Kashti Not Cushtie
I have previously dined in Broadgate’s Kashti Restaurant on previous occasions and been impressed with the food relative to its reasonable price point. Although I fell off my chair in hysterics as one TripAdvisor reporter advised Kashti provided the: “Best Curry In England”. I can categorically advise this is bollocks.
Like most Indian/Pakastani restaurants, Kashti suffered from the delusion that the more complicated the menu, the better it is. Twenty-eight starters, ‘Traditional Favourites’, ‘Classic Favourites’, an ‘Early Bird Menu’ available practically 24/7, combined with ‘Set Meal’ options and ‘Half Price Food’ all await the bamboozled bargain baji hunter.
The big issue was that despite booking, the kitchen seemed stunned this would entail producing anything. It took forty-five minutes not for the meal to arrive, but just for someone to take the food order. If I’d have known, I’d have brought a packed lunch. Two and a half hours later after arrival, the main courses were served, then unceremoniously wolfed down in five minutes by the ravaged crowd. Not only did the kitchen smash the previous world record for the World’s Slowest Curry, but it all frustratingly arrived in drips and drabs.
Firstly the plates, five minutes later the bread, five minutes after that the rice – as though this carefully staggered arrangement was the preferred way to eat curry. This sea of empty of plates, without any explanation for the lack of anything edible, was the culinary adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes. The first couple of dishes arrived, diners waiting politely for ten minutes for the rest to follow, gave in to hunger and ate awkwardly in defeat. Some had finished, smoked a cigarette and still had twenty minutes before other’s food materialised. I could have driven from Preston to Manchester, popped in at Tesco, prepared a Chicken Madras from scratch and served it quicker.
Not only that but the restaurant ran out of draught lager; I don’t need alcohol to have fun, but how can a supposed city centre Indian restaurant run out of all drought on a Saturday night? It’s not as though there was a tempting wine list instead. The starving hoard’s spirits were only kept alive by the broken promise of beer. When this turned out to be a mirage, morale sunk to rock bottom.
What made this painful situation explode off the Richter scale of embarrassment was the Kashti manager’s insistence on photographing everybody. There’s a reason you don’t see overstretched doctors taking selfies of bleeding patients waiting in A&E. Why he wanted to document his diners with plates devoid of curry was beyond me.
Regarding the food, the poppadum and sundries were of low quality but almost free, thus difficult to criticise. The starter of the Shami Kebab was light and tasty, with no great depth of flavour but well cooked nevertheless. The Chicken Vindaloo consisted of literally six pieces of chicken, drowned in a bowl of exceptionally thin sauce. The dish had flavour but was not as fiery as its proceeding reputation, and ultimately it was hard to get excited over six pieces of chicken. The Vegetable Rice provided a welcome upgrade from boring basmati, while the Chilli Naan was thankfully grease-free. The Chicken Gurkali was tender and bathed in an exotic mix of whole spices. This Nepalese dish was ideal for those who like heat without melting their minds. The Handi Chicken was handily cooked in its saucepan and provided a flavoursome but more sedate option.
For the sake of your sanity, avoid Kashti Indian Restaurant for group bookings.
Atmosphere 1/10 Cost 10/10 Quality 4/10 Service 1/10
*Since this review was first published, Kashti in Preston is unfortunately no longer with us – hence the lack of link*