An incoherent brunch offering that tries to satisfy the many but ends up also leaving the few unsatisfied.
After our original lukewarm review of House of Tandoor a few months ago, we received something unexpected – an invitation back. This time to test their Sunday brunch offering.
Was it the opportunity of a second chance they were after? Had they remedied some of the teething problems we’d experienced the first time around? Maybe they’d implemented some of the advice I’d given? Whatever it was, we were delighted to take up their offer and go back. Nothing tastes better than a chance at redemption.
The Brunch Concept
House of Tandoor is a somewhat watered-down sister restaurant to London’s Tandoor Chop House, which offers an even more ‘Britishised’ version of British Indian food with an emphasis on thalis and grilled meat (two things that House of Tandoor’s menu lacks).
The brunch runs every Sunday from 11am-4pm and is accompanied by a smooth-groove DJ set by Refuge Worldwide.
A third of their brunch menu is made up of dishes taken directly (I didn’t say stolen) from another London chain, Dishoom, who serve English breakfast-style naan breads. A third is a disparate list of breakfast standards, some with an Indian twist and others not. The final part is granola and desserts and things – again, sometimes Indian and sometimes not.
Disclaimer: Fun as they are to write, I don’t often publish negative reviews. If this was some mama-papa restaurant that was just plain bad, I wouldn’t have written this article at all. But this is an expensive restaurant that can buy itself onto Berlin best lists (like the one Exberliner just published). With this in mind, it’s worth hearing a range of opinions before you decide to part with your hard-earned cash.
I’ll keep this review short.
Things that can be made ahead of time to someone else’s recipe and are just assembled by the kitchen staff. We’ve already covered the Coronation Chicken Caesar Salad in our previous review. I’ll just repeat a quote:
“Mild, fragrant, crisp, creamy, light, indulgent… a refined mix of taste and texture that just made mouth and stomach agree that something particularly good was going on. A perfect starter. A perfect main.”
It really is great.
The Chaat Masala was also a surprise win, hitting many of the same crispy-creamy-fragrant notes as the coronation chicken. Easily the best thing on the menu. The Masala (baked) Beans were also pretty good… but we had no idea what to do with them.
Anything from the tandoor. The naans are dry, empty, devoid of both filling and purpose. This one contained half a sausage.
The tandoori chicken (which costs 9EUR a piece) is dry. We ordered 4 pieces. They had 4 chances. All dry. That’s 36EUR. The Tandoori Mushrooms are just… cooked mushrooms that may as well have been boiled for all they tasted. This restaurant seriously needs to change its name.
Welcome to the Funhouse of Tandoor.
The desserts arrive and suddenly we’re at a kid’s birthday party. But sprinkles and canned whipped cream are fun, right?
This unexpected and unwarranted injection of humour into another range of bland, uninspired dishes helps explain the total confusion of this place’s menu.
So, what’s the conclusion?
Well, round 2 at House of Tandoor didn’t improve things. A friend commented, ‘No one goes to brunch for the food’ and, in this case, he was spot on.
I really want to like this place. It’s a lovely place to be, all pastel-palette levels of comfort and smiling, attentive staff. I… I simply don’t know what’s going on behind those kitchen doors.
The menus make zero sense and it doesn’t seem like they have a concept, vision or head chef to control anything. You never know if things are for sharing or for single people or what should go with what or … and they don’t even provide plates so you can share the things that are clearly to be shared. All dishes are mismatched and no one ever knows what they’re ordering or why. Who writes these menus? Are they AI-generated?
The food is another thing. So many examples of simply bad cooking on display. Like, the grilled pineapple in the Masala Chai Chia had clearly been chopped on the same chopping board as onions and garlic because the whole dessert tasted like raw onions and garlic… that weird fish thing… it was clear the chopped vegetables were cut the day before as they had oxidised… and everything that comes out of their tandoor is overcooked. It’s inexcusable, really.
They have a fine kitchen there and access to the world’s best ingredients. I just kept thinking… what amazing things could I (or any actual chef) cook with access to such a kitchen? The mind boggles.
After racking up a 250EUR bill, the four of us each picked up a Bockwurst im Brot on the way home. It was great.
House of Tandoor