Review: Shamoli, Knutsford
A hidden gem in the heart of the town
“Shamoli” isn’t a place I’d ever visited before. Like most people, I never really knew if it was open or not due to the fact that it often looks closed from the outside (perhaps a few fairy lights would help?). Having been given a recommendation, I thought we’d go and have a meal here, and I am so glad we did. What a hidden gem in the heart of town it is!
We arrived having booked a table for 8.30 pm. We were a little concerned that it would be closed by 9pm, so made sure we got a table for two. How mistaken we were as there was a steady stream of people throughout the evening as they stay open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays – bliss!
The interior of the restaurant is beautiful and in good taste. You eat downstairs in the basement area where there are no windows so it could feel a little gloomy, but they’ve decorated it to make it feel stylish and welcoming. The atmosphere isn’t as good as in other restaurants in Knutsford as there aren’t as many people, but they still have a fair few customers (there were also a lot of people who were regulars too – always a good sign).
The menu is varied, with chef’s specials, classic dishes and tandoori, reasonably priced considering the location. On the back of the menu there is an allergy chart for which they deserve a pat on the back – detailed and very helpful.
The staff are absolutely brilliant, especially the waiter which we had. Such a friendly, helpful and comical man who was the best waiter I’ve had for a long time. He was laughing and joking with everyone which really added to the evening, and as soon as my fellow diner’s glass was empty, he was there instantly to ask if we wanted another.
We were brought poppadoms with the usual dips (pickled vegetable, onion, mango chutney and mint yoghurt), before having the banquet starter for two, a recommendation from our superb waiter. This comprised of tandoori chicken tikka on the bone, which was exquisite, chicken and lamb tikka which were lovely, an onion bhaji, the best I’ve had since actually being in India, a spicy lamb mince and potato samosa and a lamb kebab which was good, but not really to my taste.
As for the main courses, we ordered a pilau rice which was nice, as well as a garlic naan which, although it was on the small side, it was really tasty with a sweet, garlic flavour and a fabulous texture. The chicken Samber was delightful, packed with chicken and it had a brilliant spice to it and a fresh tomato flavour. We also had a ‘highly recommended’ dish of North Indian lamb, but unfortunately this wasn’t as good. Whilst there was a lot of lamb and a good amount of spice to it, it was vinegary, oily and sweet, more of a Chinese dish than an Indian dish, and was very disappointing. Even though it might be ‘authentic’, this doesn’t make it ‘good’.
After our meal, quarters of orange were brought, and we were also given a shot of Bailey’s which was a lovely touch at the end.
As for the bill, I thought it to be reasonable. At £25 a head, we had drinks, two courses and were left feeling very full for the next 12 hours. We were relieved that there was no service charge added (always an issue when it comes to the bill), but we were happy enough to leave a tip due to the exceptional service we recieved. It was, however, a little odd that we were charged for the poppadoms which were brought, but even more so the fact that we were charged for the tray of condiments (£1.30). A little bizarre in my book.
Ultimately, I really do think this restaurant is one to try. They clearly know how to run a restaurant, and it’s harder than you would think to find an eatery where the food is edible and the staff are friendly! Their allergy chart on the back of the menu just goes to show how well they know their market. Fabulous!