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“Good quality Bangladeshi cuisine”
Review of Balaka

Ranked #74 of 225 Restaurants in Woking
Dining options: After-hours, Delivery, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Delivery, Reservations
Reviewed 12 May 2017

This place is one of our favourite reasonably priced Indians around, with an emphasis on Bangladeshi cooking- they do all the normal faves but have some quite unusual dishes that are worth exploring - the bangladeshi fruit dish with lamb is a favourite...sort of sour citrus fruit with starch texture. Service is friendly, prices are good - recommended

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Thank James M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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16 - 20 of 132 reviews

Reviewed 25 April 2017

Out of all the Indian restaurants in the UK, I had the misfortune to try out Balaka for their Sun afternoon "buffet" (as advertised). Should've turned around then when I saw the place empty, save for me and the mrs. We arrived a little after 1PM with a stop time of 2PM. When I asked our 'attendant', will we still have time to eat, he of course said 'No problem'.

We venture forth anyway and immediately are alarmed that there's no buffet to be seen. Did we miss it? Of course not. It only started at noon! The attendant (can't call him a manager as I'll explain later), tells us that everything is cooked to order and served to our table. So it's NOT a buffet as advertised and just as slow as a normal sit down meal! Can we choose what we like? Not really. 'Don't worry. I'll order your starters and then your mains will follow' says our attendant.
Translation: You get EVERYTHING even if you don't want it.

Last I checked, a buffet allows YOU THE CUSTOMER to choose what you'd like and not like to eat in the proportion you choose. We weren't allowed this option. The attendant will just bring it all out and you hope for the best but be sure you don't waste anything because I'm sure there's a surcharge!

Our next discovery was that some of the items listed were 'not available this week', in particular the Prawn Rogan, Chicken Tikka Masala and one of the starter kebabs, which are listed in the flyer advertising this ersatz 'buffet', were absent. When I remarked to the attendant that these items probably won't be available next week or the week after, he didn't rush to defend the restaurant. Instead he smiled broadly as if to say, 'yes you're right.'
When we asked for more starters after all the mains that we didn't want came out, it was as if we were imposing on the kitchen and what a burden with a 'full house' of 2! Our attendant informed us we'd be waiting another 15-20 min. because the mains already came out.

I haven't as yet reviewed the food itself so..... the starters for the most part were nice. Properly cooked and seasoned. Not exactly my taste but well done none the less. As for the mains, most were pretty atrocious. Either too spicy with chunks of hot chili peppers and cloves ruining the flavour ( i.e. Lamb Dhansak) or sickeningly sweet, jarred, econo-supermarket korma sauce. (BTW, that was the substitute for the missing tikka masala.) The pilau rice came out crunchy and undercooked which we replaced with plain which was better. The veg dishes were just so-so and easily fogotten. Overall, recipes were dull, lacking flavour and not of the best quality ingredients to be sure.

After being discouraged from reordering the starters, we finally get to dessert and coffee or tea. As advertised: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream.
SURPRIZE! ONLY chocolate is available and the best part? It's now close to 2PM and the freezer is locked! 'I'm sorry' says the attendant. 'Would you like coffee or tea?'

I enquired, 'Is it at least drip coffee or possibly masala tea?
'No sir, it's instant coffee and tea bags.' (Just like your local greasy cafe!)
My annoyance level boiled over to a frenzy at this point. I went into a tirade about what a shambles this place is: the food, the service, the outright blatant false advertising to get people in the door for this farce. I demanded to talk to the owner. Our attendant said he was here earlier but had left for the day. I suggested that for all our aggravation during the meal, he should at least deduct half off for us putting up with this nonsense.

'Oh I can't do that. I'm not the manager. I'm just helping out.' Funny that as he had been thwarting us all day from getting what we requested. Seemed to be in charge up to that point. Now he was suddenly an 'attendant'. Again I say that because a real wait person would've been more cooperative and professional in both manner and appearance. After explaining that there will be no quarter for this restaurant when I leave an honest review on the web, he could now magically open the freezer for the ice cream and if we wanted our starters, that could be out in a few minutes.

Amazing, no? Well too little, too late. We were done with him, his lacky attitude, the kitchen failures, the completely fraudulent flyer adverts with non-existant items, the whole lot.

In summation, there are too many Indian restaurants in the UK to put up with this BS.
You would be wise to steer WELL clear of this poor excuse for one!

I DARE the owner to comment back and attempt to defend this disaster.

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2  Thank moon s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2017

We enjoyed an early Saturday evening dinner at this small restaurant. The food was of excellent quality and tasted great. The service couldn't be faulted.

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1  Thank harvey2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2017 via mobile

Excellent service, couldn't fault it.
One of the dishes was so over seasoned, had to send it back. First time I've ever done that in any restaurant we have visited. Apart from that, all was good.

Thank Mat S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2017 via mobile

A first visit and I will certainly return , reading other reviews I was concerned it might be hit and miss but for a midweek change it was certainly a hit
Bangla beer which is not always available with a couple of poppadoms whilst I looked at the specials , I opted for the duck dish with coconut rice , it was full of flavour without being too salty or having too much chilli added
My friend who eats here regularly has good rapport with the friendly waiting staff and is being encouraged to be more adventurous , so I was also intrigued to try his shaktora , which again was very tasty
I would have reservations on eating in on a busy Saturday night with takeaways flying out the door , but on my own experience it was very good .

Thank gary w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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