Tharavadu has been on our 'To Eat' list for a while now, we couldn't get in on our last meal out together, so we were all looking forward to going last weekend.
The restaurant is feted with a number of awards, most recently Best Indian Restaurant at the Oliver Awards. So we were expecting great things.
We arrived early, not being able to decide if it was worth trying to go for a drink for 25 mins before our table - but that wasn't a problem and we were able to take our table immediately. It took us a while to decide what we'd all have to eat, with a number of mind changes as we discussed the options. We did find the menu quite difficult to navigate, getting drawn into the bit of blurb for each dish - I didn't mind it though, and liked the recommendations of what side to have with each dish.
I ordered chilli paneer to start, I know - I'm so predictable, and then the Malabar Khozi Biryani for main. Biryani isn't a dish I normally go for, it's more something I'd make and have at home (my parents do a fantastic lamb biryani), but I really fancied something ricey - particularly because I know I can't tolerate anything breadwise at the moment.
I can't quite remember what everyone else had, there was a fish curry in there, and a chicken dish too, and some squid rings and prawns in with the starters. I should have written it down, or kept our receipt - you'd think I would have got the hang of this now, I've been blogging for a good eight years now!
I enjoyed my food, I'd go as far as to say mine was the best of the main courses, but I think the squid rings were the winner of the starters. The paneer was well spiced, and really tasty - and such a large portion too, I wasn't expecting it to be quite so big. We'd had popadoms and a pickle tray too, so by the time we'd had some of our mains we were all stuffed. The biryani was delicious, quite spicy, but I liked that. Lots of big flavours, and then the delightful little pop of sweetness with the sultanas.
Service was very good - nothing was too much trouble, especially with multiple drinks orders. Our welcome was warm and friendly, and despite it being very busy, the staff were very polite and not flustered.
I would go back just to have that biryani again, and maybe be more adventurous and try and different starter - but my dining companions were a bit underwhelmed by the experience. After all the hype we'd seen we really were expecting something fabulous.
My only negative - and this is a stupid negative - the floor is crazy slippy, I nearly ended up in another diners plate on the way back from the loos! Next time I go I'll wear flat shoes, not ridiculously high Jimmy Choos!
Price wise, I thought it was very reasonable, and was expecting to pay more - for my portion of the popadoms and pickle tray, starter, main and 2 diet cokes it was only £21 - those that had rice/breads and were drinking their bill came to around £30ish.