Last week our team was taken out by our managers for a curry to say thank you for the work we’ve been doing recently, and the organiser of the meal landed on Majliss on Cowley Road as the place for us all to go. I think of Indian cuisine as being generally quite veggie-friendly and I was happy to look at the menu online and see a long list of things I could order from (which always presents problems though as I’m notoriously bad at making decisions)!
The service was very attentive with people arriving at different times and drinks always being offered quickly. We decided, while we waited for the last couple of people, to order 20 poppodums, which sounded a bit ridiculous but when the two stacks came out they went down pretty quickly. It was 7pm and I was getting pretty hungry so I didn’t mind snacking on a couple of dry poppadums, generally steering clear of the trays of dips where I’m not really sure what’s in them.
There are a huge number of vegetarian options as you might expect, some of which clearly won’t be vegan-friendly, but the menu is labelled quite clearly. In the ‘Chef’s Vegetarian’ section, it says at the top that all dishes contain dairy, but can be prepared without it, and to ask the server if you have any dietary requirements. I picked out a couple of potential options that sounded good and was happy that the waiter seemed very knowledgeable about the dishes when I questioned him and explained what foods I don’t eat. He wrote down my order, including ‘no ghee’ on the notepad, and said he would double check with the chef. He came back shortly after to confirm that it was no problem. Sometimes you’re not really sure when a server tells you that the meal is vegan that they actually know what they’re talking about, but I felt comfortable here that they understood and that the food would be cooked fresh with only vegan ingredients.
As well as sharing a plate of boiled rice (one thing I will say I miss about not being vegan is the pilau rice and naan bread! Though I have successfully had vegan versions at home without difficulty and obviously these are not remotely deal breaker things), I ordered the Special Mixed Veg Bhuna. Chickpeas and aubergine are some of my favourites in a curry so I was sold on that, and it came with lots of onion, tomatoes, potato, and green pepper. The curry was advertised as ‘Hot or Medium’ on the menu and I started off fine but the heat did build while I was eating it so for me this was on the hotter side. I definitely wouldn’t order anything more spicy than this, but I enjoyed it. The vegetables were cooked really nicely so that they all retained plenty of texture, and the flavour was good.
Along with my main, I ordered a side (to share) of Cauliflower Bhaji. Showing my ignorance I had expected this to be a cauliflower version of an onion bhaji but what came out was a bowl of spicy chopped cauliflower, no flour or deep frying in sight. It was a pretty decent size for a side, enough that I would happily have eaten the whole portion with a little rice as a main. As with my main course, the cauliflower was cooked exactly how I like it, and the dish had a fair bit of heat to it too. Between both courses I had a really tasty and incredibly filling meal, and had no shame in asking for my leftovers to go in a takeaway box. There was enough for lunch the next day.
I’ve been to Majliss before as a vegetarian and really liked it there, and have to say the experience is no different as a vegan, there is so much choice and it’s a lovely evening out. The staff are great. The food is reasonably priced and even cheaper if you fancy a night in and order it to take away. While we arrived at 6.30pm which is quite early for dinner and it was very quiet, the restaurant quickly got quite lively, and I think the atmosphere is perfect for a group meal. I have been there as a couple too though and didn’t find the noise too intrusive. If I lived closer I think I’d end up going here a little too often – but having checked on the website I notice Majliss do deliver to my area (not many places do) so that’s definitely going to be something to tempt me next time I’m feeling too lazy to cook.