We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A gem...honest Indian food at an unlikely place.”
Review of Maharani Restaurant - CLOSED

Maharani Restaurant
Cuisines: Indian
Restaurant details
Reviewed 4 June 2011

On a rainy windy evening we arrived at Islay, exhausted by a long journey that had started at 7 in the morning. We dumped our luggage and went in search of dinner. From earlier TripAdvisor reviews and GoogleMaps we knew this place would be a short walk down the road from our Self-Catering. Was a little skeptical having read the mixed reviews.

We have been traveling around England for a week and had stuck to British food entirely. While we did immensely enjoy that, but being Indians we were just about beginning to miss Indian food. Our skepticism was in part due to reports that in Britain, Indian cuisine is cooked to suit British palates and turns out rather bland to Indian palates. But what a pleasant experience this little restaurant turned out to be.

Just a few small tables, can seat probably 16 max. Basic decor behind a wide glass front. Counter top and the top of refrigerators cluttered with bills and knick knacks. The Scottish Proprietress and the Bangladeshi Chef gave us a warm welcome. We opened a bottle of red that we had bought at the local store (Co-op, about 300 mts up the road from Maharani that stays open till 8pm on all days except Sundays). No corkage...they follow a Bring Your Own policy.

For nibbles with the drink they served Papads (Poppadam - On the house) with four different types of chutneys. Our starters were Onion Bhaji and a Tandoori Platter (Sheek kebab, Paneer tikka, Chicken tikka). Mains were Nan, Rice, Yellow Dal and Prawn Bhoona). We were so full we couldn't manage dessert. Bill...GBP 25.

The ingredients were fresh, cooked after placing order (they do take 20/30 mins to serve), friendly service and the taste....a commendable balance between spicy and bland to suit most palates. I wouldn't say this is the best Indian food I ever had. They sure were heavy handed with food colouring! But certainly quite adequate basic honest food at very reasonable prices. And probably the best option at Port Ellen with its rather limited choices.

We had one other dinner at the Maharani. Equally satisfying experience. Infact we observed something interesting...we had ordered for Alu Gobi (Cauliflower) Sabji. They had probably run out of Cauliflowers. After a quick discussion with the Chef, our dear Proprietress quickly got into her car, drove down probably to the Co-op and fetched fresh Cauliflowers...all within 10 mins. Service! That night our bill was GBP 30 and we were stuffed to the gills!

Date of visit: May 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank ArupGhosh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (55)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

47 - 51 of 55 reviews

Reviewed 14 February 2011

It was a Wednesday evening in February, so I phoned ahead from the Calmac ferry to check they would be open. The answer was yes, but when I got there I was the only customer - I think they probably stayed open specially for me!

I had eaten there a few times before, so I knew what to expect: plain, honest Indian food from a standard menu, freshly cooked to order, and at decent prices. Unlicensed, so remember to take your own beer or wine (no corkage). Friendly, informal service. The surroundings are pretty basic: a few small tables behind a shop window, counter piled with various clutter etc. But this place is a godsend - it amazes me that it stays open through the winter, because there are so few customers outside the tourist season.

I find it incredible that another reviewer should complain about ingredients being fresh rather than frozen, and some dishes not being available - on an island, in the middle of the winter, with ferries being cancelled! And as for 'on a Friday night it should be busy with folk ready for the weekend' - that can only come from someone who has never been to Port Ellen in February before!

Warmly recommended - go there, if only to help it keep going for the rest of us!

Date of visit: February 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank Dhmellor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2011

On a wet and windy night we were looking forward to warming up with a hot curry. They don't have a alcohol licence but were happy to let us bring along a few lagers. Great start, or so we thought. The decor was quite shoddy but we were willing to overlook it - this isn't the city so we shouldn't have the same standards. We did notice a dirty display in the window, dirty flooring and carpeting, splash marks on table and chair legs. All signs that the staff aren't spending much time on cleaning. The overall air of the place is quite shabby and dirty. We ordered from what we found to be a rather varied menu, given this was a tiny little village. Chicken pakora? None left. Vegetable pakora? Yes, but only one portion. We chose that and samosas. As to our main meals everything we asked for was unavailable. We ended up asking what was available and we plumped for chicken pasanda with rice, naans. My friend insists on eating chips with every meal (we are Glaswegians after all) and we asked for a side order with our main meal. We were quite horrified to see our waiter pass by our table two minutes later with one handful of frozen pakora and one of frozen chips. I'm willing to accept that deliveries are difficult, that not every item on the menu is freshly picked that day, but to wander past us with frozen food in hand was a bit cheeky. We worked out the waiter hadn't washed his hands before going to the freezer, we ended up just picking at our starters.

The food was ready in good time and tasted ok, but we experienced further shivers when we were given dirty cutlery. A woman came over with new stuff but we noticed she put the dirty knives straight back in with the others without cleaning them. Our main concern was with the lack of cleanliness all round. Staff and decor could do with a thorough scrubbing - wearing smart black and white clothing only looks good if it isn't smeared with food (as was our waiters). You generally want to see high standards of personal hygeine in staff and this wasn't true here. This could be a wee cracker of a place and on a Friday night it should be busy with folk ready for the weekend. There were certainly enough people passing by. Aside from one person picking up a carry out, we were the only diners. We left our meals half eaten and went home hungry.

Staff are friendly enough, service is quick but it doesn't make up for the overall dingy feeling of the place.

Date of visit: January 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank GlasgowGolem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2010

We ended up in Port Ellen on a cold, wet, windy evening - and all we wanted was something to eat. I have to say that our expectations of the Maharani looking from the outside were not too high - fairly basic decor and only three other diners.
As it turned out, we had one of the best Indian meals I have had in a long time - everything was fresh and very very tasty - and very friendly service.
I recommend it - but remember it is not licensed so bring you own if you want to.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank markjohn2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2014
Google Translation

Date of visit: May 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Maharani Restaurant also viewed

 

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing