchovy naan might seem a questionable choice to begin with, I actually don’t like finely chopped onions – neither the taste, nor the texture. And this onion seems raw. Fortunately, I can easily scrape it out. The naan itself is both crispy and chewy, and – while again a questionable combination – the anchovy naan does go quite well with the paneer. Yum! I scrape my plates clean (but leave the onion). The rest of the group agrees their meals are delicious.

At around 9pm, the staff start packing up around us. The white paper table mats are pulled from a hole above the door into the kitchen, and they replace dirty ones on other tables. If that wasn’t signal enough, they start to pull down the blinds. We take the hint.

It’s a really good meal (aided by excellent company), and well priced. However, the combination of an empty restaurant, unexplained Christmas decorations and the loitering staff all but kill off any ambience. The food’s worth it, but I think I’ll stick with their takeaway.

Just in case you had any doubt about the Christmas decorations - there's a Christmas tree.

Just in case you had any doubt about the Christmas decorations – there’s a Christmas tree.

Date: 7pm-9.20pm, Friday 10 May

Where: Jehangir Indian Restaurant, Swinger Hill Shops

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile (for food); Not worthwhile (dining experience) (this is no reflection on the excellent company)

Want more? Strangely enough, Jehangir has an excellent and detailed website.

I also can’t help but share their Google Maps image on their Dining Info page:

Jehangir Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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8 Responses to “Jehangir Indian at Swinger Hill”

  1. Gary Lum May 13, 2013 at 5:52 am #

    Sounds like a good takeaway place. I don’t think I’ve ever visited Swinger Hill.

  2. Amanda Caldwell May 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    We’ve eaten at Jehangir many times over the past 25 years, although I guess not so much the past 15 years. I’d even call it an institution. Food there has always been very good, it’s a shame that it doesn’t seem to be attracting large numbers any more. Note to self: go there, at least for takeaway in the next few months. Thanks for the reminder.

    • inthetaratory May 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

      The sign on the front says they are under new management. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

      • Amanda Caldwell May 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

        Maybe. Might just be a generational handover? Especially if the menu seems unchanged. Will check it out.

  3. chrispy May 14, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    Jahangir had a branch locally at Holder shops for a while. Food was great. Business acumen questionable.

  4. Singla June 6, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    If you read this you will know the truth ………

    In fact, the restaurant is empty, and – apart from our party – remains empty for the entire two and a bit hours that we’re there

    If the restaurant was empty … Then why the staff the staff start packing up around us. The white paper table mats are pulled from a hole above the door into the kitchen, and they replace dirty ones on other tables.

    That’s all your word ….

    It is very easy to miss guide people through fake feedback

    • inthetaratory June 6, 2013 at 8:57 am #

      The restaurant was empty while we were there. I took plenty of photos. They replaced tablemats on one or two tables. I expect those may have been used before we got there. Packing up does not meaning cleaning up (there wasn’t much to clean), but just putting things away and pulling down the blinds etc.

      I agree my comments could have been clearer but they are not wrong and I do not think they are misleading. The restaurant was empty and did remain empty while we were there. I can only report on the experience while I was there – what I see and experience. It is possible it is different on other nights, but surprising to be so empty on a Friday night.

      Thanks for your feedback.

    • inthetaratory June 6, 2013 at 9:01 am #

      And, yes, it IS my word; I agree. This is my review blog – my opinions and experiences. This isn’t an essay where I survey and collect other peoples’ views and experiences. I can only report on my experience at the time. In this case, the food was great and the restaurant was empty.

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