Neetu Da Dhaba – not a good Indian place to eat

I think I’ve just had the worst Indian meal of recent years. Desperate to eat something after a long day we called into this place in Overtoom in Amsterdam. The clue should have been the empty restaurant and the fact that you couldn’t order beer. My colleague had said the food was very good but later admitted he hadn’t been there for several years and that the chef might have changed. I should think so!

There is a theory that I have formed over the years. When eating in a Thai restaurant order the Tom Yam soup to start, when in an Indian order some popadums and pickles, in a Chinese … you get the picture. You’ll soon see by the quality of what turns up on the table what the rest of the food is likely to be like. It rarely fails. This time the system worked to perfection. The popadums were dry and stuck to the roof of your mouth. The pickles were only two and both were thin and bland, out of a jar. But by this time we were committed and regrettably had already ordered. The chicken jalfrezi was tasteless, lacking any body or anticipated distinct flavours and the lamb biryani had to be abandoned after half a piece of lamb. It wasn’t actually off … but. The food looked listless and colourless in the bowls.

Being English I paid the bill and left. An early night and no alcohol. What a waste. The thing was, there seemed to be an active trade in take-aways. Can’t imagine why.

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