Ifraaz Witham: I tried the ‘best’ Indian restaurant in Essex and one big thing let it down – Hope Woolston

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Last week was National Curry Week.

To honor this occasion, I decided to try Essex’s top rated Indian restaurant.

Ifraaz, in Witham, says it’s the top-rated Indian in Essex and in the top 10 percent of the world’s restaurants on TripAdvisor.

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On the review website, it has 270 five-star reviews.

Reviewers comment on good food, friendly staff and charming decor.

I wanted to see if that was all there was to do to get myself booked a table for a Saturday night.

Hidden



The main restaurant looked lovely

Despite having reserved a table several days in advance, I had to wait for it to be ready when I arrived on time.

While not a big deal, for a restaurant that claims to be one of the best, it was a bit of a letdown.

We had to wait just under 10 minutes for our table, while several groups that arrived after us were taken to their homes.

In the meantime, I was able to admire the decor of the restaurant, it was magnificent.

There were glittering walls, twinkling lights, and gorgeous teal blue seats.

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Because of this I was a bit disappointed with where we finally sat down.

Our table was in a side room that looked a bit like a reception hall.

It wasn’t as pretty as the main restaurant and the atmosphere was completely dead, especially when the staff were walking around to take something out of a staff room, letting in a huge draft.

Luckily my fiance is good company so I could forget about the fairly average play.

Something to drink



My Mojito
My Mojito

We were asked if we would like drinks and papadums quickly enough.

They arrived soon, but then we were left for about 15 minutes before our food order was taken.

Not sure what the service was like in the main restaurant but we felt a bit forgotten in the side room.

Ifraaz prides itself on offering cocktails.

It was a really good change as I don’t think I’ve had a cocktail in an Indian restaurant before.

I ordered a mojito – one of my favorite – but was a little disappointed when it arrived.

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It looked pretty basic, but for the price I didn’t expect all the bells and whistles.

Regarding the taste, it was ok but only ok. It had a very strong lime taste, but I really couldn’t taste the rum as it needed something to sweeten it.

I then tried a Pina Colada which again lacked the alcohol punch.

Entrances



The entrees were amazing
The entrees were amazing

We didn’t have to wait too long for our entrees to arrive, and when they did, they looked awesome.

Between us, we shared the Bhajee onion and the Tandoori king prawns.

Both were delicious.

The king prawns looked more like crayfish but were very very tasty and cooked to perfection.

Normally I can only eat one onion bhajee as I find them very heavy, but these were light and crisp, so I managed two.

There was really nothing to complain about with our entrees.

The biggest disappointment of the night came then.

A real shame



Our dishes - when they finally arrived
Our dishes – when they finally arrived

Our driveways were cleared fairly quickly so we expected our principal to be on the way. No.

We had to wait a very long time for our food to arrive.

Our reservation was at 8pm, but we didn’t have dinner until around 9.20pm, 50 minutes after our entrees were served.

While we were not really hungry, this wait seemed far too long.

My partner actually drank a whole glass between courses.

When our food arrived we were very impressed however.

I had the Mango Murgh with garlic rice and my other half had the Tandoori chicken with egg fried rice.

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We also shared a garlic naan and Saag Aloo.

Again the food was amazing.

It was full of flavor and tasted very fresh.

We were particularly impressed with the rice which was much better than anything we have ever had at an Indian restaurant before.

It was full of fresh garlic or eggs and was not artificially colored.

I couldn’t eat all of mine, but I didn’t want to waste it.

Luckily the restaurant gave me some take out boxes so I could take them home and enjoy them the next day.

A little disappointment



We have no complaints about the food
We have no complaints about the food

It was such a shame that our food took so long to arrive.

It’s enough to put me off going back, as well as the pretty boring side room.

I can’t deny the staff were very friendly but hidden away we felt a bit ignored.

With such a beautiful main restaurant, it was a bit disappointing to be seated in a very simple room.

The food was really delicious, but I don’t think it was worth the wait.

I would definitely consider ordering a take out if I lived nearby as it was delicious.

However, I have no desire to return due to the slow service.

Our bill was around £ 85 with a few drinks each. It’s on the more expensive side but not outrageous.

I can see how Ifraaz could be considered one of the best Indian restaurants for food alone, but not for anything else.

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