Although I’ve been driving past Palm Restaurant for several years as I go through Darsait, I’d never happened to eat there. It looks quite fancy, but it’s just one of those places that you see without really seeing, at least for me anyway. I have however, sampled their fare at various events they’ve catered and I’ll admit that the food was delicious each time, which is probably why my expectations were sky high.
I went into the restaurant with two friends on a Thursday night at around 9.30pm and it seemed relatively quiet for the start of the weekend, when restaurants are usually bustling with both noise and people. One of the waiters held the door open when he saw us approaching, which I thought was a nice gesture.
On entering the restaurant, we started looking for a nice place to get seated and although one of the waiters pointed to a cosy corner, we chose to sit at another slightly larger table.
Within minutes of settling down, the menus were brought to us and we quickly started browsing through them. There was a range of different items from Chinese to north and south Indian delicacies. I know Palm Restaurant is quite famous for its Kerala-style food and I asked for dosas, but to my disappointment, they didn’t have them.
The waiter suggested their special menu for the day, which included fish, crab and other seafood items, however, because I’m not the biggest fan of seafood and nor was one of my friends, we opted out and ordered what we felt was right.
My other friend went for golden fried prawns as the starter, while we tried paneer tikka masala (cubes of cottage cheese cooked in thick tomato gravy), achari mutton (spiced mutton cooked with tomatoes and onions) and a Chinese-style chilli chicken for the mains. We also ordered two bread baskets so that we could try the variety on offer.
While we were having a good conversation about the interior of the restaurant, and life in general, some complimentary papads (poppadums) with chutney were brought to us. If I’m being honest, I’m generally not too keen on papads, but these ones were amazing because they were not extremely spicy and came with an incredibly creamy and delicious mint chutney. In fact, they were that good that we asked for a second round.
We were still busy savouring the last of these crispy treats when our food arrived. The breads looked great; there was garlic naan, butter naan, plain naan and roomali roti, all of which looked very appetising.
We tucked into our dishes without further ado and the paneer was nice, nothing extraordinary, but good, although the gravy was almost negligible. It was mildly spiced, but a little more would have made it a lot better. The chilli chicken was rather bland, but the chicken itself was well cooked and tender. My friend was struggling with her achari mutton, apparently because it was not terribly well cooked and came with no gravy. I tried some of it and agree that it was a total disappointment.
At this time we realised that the prawns were getting cold to one side of the table, so basically my friend missed our starter, but she got back to it and stat munching away. I tried a miniature portion and found it to be very oily, not really my type of thing at all – although like I said earlier, I’m not big on seafood.
After a mixed bag of mains, I’d say that the papads and the breads were probably the best things about the meal. The breads brought out the flavour in the food, particularly the garlic naan, and it was kind of the waiting staff to give us the second basket of papads we asked for absolutely free.
When we asked for more chutney, it was there in seconds, so I think in terms of service, the restaurant deserves a very good score. Right through from the waiters to the supervisors, everyone was very cooperative and at their best. However, the food lets them down at the moment.
The overall experience was pleasant, but we did find the food hit and miss – probably because our expectations were too high from the beginning, or maybe because we just made the wrong choices and should’ve gone with our waiter’s recommendation.
Excellent service, food needs to improve
Darsait, opp Kahwa roundabout
Tel: 2447 9580
Opening hours: Daily from 12.30pm-3.30pm (lunch), 7pm-12am (dinner)
Dinner and drinks for three: RO12
Y Magazine reviews anonymously and pays for its meals