Listed in Restaurants and Cafés
228-230 Cowley Road
Cowley Road Area
Mon-Sat: 12:00-14:30 & 18:00-23:30, except Fri: 18:00-23:30, Sunday buffet 12:30-23:30
Telephone: 01865 794945
Fax: 01865 794956
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Reviews of Aziz
I wrote a glowing review about eating in Aziz recently so today I decided to try out their new takeaway delivery service (I usually have takeaways from *another Cowley Road Indian restaurant*, which are gorgeous). I liked the fact that I could pay Aziz online as I didn't have much cash on me, and *the other restaurant* didn't offer this. However:
1. *My usual favourite* do free delivery. I had to pay Aziz £5 to deliver because my order didn't reach the (rather high, I thought) minimum.
2. When I order from *my usual favourite*, they tell me the estimated time of arrival and always beat it - usually delivering within 30 mins, sometimes 20. After placing my online order with Aziz, I had an email confirmation but no estimate of when it might arrive. After an hour and a half of waiting, I was starting to wonder if there had been a glitch. I called the restaurant and after 6 rings, nobody answered. I decided to wait and hope.
3. When *my usual favourite* deliver, the food is always still hot when it arrives. The food from Aziz was cold. I had to reheat it all in the microwave. My naan was like floppy cardboard. The food tasted good but it was off-putting to have a mouthful of cold curry.
4. When *my usual favourite* deliver, they give you a couple of free poppadoms, two yummy dips, and a salad. With Aziz, I got two hand towels.
5. The portions from *my usual favourite* are big enough that the food stretches to two dinners for me. The Aziz was only just enough for one meal, and I'm a small eater.
So overall, this cost me a lot more than *my usual favourite*, took more than three times longer to arrive, was cold, the portions were smaller and there were no freebies. Consequently I can't recommend them for home delivery at the current time.
Visited Aziz on Friday evening for the first time in about a year, a bit nervous because of its long-standing reputation for bad service. We were ready for the notorious wait for the food, or having to ask three times for a drink... But I have to say THIS COULDN'T BE MORE WRONG!
We hadn't booked but, after being offered a drink at the bar, we were quickly shown to a very nice table for two within 5mins. Throughout the meal, the staff were attentive but not in the way. They spotted what we needed before we even had to ask, such as more drinks, or an extra table to put all the gorgeous dishes on. The staff were friendly, efficient and polite at all times. In fact, it was the best service I've received from an Oxford restaurant in some time! I was so impressed and so surprised that I felt I had to write a review to correct the bad reviews.
Maybe it was bad before and they are now trying hard to raise their game. Certainly for us (in mid-January 2012) the food was gorgeous, the service was unusually good, and we had a wonderful experience. And oh the black pepper chicken - how I have missed you! Well done Aziz.
Great food, we have an array of indian establishments to choose from, but this one does stand out. Agree with previous reviewer, friendly service and what a lamb rhogan! We want on a Saturday - very busy, so if possible try to get down there on weekdays.
Definitely good food but they also deserve strong recommendation for accessibility. I went last week with a friend in a wheelchair and the staff were very helpful, quickly producing a ramp to get over the front step and then putting us on a table where there was plenty of room for the wheelchair. They also have a disabled loo. Friendly service too.
Aziz is probably a victim of its own success. The food is good, but the place seems to melt down when busy. I've ordered two takeaways recently (on Saturday nights); the first one had omitted a dish (and still charged us for it), the second one had "substituted" a dish for no clear reason & staff seemed irritated when I asked them to change it. Come on Aziz, you can do better!
I absolutely love the food at Aziz, but they really need to sort their bookings out! We took my sister, who was visiting from London, for dinner on a Saturday night a few weeks ago. We had booked for 8.30. When we arrived, they immediately took our coats and showed us to the bar area and took a drinks order. While this is all good and attentive, having had a couple of dicey experiences here, I now suspect that it is a ploy to stop you from walking out ('cos you won't want the embarrassment of demanding your coat back). We waited til quarter past 9 to be seated, and got our main courses at 9.55pm. The food, as ever, was fantastic, but this is the third time in the last few months that this has happened to me at this restaurant, and is seriously making me think about looking for a new favourite Indian. I will admit that on this occasion, I didn't book the table until 6.30 that evening - but if they are already full and too busy, then they should say no, as it gives the impression of a popular and professional restaurant. Rather, it seems that they overbook, which only leaves grumpy customers eating their dinner a lot later than planned. They offered a round of drinks on the house, which we accepted, and were apologetic. If this was the first time that this had happpened then I wouldn't mind in the least, but I'm getting a sense of déja-vu from this place. Perhaps I'm unlucky, but there seemed to be a few others disgruntled customers around the restaurant.
We used to go to Aziz fairly regularly until recently we had an experience that was not so great... A friend of ours was visiting Oxford and we thought of showcasing its best Indian restaurant and took him to Aziz. We were taken to our table and the waiter quickly took our drinks orders - that also included some tap water, which wasn't brought to us with the rest of the drinks. We had to keep on asking about it a couple of times until it finally arrived. The main problem was with our main dishes. After ordering we waited for 45 minutes and decided to enquire about the status of our order once we saw the table next to us getting their main dishes - they had arrived a good 15 minutes after us! Our waiter said he would investigate and then after a couple of minutes turned up with the food, which had miraculously appeared from somewhere. My chicken was extremely overcooked and dry and the sag aloo was clearly burned. We pointed these out to the waiter and his response was that the chicken is supposed to be like that and that the traditional way Aziz does sag aloo is to burn the spinach. He also adviced that in the future we should always make sure that we ask the sag aloo not to be burned. Now, we have had sag aloo many times at Aziz and elsewhere and never it has been burned before. We received no proper apology but at least we got a dessert drink on the house. All in all, we used to love Aziz but after this experience it needs to prove itself to us in order to regain that trust.
Went to Aziz last night with three others and I was pleasently surprised. Out of the party I was the only one who had been before and my last experience was awful. Last night, both the food and the service were really good. Will go back.
The Aziz is the best curry you're going to get in Oxford. Of that, I think there can be no real argument.
Certainly, it's marginally more expensive than other curry in Oxford, but the increase in food quality is more than worth it. There's a balance of flavour and quality of ingredients used that you just don't find in the bland, anglicised crap that you'll encounter in some of the other joints in the centre of town. The variance between dishes is notable, not simply due to level of spice or heat, but because of disintctivenes of flavour and style of cooking. You can genuinely tell your Bhuna from your Jalfrezi from your Rezalla. The cuisine is the most 'authentic' I've encountered in Oxford as well - something that's rather important for me, having grown up eating curry in Southall. In short, you won't be disappointed with the food - portions, quality or otherwise. If the price is an issue, they have a 15% discount on take-away.
The interior of the restaurant is very pleasing; subdued lighting, comfortable chairs and a pleasant atmosphere. The service, however, is lax to put it politely. It's not that the staff are rude or unattentive, more that they just tend to run to their own schedule. You can often wait a strangely long time to be served and venturing in as a large party means that you can often be in for quite an irritating evening. However, book with prudence (early in the evening) and major disaster can be averted. The fact that it remains incredibly popular despite this reputation can only be taken as further testament to the quality of food.
I'd recommend going in at lunch-time for the best possible experience; when the restaurant is nearly empty service isn't an issue, even if the atmosphere is less lively.
The truly wise man will do the following, however: order a take-away. In the time it takes to get ready, go next-door to Kebabish. Order a naan bread there (About £1.50 for a massive thing fresh from the tandoor - best snack in the known world.) and then nip to an indian grocer. Buy rice and lassi there. You get your sundries for about half price, and by the time you've finished doing this your take-away should be nearly ready. Go home, stick on a DVD and have a nice evening in.
Sccye , 31/01/09
We tried a takeaway from Aziz last night and were pleasantly surprised. None of the dishes disappointed at all; the lamb in the lamb tikka masala was superb, and the birianis were pleasantly large. Definitely go for poppadums - unlike the usual disappointing gloop that you get with takeaway poppadums (sometimes even nothing at all), we were given five different pots of delicious dips to go with them. An aubergine side dish also went down very well. Aziz is more expensive than the other Cowley Road options, but you do get 15% off takeaways to partially offset this. Tonight at least, it felt well worth the extra cost.
Mrogosaurus , 10/11/08
After being told that this was the best place for Bangladesh food in the South East, I must say I was very surprised when dining here. Not only, as others have commented, was the service appalling, (when I asked for water glasses the waiter lifted glassed off the table next to us, whilst they were still sat there, and plonked them on ours!) but I also was not impressed with the food. It's average, nothing to write home about and coupled with the service certainly nothing to entice you back to. Plus, as I'm pregnant I asked for a very mild dish and what was served was something so eye wateringly hot that even the two chili fiends at our table had a hard time eating it.
New to Oxford , 09/10/08
Visited Aziz recently for only second time and agree very much with previous reviews regarding the good quality of food, poor service and billing mistakes.
On the night we visited (over the August Bank Holiday weekend) there appeared to a very large party (30-ish) in who had a very large table that took up the centre of the restaurant and everyone else dined around them. This may have accounted for the slow service from the outset as our drinks took took at least 10 mins to arrive (there were only 2 of us!) and we ended up having a second round of pappadums to start as there was no sign of our food.
When the food finally arrived it was excellent - I usually have a Pathia dish in any Indian (though I know technically Aziz is more Bangladeshi) and in particularly a lamb version as I like a fair bit of spice but enjoy the sweet and sour edge this dish offers. Aziz's is excellent and the meat seemingly of reasonable quality (though I really don't know about this). We seemed to receive a side dish of some of potatoes that we hadn't asked for but i put this down to a gesture of goodwill that you get in a lot of Indian restaurants. My dining companion decided to order some onion bhajis during our meal - she asked for 2, naively expecting 2 balls of onion-y grease but was surprised to receive a whole plate-full of onion-y deep-fried strands that could have fed an army. To be fair I'm not having a go at the presentation or the quality as they were excellent but this was hardly a surprise as the waiter seemed to have a fair bit of trouble understanding what she wanted when ordering them.
When the bill came after a final round of drinks we found we had been under-charged! This probably makes up for all the poor reviewers here who have had the reverse of this! The mysterious potato dish was present but we had not been charged for the bhajis or a round of drinks (a saving of at least £10). We weren't going to argue so paid and legged it. I think this probably occurred as we were served by at least 4 different waiters at various points in our meal (at least 2 of which we grabbed as they walked past to get service). Our original waiter (I don't know if they are meant to serve a designated area of tables) seemed to spend most of the night aimlessly wandering the restaurant or skulking behind the bar chatting to his colleagues and the only person who offered any direct service himself was the gent in the suit and tie (I guess the manager).
Would be nice they could maybe pull their fingers out and do something about the poor service and lazy efficiency to bring it up to somewhere near the quality of the food. May think twice about going back next time due to these fairly elementry issues.
Joe B, 05/09/08
Just wanted to say thank you to beeswing for the warning about billing mistakes. As a party of 4 and having been for a few drinks before hand we probably would not have checked the bill had I not been aware of previous reviews. Having dumped the bill on us within seconds of declining coffee we found that we had been overcharged for drinks by £16, which might have been understandable had we ordered more than one bottle of wine. There was no explanation for this or apology - just a big smile, which is reflective of their general attitude towards service.
The food however, is very good (if you can put up with the abrupt staff and being hurried through your meal).
I'd like to see them start doing itemised bills. Until then, my advice would be to keep an eye on the bill.
Aziz has great food but they didn't win their awards for the service. I've been three times now and every time I've had to ask twice for them to get me another drink. Definitely best curry in Cowley, but 4500 miles from Dehli in the centre is also worth a try.
noob , 03/05/08
I went to the Aziz for the first time last night and I cannot recommend it highly enough. When we arrived (at about 8.45pm on a Tuesday night) the place was already packed. We took a seat in the waiting area and munched on some bombay mix, ordered drinks and perused the menu. We were seated at about 9-ish which we felt was reasonable.
The poppadoms were great and brought promptly with a fantastic dip and pickle tray - the chilli pickle especially was brilliant and a change from the usual lime version.
All the food we ordered was really excellent. In our party were one vegan, one vegetarian and two meat eaters, and all raved about the quality of the dishes and there was plenty of it! The rice portions were very large - you probably don't need one each. The vegetable side dishes were fabulous and easily accommodated being vegan, as was the paratha.
We did have a bit of a wait for our main courses but they were very very busy and did apologise. The staff were all smiley, friendly and attentive, especially the barman who noticed the minute your glass was empty.
I'll definitely be back!
My parents and I dined at the Aziz a while ago (and I a few times previously). The service was in fact ok: prompt, courteous etc. The problem is that the food is the most Anglicised I have ever eaten. Bland dishes, little in the way of spice at all. Oh and of course you have to be aware that because they have a high profile, their prices are reflectively expensive. I feel that the interior of an Indian restaurant matters so much less than the foundations of any eaterie - the food.
I'm not normally one for posting reviews on websites, but I'm a little surprised by some of those I've seen here, so I decided to add my own opinion to the debate..
I've been a regular diner (at least twice a month) at Aziz for almost 10 years now, and have used the restaurant for a variety of occasions, ranging from an evening meal with friends, to business functions, I have never had a bad meal there, and I've never had a dinner guest who didn't love it too.. I've taken colleagues from all over the world to try Bangladeshi / Indian food in what is clearly the best restaurant of this type in the Oxford Area, and they have all enjoyed their meals, with all the waiting staff able to help advise those who are unfamilar with Bangladeshi cuisine on their menu selections. The head chef produces consistently excellent food..
The recent refurbishment has done wonders for the interior of the restaurant, which it's probably fair to say was starting to look tired and dated, but now creates a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
If I have to lay some criticism, then perhaps as such a regular diner, I'd like to see the menu change a bit every now and then, or for Aziz to re-introduce the 'specials' menu which has been absent for a while now, but I have several 'favourites', and I'll continue to dine there as regularly as ever.
If you're looking for the best curry in Oxford area, then make no mistake, go to Aziz... in contradiction to one of the other reviews on here; 'The king is very much alive and well!!!'
Dave L , 16/10/07
I'm a loyal regular at the Aziz on the Cowley Road - the restaurant always manages to charm me back, despite getting my order wrong and/or overcharging me almost every time I visit. I guess it's because the food is good!
There are plenty of vegetarian options and it's particularly nice to have a few more unusual choices as well as the usual run of the mill selection. Two of the starters are particularly nice - the dahi vadi (small lentil dumplings in a yoghurt sauce) and the chott potti (potatoes, chickpeas and chopped egg with tamarind sauce). I've always found the food to be very good and the portions are generous. Although eating out at Aziz isn't cheap, it has a nice ambience and always feels a bit special - perhaps not super-special but it is definitely a cut above the average Indian restaurant in Oxford.
Something goes wrong every time, though. There's always something (being charged for poppadoms we didn't order, forgetting our starter, forgetting to charge us for one meal and then not saying thank you when I pointed it out (!), incorrect bill, etc) so do watch out! However, I always find that the waiters are polite - they may not be effusive but I'm sure I've seen a few smiles.
On balance, I'd watch out for mistakes but the food is excellent and the atmosphere is pleasant. I'll definitely be going back.
Ok, after reading loads of reviews I totally disagree with most of you. I was at Aziz with my parents, the food was amazing and service was ok. But after all I'm there for the food not for the service. 9/10!
The Swede , 06/10/07
A friend and I dined in Aziz last night, a Wednesday evening, and by the time we left the place was packed. On the whole I'm left wondering why it has such a strong client base.
Most of the reviews below stress the poor service and the good quality of the food, but the last two times I have been I felt even the food was mediocre at best. The sauces for the popadoms were of low quality, while the popadoms themselves could have just come out of a packet. I ordered a biryani, and while this time the food was okay (though only okay), the portion size was guaranteed to leave me feeling overfaced. I am not by any means a frugal eater and large portions may be a bonus for some, but often lessen enjoyment since you are tempted to keep going when your belly says you have had enough! When we declined a dessert, the bill was automatically dumped on our table, though we had not finished our drinks or indicated we wanted to pay yet.
The food is vastly overpriced - I see no evidence of the quality of food or service that would justify it.
Having been a "regular" at Aziz for many years, I find it impossible to believe some of these reviews. OK, so the service has never been the most smiley, but is generally efficient and professional, if variable at times. The food is always excellent, with a consistency that I have not found at any other restaurant in Oxfordshire. The quantity is sufficient, never too little. The cost is approriately priced. In defence of Aziz, some of these reviews are plainly ridiculous, may I point out :
- "hard sell" on poppadoms - well this is obviously ridiculous given that Aziz only charges for 1 basket, irrespective as to how many one consumes !!!
- Tap water - well come on, who drinks tap water when supposedly trying to enjoy a night out at an excellent restaraunt. They are a business after all !
Aziz has quite rightly in my opinion been nominated yet again n the curry awards for it's quality and excellence. On my last visit on a Tuesday evening, there was a booking for 80 students from Ox Uni, apparently regularly used by the dons/lectures at beginning of term !. A restaurant that is full and turning people away on a miserable Tuesday evening remains a popular, first class restaurant.
For any doubters, give Aziz a break. Go back and have faith, this remains a first class restaurant, comfortably in my opinion the best Bangladeshi in Oxfordshire.
Paul B , 23/09/07
Ate here one evening last week. Service atrocious, food mainly ghastly and horribly overpriced. It has put me off curry restaurants for a long time. The four of us were seated at table that was too small and when the waiter came with an extra dish there was no space on the table so he just handed it to me! Not managing to finish the meal I asked the waiter if we could take the rest away. He managed to "throw away" most of the curry dishes and presented us with two portions of rice and some nan to take home.... The bill came to over £110 which for what we received was astronomical.
I have never been to the Aziz's in Oxford, so not sure on that review!
But if any of you are ever out Burford way, The service, Food and Atmosphere is AMAZING!! so suprised to hear that the sister resteraunt of the most perfect Indian I have ever had has had such bad reviews :-(
5* for the Burford Aziz, Highly Recommended.
Oh dear, Oh dear .... The king is dead. Now I've got to find another one! VERY POOR ON ALL FRONTS. I have tried now 4 times to give them the benefit of my loyalty, having been a very frequent user for 10 years - no more. Poor food, attrocious service (and attitude) a shaddow of what the AZIZ used to be. Stretched too far? I have even tried their newer place by the river - no better. Ho hum back to trawling Oxford for a new king of Indian food in Oxford.
Shakey Jakey (DI User), 06/08/07
If your idea of a good night out is service without a smile then hot foot it to the Aziz. We arrived earlier tonight that the person who had booked and were waved airily into the restaurant even though no one else in the party had arrived, without actually being shown a table - on our own initiative we retreated to the bar to wait. Service was simply rude for the most part - was it because we we were women? I was pushed out of the way and wine bottles literally plonked on the table unopened (thank goodness they had screw tops); the food when it arrived was in disarray with orders mixed up and (- dare I say it?) - the portions were far too large and my dish with prawns was decidedly undercooked. I would say suits ravenous students only. Please do not go to the Aziz on the Cowley Rd if you want a special night out.
Mixed experience at the Aziz of late. Used to be my favourite Oxford indian, but now I'm beginning to look further afield. Went with a party of six and the service was mediocre, at best. Long time to get served, glasses left on table, orders forgotten to confused. The food was reasonable and my husband raved about his tikka mixed grill. However, my chicken jalfrezzi was uneventful and friends who had various vegetarian options (sobzi pathia, sag aloo) complained of their blandness. Generally ok, but standards are falling and they should look to improve if they want to keep up their client base. Not the Aziz I used to know...
Monkey Queen (DI User), 16/06/07
I am happy to read that i am not the only one with mixed experiences at Aziz, love the food, but hate the hard sell on the papadams, and being made to feel guilty for just wanting tap water. Also last time I was there we had a bit of food left and I asked to take it with us. 10 minutes later the food didn't come back, and when i asked about it, they denied that I had requested to take the rest home and didn't even apologise or anything. Had been thinking about trying Cowley road branch in case it was better, but after reading the reviews here, don't think i'll bother.
I just checked their webisite and they don't even offer a set menu so it's no wonder we got the lunchtime buffet leftovers, which, if we'd gone to lunchtime buffet, we could have had for half the price and wouldn't have had to worry about the appalling service and miniscule portions. And the vegetarian 'choice' was rice, tasteless vegetables and some equally tasteless spinach. If you go as a large group don't accept the 'set' menu!
MarkG , 20/03/07
I am amazed this restaurant gets such good reviews. I went there very recently to try it out, as my local, the Bilash in Botley, was fully booked. The service was disjointed and impersonal. I ordered exactly what I had last eaten at the Bilash - popadums, Chicken Bhuna, pullao rice, Bombay potato and ghobi allo (they didn't list ghobi bhaji).
The popadums tasted similar to those ones you can buy and cook (!) in the microwave - too dry and no hint of having been recently cooked in oil. The Bhuna sauce was mainly tomato based and nothing like as rich and tasty as the Bilash version - go there and try it, it's good. I could go on. I have no axe to grind against the Aziz or for the Bilash but, please, all this past glory in 2001 or whenever it was - it counts for nothing if there is no consistency. That's what we curry lovers want.
I have just ordered a takeaway from Aziz. I got home to find that the rice I had ordered and paid for was not there. When I telephoned they were rude, arrogant and unhelpful. No refund or replacement was offered. The food we had was good, but as all these reviews say, the rudeness of the service does not make up for it. There are plenty of other good Indian restaurants in Oxford. The extra price and rubbish service does not make it worthwhile.
This is a follow up review to my last one. I went to Aziz for my birthday on January 6th. The food as always was delicious. They seated us promptly, even before our entire party of 11 arrived. The waiter was good, attentive and polite. They did bring the house wine already open to the table and it did taste watery to me. I thought that was a bit off though I made no complaint. When the bill came they were very difficult about making change for us. So all in all, a mixed bag as usual. I guess the lesson with Aziz is to expect that the food will always be good and the service variable and ask them to open your wine at the table!
Meg , 24/01/07
The food at Aziz is unfailingly excellent, and the service, while a little slow sometimes, is usually good. But my advice would be to book well in advance for busy times, and to arrive earlier than your table is booked for (even if there are only two of you) and be prepared to wait - an 8.30pm booking does not usually guarantee a table until at least 9pm!
Three of us went to Aziz in Cowley Road for Christmas lunch. The restaurant was packed with English families of all generations. It was a buffet lunch. The food was delicious, the house wine good, and the service charming and attentive. I cannot speak too highly of this restaurant. We really had a Christmas lunch to remember. Thank you Aziz!
C H-J , 08/01/07
I went to Aziz on Cowley Road in the summer and had an absolutely delicious butter chicken korma. We did have to ask for our drinks twice, but otherwise the service was pretty good. I think they might have been more attentive had we been drinking wine rather than coke. I am returning tommorrow for my birthday with 10 people. Hopefully we will have a great meal and I can post another positive review!
Meghan , 05/01/07
Well, last time I went it was the best curry I'd ever had; the service was fine; it was moderately expensive, and I enjoyed myself. Remember people posting on these things are likely to be the annoyed ones.
Aziz has a reputation for cooking the best Indian food in Oxford (at least they did before they expanded). Unfortunately, the service has always been so insultingly rude (ranging from the waiters all the way to the manager) that my friends and I have finally decided that even the food does not make up for it. It might be worth trying if you are particularly keen on Indian cuisine and do not mind the poor service, but certainly not the place to take your granny after the graduation ceremony!
Manu Bardo , 30/09/06
Last night I made my first visit to Aziz in Cowley Rd. The service was satisfactory, although not over-attentive. The decor was interesting and pleasant. The food was mostly good - all tasting freshly-made. My only real complaint was that the Chicken Tikka Masala was way too salty. I'm a real salt fiend, and even I thought it was too salty. At no point during the meal did any member of staff ask us how it was. When I mentioned it at the end, I was asked why I'd not said anything during the meal. The answer was, no-one bothered to check on what we thought of our meal, and the staff seemed too busy to interrupt.
MaxT , 10/09/06
I have been a regular at the AZIZ for over 10 years now (must have eaten there way over 100 times) and having tried virtually all other Indian restaurants in Oxford it has consistently remained my favourite....until now. The last 2 meals I have eaten there have been at best average and the last take out I picked up had to be sent back for a refund! What is going on?! I know thay have expanded and now have 4 restaurants (2 in Oxford) - maybe they have had to move the head chef and as a consequence the cuisine has suffered. I will try once more this coming weekend, in fact at the new place on Folly Bridge....but this is my last try before I trawl around for a new champion. Come on Aziz - SORT IT!
Shakey Jakey (DI User), 16/08/06
Whilst the food at Aziz may be delicious, the service is not.
I have been to the restaurant twice now and both times, there has been a problem with getting our table, despite booking. In itself, this would not be disastrous, yet we have been put off by the attitude of the manager towards us: essentially, that we should be jolly grateful for eating there!
Last night, we were kept waiting for three-quarters of an hour after the time that our table was booked: again, irritating (it was my birthday) but manageable. At the end of the meal when the bill came, I politely asked whether the drinks that we had had during the three-quarters of an hour wait might be taken off the bill as a matter of courtesy. I was told that this was unreasonable and that 'rather than demanding at the end of the meal, you should have asked for something free at the beginning and I would have chosen what that would be.' Surely asking at the beginning would be demanding, when the restaurant had failed me?
Going to a restaurant and being spoken to by the manager as though I was a naughty schoolgirl when I am paying is not my idea of a relaxing evening. What a shame.
Aziz has a reputation as the best curry house in Oxford. Although, sadly, I can't admit to having tried quite all of the alternatives, I was certainly curious to discover whether the food was worth the long trek from my house in Jericho, especially given that I had to pass so many of my old favourites on the way.
My first impressions were certainly favourable. Having arrived slightly early we relaxed in comfortable chairs, nibbling on the Bombay mix provided, while our tables were readied. Once seated, we ordered a round of popadoms and some draught Kingfisher while we perused the extensive menu, enjoying the literary gems interspersed with the dish descriptions. When the chutneys arrived with the above, they were an excellent selection and full of flavour.
The menu was varied with a superb combination of traditional flavours and restaurant specialities. Being a vegetarian I was delighted with the number of meat-free main courses on offer. In addition to the menu there was also a daily specials card on the table.
A difficult choice made, I ordered Palak Paneer. When it arrived, the dish was richly flavoured with a good balance of cheese and spinach. The Paneer cheese was probably the best I have ever tasted; light and not at all greasy. My friends chose Chicken Dopiaza and Bangladeshi Fish Curry. The chicken was very tasty with a good heat. Perfectly textured, the meat was well combined with the spices and the dish had clearly been prepared with some care. The Bangladeshi curry was delicately flavoured allowing the natural taste of the fish to come through well without sacrificing the rich spices.
A pleasant surprise when our food arrived was a complimentary vegetable side dish of lightly spiced root vegetables to share. The rice portions were generous and the naan bread light although the puri bread was slightly greasy.
The atmosphere of the restaurant was quiet and intimate. It seemed like the kind of place you could bring a date without the common Oxford worry of a rowing eight or a rugby team taking over your evening! The service was attentive and friendly without being overbearing. The ambience was certainly suitable for an occasion demanding more than an average curry. Despite this the prices were not too expensive for an indulgent treat with no occasion to excuse it! Highly recommended.
For a main meal, bread, rice and popadoms you should expect to pay about £11-13 (maybe a little more for some special dishes).
Laura Duggan , 09/04/04