Garden of Gulab

Sector: 130-134 Wokingham Road
Stardate: Friday 19 October 2001 (Second encounter)
Event: Starship curry supplies running dangerously low
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We were forced to make an unscheduled landing here, and feared the worst when we discovered that the planet had been taken over by Miah's Empire sometime in the 1.5 earth years since our last mission here. Fortunately the indigenous culture was still intact, and in addition to the cuisine that we had all enjoyed last time, there were a multitude of new and exotic-sounding dishes to wave our tricorders over.

AMBIANCE Please bring back your old CD

Decor: Dubous "Golden sands" yellow and "David Icke" turquoise colour scheme. Subtle lighting provided by "art deco" lamps, but let down a little by Granny's curtains.
Music: Dismal. We were exposed to the full gamut of bad curry-house music. First there were a few pseudo-nostalgic "Clayderman plays sitar" numbers, followed by what sounded like electronic pan pipes. The next one was so awful we actually inquired its name - apparently we had been enduring "Indian tunes on piano". The final insult was an Indian version of Wham's "Last Christmas". At least it wasn't very loud.

SERVICE Very good

Time to get served: 20 minutes.
Favourite menu description: "Expertly scooped potato barrels packed with royal cumin-spiced milkcake, paneer and fresh pomegranate seeds. Then soaked overnight in rosewater and bathed in yoghurt and saffron gravy" (on "Miah's Aloo Ka Qorma"). I just had to have it.

STARTERS Excellent

Popadums and Chutneys: Crispy. Great choice of six different dips.
Lime pickle: "Strong and tasty".
Onion bagees (1.95): "Flavoursome and delicious" - crispy edge goes all the way to the middle.

MAIN COURSES Some very interesting new dishes in the Contemporary Menu

Maih's Aloo Ka Qorma (5.95): "Linda McCartney sausages in a korma sauce" (Hogan).
Khas Murgh Khajana (6.95): "Escalopes of chicken" - a mild sauce, but "really really nice" (Osbourne).
Lazzate-Omar (5.95): Somewhat mild korma sauce, but "hard bits good" (Spencer).
Dorbare-Subzee Bahar (6.95): "Exceptional! But tastes like Christmas pudding" (Pocock). Comes with two separate sauces, but both citrus tasting. Also, food is served in a rather unstable vessel heated by a candle - "totally unsuitable for a drunk person".
Vegetable Kofta Malai (6.50): "Great balls of curry" (Dixon).
Chicken Madras (4.95): "Fairly gentle, weak even" (Woollings). Seemed like a whole chicken.

MISCELLANEOUS
Buffet option Egg-fried rice Sweet Lassi Liqueur coffees Hot towels Sweets with bill

Key: Yes No Too drunk to remember

FINAL VERDICT

Our previous away mission to the Garden of Gulab, was so good that it resulted in the awarding of the prestigious 5-Cobra Ring Stinger award. A number of reconnaissance missions since then have reported back that conditions had deteriorated somewhat, and were confirmed on this mission, particularly in regard to the awful music. However, the exotic new dishes on the Contemporary Menu (8 new starters and 11 new main courses) were a unusual and enjoyable, although in the most part they were a little too mild. We look forward to follow-up missions in which more of them can be sampled. The scores of the individual away team members ranged between 3.5 and 5, and the consensus rating was 4 Cobras: