I rarely get to eat curry. The OH doesn’t eat it, N tends to have a bit at school on occasion, so it’s usually when I go out on a girls night out. Last week was such a girls night out – with some Oxfordshire Blogger friends – to try out Wa Curry in Oxford.
Wa Curry is the type of restaurant you’d want to eat in all the time in terms of caring about its suppliers, the environment and consumers. The company started out with its range of Wa Cuisine indian sauces, sold in delis and local shops, but now has the restaurant on the Ozone leisure park in Oxford.
The ethos is all about meals with a conscience, so for each meal sold, they donate a meal to charity. They support 2 charities in India. One provides actual meals to people who need it, the other charity helps people with farming to ensure they can feed themselves.
The restaurant caters for vegetarians (as many veggie main meal choices as there were meat), and all the main meals curries are gluten free. Vegans are also well catered for. Vegetables are organic and locally sourced with the meat also good quality.
On the evening the 5 of us went along, we met Prad the owner, and he told us all about the restaurant, the background and how it worked. All the staff were helpful, answering any questions we had. I bet not many other customers ask as many questions. The restaurant’s been open around 4 months, and from our experience it’s definitely worth visiting.
I’m not usually that big a fan of buffet restaurants. But the staff were more attentive than in the few I’ve been in before, checking we had enough, whether we needed drinks etc. We didn’t need to call them over, they seemed to know when we needed some guidance or help.
The restaurant isn’t ever going to be a fancy place. It’s situated in the Ozone leisure park opposite Frankie and Benny’s, by the escalators to the cinema. So perfect for a before or after film showing. It wasn’t packed when we were there, but there were couples and bigger family/friends group there, so it definitely caters for all. With lunch prices at weekends priced at £8.50-9.50 for adults and £4.95-£6.95 for children, or evenings from £13.50-£14.50 and £6.95-£7.95 (under 4s £1), it’s good value for a meal out.
The food was delicious. I’m never that adventurous when it comes to curry because I don’t like anything too spicy, but at a buffet, you have a better chance of trying new foods. There was plenty to choose from – starters, then various curry mains – chicken, fish/prawn and lamb, and of course paneer, lentil and other veg based meals. Two different rices, and a choice of naans, plus poppadoms, sauces, and ‘salads’.
As well as the well known korma, tikka masala, butter chicken, rogan josh, dahl, and vindaloo, there were also a couple new to me, including the delicious chicken rezala. We also tried a sizzler dish to share. This came out on a sizzling plate, along with rice and noodles, a mix of meat and tofu. The meat was delicious although I prefer chicken breast so wouldn’t tend to eat drumsticks etc. The restaurant tries to replicate the authentic flavours used in different areas of India and to me it really worked.
For a buffet restaurant, they also encourage their customers not to waste any food. We all know what it’s like with a buffet, fill your plate as much as possible to get your money’s worth. So it’s great to get that reminder. I’d hope that anything you couldn’t finish on your plate, you could take as a goody bag to avoid the waste, but I don’t know if that’s the case.
Remembering not to fill ourselves up too much, we finished off with desserts. I never really expect to find desserts in an indian restaurant, but I couldn’t help trying one. The ice cream was delicious, really smooth, although the dumpling (we thought it was soaked in ginger and it wasn’t) wasn’t my cup of tea.
It was great to try somewhere new, given a chance to try some new curries and eat knowing that we were doing some good elsewhere in the world. And getting together for a proper catch up with some blogging buddies without being at a conference was refreshing. We could have stayed all night chatting.
Was there a downside? For me I would have been happy to reuse my plate again, even if just to return for seconds of main. I think it’s the norm in buffet restaurants for your empty plate to be whisked away while you take a new one, but if there’s not a hygiene reason for doing it, then for sustainability they maybe should ask if you want to reuse your plate or not.
If you’re in the Oxford area, especially if you’re at the Kassam stadium for a match, or going to the cinema, then do check out Wa! Curry.
Disclosure: We were invited to Wa Curry as their guests. All opinions are my own.