Parvizi Eats: The Mahal

BAYAN PARVIZI joins the rest of the Tab team for a quiet meal at the epicentre of neocolonial fuckwittery.

food Mahal Parvizi Swap swaps

The ambrosia of Olympus, The Mahal (officially known as the Bombay Brasserie, Miller’s Yard off Mill Lane) is the Claridge’s of informal swaps. The Tab decided to pay a visit to see what attracted pilgrims to this Mecca of masala.

Innocuous to the naked eye this den of iniquity lies between the dormant New Orleans and DoJos (the poor man’s TeriYaki), and God/Allah spare the poor family who had wandered in for a nondescript dinner the night The Tab et al decided to savor the cuisine of the sub-continent. Admittedly, in the winter of 2003 I was such an innocent, during interviews at college, my family and I went to The Mahal for some hearty fare; yet in those days I didn’t have my name + a heart = phallus scribbled in the toilet. Textbook banter apparently.

People often refer to the last days of Rome: sexy, promiscuous and erotic. The Mahal on the other hand is more akin to the last days of Delhi; Mountbatten has found out his wife has been having it off with Nehru and subsequently decided to wreak havoc over a Bhuna. Rome included lustful yet beautiful orgies whereas The Mahal has groups of post acne teens banging knives against horrendous Sicilian bottles of wine whilst declaiming: “Fine! Fine! For whoever’s got a hairy fanny!!!” To the credit of our editorial team we avoided such baseness, our equivalent being “Fine…for the someone who hasn’t yet written an article,” upon which a gentleman stood up drunk his half a glass of wine and sat back down – quite the burning monk on the grand scale of things.

This eatery offers very little in terms of culinary experiences, with countless swaps patronising the establishment, the staff have been long inoculated from charm, manners and who can blame them? British or foreign, the staff, like I did, had expectations of what the crème de la crème of the academic aristocracy had to offer and instead all one sees is disgust in their faces and on anyone else who is vaguely sober. “Fine! Fine! Stand on your chairs and knock the ceiling panels!!!” “Fine! Fine! Run to any wall!!!” Such actions are intolerable in anyone’s toilet and yet perfectly acceptable in this restaurant. Unfortunately The Mahal represents a form of neo-culinary colonialism, boys in Technicolor ties arrive, act horrendously and pass it as banter. There’s no doubt the food, Korma, Bhuna, Rogan Josh is shit, but for once the customer is not right. If we were, the food would undoubtedly improve, but are we ready for it to do so?