Friday, 13 May 2011

Kitchen Nightmares - The Curry Lounge - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares The Curry Lounge 

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visit's The Curry Lounge, Nottingham, UK, an Indian restaurant owned by Raz,  with an over complicated menu and a team of experienced chefs who are struggling to cook it. The restaurant is new and is losing £3000 a week. Gordon notices on the window that he claims to have won awards but in small print it says runners up. Gordon isn't impressed with the  flash decor, 7 tv screens and a water feature. 

Gordon sits down to order food and is surprised to see a create your own curry option on the menu and thinks it is a crazy idea. He decides to order sea bass and a DIY Curry, a chicken and prawn hot korma. Gordon congratulates Raz on his awards, who tells him that it is just for marketing. Gordon is shocked by his naan bread that arrives on a naan stand. The sea bass is tasteless with no seasoning, the DIY curry is greasy with layer of oil and the chicken is dry. Gordon enters the kitchen to speak to the staff and he tells them that the food is bland with no personality, Raz defends the food and points out the positives but Gordon tells them to only listen to the negatives.

Gordon arrives to witness a busy Friday night service and the customers order anything they like. It becomes clear  that Raz is trying to hard to please customers and is not bothered by the effect that this has on the kitchen. The kitchen struggles and the food takes a long time, the food simply sits on the pass and a skin forms before getting to the customers. The customers say that the food is average and they probably wouldn't come back. 

Gordon sits Raz down to talk about the problems in the restaurant and tells him that the food is the biggest problem. The next thing to tackle is to remove the misleading marketing on the windows and Gordon starts scraping the letters off and reluctantly Raz helps. Gordon discovers that all of the 150+ curry options on the menu come from 3 basic stocks, there is a supply of jars and tins out the back, frozen samosas and the only freshly made food item are the naan breads. Gordon asks Khan to cook every dish on the menu and asks the wait staff to taste the food whilst blindfolded. The staff are unable to identify what any of the dishes are, except the chips! 

The next day, they visit a local Indian market, Gordon believes he will be able to get more inspiration and better value by shopping locally. Gordon decides to ask Khan to add a regional special to the menu and he decides to make a lamb korma dish. Gordon decides for the evening service to rip up the DIY curry menu and to tell the front of house staff about the special dish for the evening. Khan cooks Gordon his special and Gordon says it is delicious! 

After an hour of service, Gordon ventures into the dining room after no one has ordered the special and customers tell him they hadn't been told about the special for the evening. Gordon pulls Raz aside but he still refuses to introduce the special, forcing Chef Khan to do so himself and the customers love it. It doesn't take Gordon long to realise that it is the front of house vs the kitchen so he takes them for a team building cricket game. The next day Gordon discovers the front of house meeting without the kitchen, completely defeating the object of the previous days activities! 

Gordon's next idea is a tiffin lunch service for £5 a go, the tiffins will contain chicken curry, rice and vegetables. Gordon believes that this will help fill the restaurant in the evenings by giving the locals a sample of the food on offer. The 40 lunches sell out within 5 minutes and they return to the restaurant to make more, the staff are impressed and they hand out leaflets advertising the relaunch. Gordon calls in Alfred Prasad, an Indian chef with a Michelin star to help with the relaunch. 

For relaunch night, they are offering a new streamlined menu featuring regional items with reasonable prices. Gordon also tells them that they are to be losing the naan bread stands and will be serving them in a basket instead, the team taste the menu and love the new items. Khan is unhappy about the menu, saying that there are missing regions on the menu and Gordon thinks that he is just jealous that Albert is younger. Gordon takes to the streets with Bollywood dancers and samples to advertise the relaunch. 

On relaunch night, the staff are working together and the food looks delicious, the customers try to change the menu items but Raz refuses to defer from the menu. Gordon has invited a local curry expert in to sample the new menu. The customers love the new food and say it is much less greasy but the kitchen starts to crumble and customers are left waiting. The critic loves the majority of the food but has some issue with a dry chicken dish.  Overall, the relaunch is a successful evening and they have made over £3000. 

What Happened Next?

A month later, Gordon revisit's, they are making a profit and the restaurant is so busy that he can't even get a table and has to have a tiffin! Gordon notices that the naan stands are back and takes them to a local scrap metal man! The Restaurant received a special commendation during the British Curry Awards 2009 and a few other awards and is now a franchise and continuing to expand. Reviews are mostly good after Gordon's visit. 


  1. I think this is more about the attitude. This restaurants wasn't terrible just mediocre and unprofitable. Most of the restaurants in the show are just awful. Saying that they can pull off 3-6 months more but still think their idea is perfect and are unwilling to compromise with Gordons suggestions or not diligent enough to keep them up. Here we have an actual business person who understands profits and goes with it and stays with it.

    Almost all people in this show hope for the buzz from TV show and hope its the magic bullet to fix all and let them keep their crap as it is. Some actually (start to) take Gordon seriously and are willing to change and keep them. They are the ones that seem to stay successful. (1-2 of them)

  2. I felt Mr. Khan the chef wasn't given much opportunity to contribute towards the new menu (apart from his lamb korma). The poor guy was undermined when the young Michelin chef was brought in.

    1. Well, I would listen to a young Michelin Chef over the a no name Chef any day

    2. He's not a no name chef he is a big shot Indian chef and if you want Indian food you need a man with 30years experience in it not the Michelin star chef who knows little about Indian cuisine

    3. Agree, even Gordon Ramsay who has 3 Michelin Star called experts for indian cuisine for help in KN.

  3. When I go out to eat, which I do quite often, I purposely avoid any restaurant that promotes any industry awards such as Best Restaurant, Michelin star chef, etc. There is one simple reason for this. When you patronize an establishment like that, you can expect pretentious food that is overpriced. That type of dining is nothing more than a status statement.

    1. I absolutely agree. A Michelin Star is just a reason for the restaurant to raise their prices. I've seen it at a restaurant I went to. They got a Michelin Star and started to advertise on that fact and suddenly they charged 15-20% more for the same food.


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