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