My Ratings : Food: 7/10, Service 6/10, Value for Money 8/10
I’ve been visiting the Ajanta for three years. I still haven’t found a better Indian in the area. Don’t be put off by the garish decor. These guys know what they are doing.
It is worth mentioning that if you’re a fan of the more rough and ready type curry houses you find in Southall or Tooting, you may not be so taken by the Ajanta. It caters for the locals in Shepherds Bush and so is not necessarily “authentic” Indian, as my father says. I, however do not think this is a bad thing at all. The food is very good and the presentation isn’t bad either.
The service here is very efficient and mostly polite, even though the head waiter does seem a bit sullen at times. There was one exception to this, when I really did feel like I was being rushed. I put this down to the fact that it was nearly closing time, the restaurant was being refitted and the staff were dealing with a very rude table of customers. Ninety percent of the time the service is great.
The Ajanta has a very varied menu. As well as the usual favourites there are some nice house specialties. I particularly like the Persian Pillaws, which are similar to biryanis. Another unusual item is the Thali. This is a selection of curries served with raita and naan. It would be a common thing to have in an Indian household but I have not seen many restaurants do it here. The Ajanta Thali comes in a meat (chicken and lamb) and a vegetarian version.
It is hard to start recommending dishes, here because they are all very good quality. My favourites are the king prawn dansak and the persian pillaws. The prawn puree starter is excellent as is the daal soup. I’d recommend taking the king prawn option for any curry you choose. It will be slightly more expensive but you get plenty of nice juicy prawns. Chicken curries seem to be the ones to avoid as the meat tends to get a bit dry.
As with many Indian restaurants, the wine list here is a bit limited. However, they do serve Mateus Rose, which always makes me happy! The prices are reasonable. Most curries cost around £8, (so £11 by the time you add rice). A thali is £12. Wine is around £10 per bottle.
In conclusion, if you happen to be in Shepherds Bush and want a curry, this is a good very good place to try.