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May 11, 2014 | by  | in Food Opinion |
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Masala [Food Review]

Address: 2–12 Allen St, Wellington
Cuisine: Indian
Price: Moderate
BYO: Yes, strict ID checks
Rating: 7.5/10

When I got to Masala on Saturday night, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I’d been there before. Masala is one of a number of very similar establishments – Indian BYOs on Allen/Blair St – which gives it (cue pretentious comment) an air of transience and anonymity that didn’t work for me. However, regardless of this, Masala offers a generally good dining experience, particularly for BYOs with larger groups.

Masala’s strongest point was the high quality of service that they provided. Despite the restaurant being moderately full it was easy to attract staff attention and we were well looked after throughout the evening. From the time we ordered, our meals took less than half an hour to arrive and all arrived at the same time, even though there were 15 in the party.

Having spent the afternoon eating Easter eggs, I passed on an appetiser and went straight to the main course. The menu offered the standard range of Indian dishes, but with a larger-than-usual selection. The range of breads and vegetarian curries was particularly impressive. The garlic naan was unusually good, served hot with plenty of butter and garlic.

I was, however, disappointed by my dal makhani. Although the flavour was good and the portion extremely generous, it was much hotter than you would expect a mild curry to be. Another woman who also ordered a mild curry complained of the same problem. Because I’m really getting into spice-wimpiness-acceptance, I raised the issue with the waiter, who offered to turn it into an extra mild. This definitely improved the heat problem, but the process (which I’m 99 per cent sure was just pouring lots of cream into my dal) left it a little too rich and meant it lost some of the depth of flavour it had had before.

Would I recommend Masala? Yes, with hesitations. It makes a good venue for a larger BYO, with good prompt service, perfectly nice if unremarkable food, and less noise than many places. However, if I were dining in a smaller party, I would prefer a more distinctive and memorable restaurant.

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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