Here we have a guest review of the Mela restaurant in Old Town. It’s been written by Thomas – you can find him on Twitter at @ThomasLittleUK
Thank you Thomas for an entertaining and informative review of Mela – a curry house I have often enjoyed myself. I think we could make a winning team! 🙂
“A good friend of mine has just returned from working in Geneva for a few months, so in honour of his momentous return we decided to celebrate in true British Bank Holiday style and go for a curry and a pint. How Saturday night guttural I know some of you will say, but if the shoe fits!
With the sheer number of Asian food outlet choices in and around Swindon these days it does feel somewhat like a culinary Pokémon adventure, that being said you speak as you find and my friends and I have always enjoyed the food at Mela on Victoria Road in Old Town. The appointed hour having passed (perhaps I should forgive him as I’m sure he’s still on Swiss time) I found myself outside the restaurant and decided to take the time to breeze through the menu affixed to the window facing the street. Starters range between £2.90 – 6.90 whilst mains vary between £7.50 and £12.90 which to my mind is eminently affordable.
After my recently returned friend made it to the restaurant we still had one companion to wait for, we explained to the staff that we were still waiting for another diner and were happy to wait. Our waiter was fantastic, and assured us that we were welcome to take our table and order a few drinks whilst we waited – this of itself is not remarkable, but this was whilst he and the other staff members were busy serving other diners and rearranging tables to accommodate the large number of people who had the same Bank Holiday idea as we had. This further delay provided us with the opportunity to consider the Mela Sunday buffet, which thankfully we all decided on once our other friend managed to arrive – though to be fair his 7 month old son had done his very best to prohibit his attendance!
I can only describe the Mela Sunday buffet as excellent value without compromising on taste. For £7.90 you get a choice starter plate which includes; Onion Bhaji, Spicy Aloo Palak, fresh salad and more. For the main element of the buffet the diner is treated to a choice of dishes including; Chicken Masala, Vegetable Dansak, Sag Aloo, Basmati Rice and more, all washed down with a pint of Kingfisher lager (Kingfisher not included in buffet price).
Now no curry would be complete without a Naan Bread (though written as Nan at Mela), however before you order too many be aware that you are dealing with the deadly Shark Naan! This culinary beast is a sight to behold and looks more reminiscent of an excerpt from Jaws than your average tough tasteless mess that so often pervades our tables when you order this side elsewhere… be warned.
What I really love about Mela is the relaxed atmosphere; the space is clean and airy without the feel of dining in a contemporary art gallery. The aromatic food is well cooked with the vibrant range of colour and taste that you come to expect from good Asian cuisine. The only downside to the entire evening was realising that our waiter had been a childhood friend and we were embarrassingly unable to remember his name! Apologies dear friend, but the service was great and the food was excellent – I shall do my best to remember your name when I next visit, because I will certainly be coming back.”
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