Aberdeen’s Monsoona – Healthy Cuisine, Hard on the Wallet

Graeme, Marg and Hector had dined at this locus a few years back.  The venue has  been re-launched in the last year and is under new ownership: Monsoona (20 Bridge Street,  Aberdeen, AB11 6JJ).

We had a choice of venues; Nazma we agree is probably the best venue in Aberdeen with Nawaabs not far behind.  The Jewel in the Crown may have peaked and is in decline comparably.  These were our considerations as Derek texted asking for advice as to where to dine after his visit to the Aberdeen Beerfest.  We were not there; nothing on the list had enticed us.

The first thing Hector spotted on the Menu was how good value the Starters are.  The mainstream ones were around the £4.00 mark with Fish being a Pound or so dearer.  Hector contemplated a Starter until Marg grew my attention to the price of Chapattis.

£2.35 for a Chapatti – they must be kidding!

Graeme has resided in Aberdeen for over a decade and has come to accept what he refers to as Aberdeen Prices.  But £2.35 for a Chapatti?  As regular readers of this Blog will know – up to four Chapattis are issued as inclusive with a Main Course at many Bradford venues.  60p is my idea of a fair price, £1.00 at a stretch but this is extracting the…

Had we not ordered Rice we could have spent £9.40 on Four Chapattis.   When Mr. Holden and also  The Bradford Curry Blog read this they will be bemused.  Somehow a Stuffed Paratha at £3.45 felt like better value.  Hector is losing the plot.  We ordered two plus a Vegetable and Cashew Nut Rice at the same price.

The Waiter asked if we wished Poppadoms.  These were priced on the menu at 85p each, we ordered three.   Four came, plus the Dips, £3.40.  In many venues such as last Sunday at the Delhi Darbar, Bishopbriggs, they were priced on the menu but did not appear on the Bill.  Poppadoms tend to be free in most of the places I dine these days.

In for a Penny… £4.65 a pint…

Graeme is one of the few co-diners with whom Hector will have a Bier – so two pints of Cobra were summoned.  This would put another £9.30 on to the Bill. Marg’s Soft Drink was a more modest £3.25!

We have not reached the Main Courses yet

I could have ordered some Starters and Tap Water, and then left.  Is Hector more of an Aberdonian than the locals?

One can speculate as to the size of a Starter portion given the price of the Mains.  Graeme went for the top of the range Tiger Mix which promised a variety of meats.  Marg went for a safe sounding Lamb Kashmir Rose.  Now it was Hector’s turn and this is where this report does take a more positive outlook.

I was torn between the Naga Zhaal and the Lamb Karahi so I asked our new Waiter for advice.  On describing my preferences he pointed at the dish with the original moniker – Naga Zhaal.  I was informed it was sweet and so I asked if they had Fresh Methi.  They had Dry Methi.  I asked for the dish to be served Dry, with Extra Methi and without the dreaded Capsicum.  The Waiter was most obliging.

Marg’s Kashmir Rose came with large pieces of tender Lamb and Mushrooms, the latter she was not expecting.  This was regarded as a bonus.  There was a definite Kick.

Graeme announced that he would definitely be ordering this dish again.  He had tender Lamb, Chicken and Prawns to choose from.  The Honey gave the dish a sweetness which he clearly enjoyed.

The very expensive Accompaniments went down a treat.  The Paratha were too hot to touch on arrival at the table – this is a welcome feature as they would hopefully retain their edge throughout the meal.  The Rice had a suitable quota of Cashew Nuts.

The Naga Zhaal as ordered by Hector probably bore little resemblance to that described on the Menu.  I had avoided the promised sweetness by having the Green Peppers withheld, the Extra Methi would take care of the rest.  The photos show just how Dry my dish was served in comparison to the others.  The Chef had done exactly as I had asked.  I was feeling better.

Monsoona make a feature of advertising that they serve ‘authentic healthy Indian cuisine’.  ‘They are constantly reducing the amount of oil, salt and sugar they use in their recipes without compromising on the taste of their food…’

My version of the Naga Zhaal was a fine Curry, above average.  It lacked seasoning; therefore the full flavours of the ingredients had not emerged. You cannot cut back on the Salt and expect to make an outstanding Curry. The Venison Curry I was treated to last month at the Punjabi Charing Cross (Glasgow), and the Home-Cooked Karela on Wednesday this week, were both highly seasoned and therefore full of flavour.  Since the Calder Agreement of 1998, Hector has not added Salt to any meal set before him.  I eat my food as it arrives on the table.

The Bill

 £61.15.   Six of us ate the Akash, Helensburgh two nights previously for £77.65 and this included Starters.  Tonight we were a party of three. The three of us ate at the Lahore Karahi (Aberdeen) last year for £35.

The Aftermath

The Waiter accepted the Calling Card graciously.  We told him we had enjoyed the food.  The Bank Balance did not.  The Monsoona website claims the venue is value for money…

I would consider a return visit, but only if the price of the Sundries was at least halved, and it would be Tap Water next time.  Maybe I should stay away.

Derek and Margaret arrived on our recommendation just as we were departing, I must discover how they got on.

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1 Response to Aberdeen’s Monsoona – Healthy Cuisine, Hard on the Wallet

  1. Kevin McGee says:

    brilliant food we love it

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