As a keen golfer the term hidden gem means one of two things. Either the golf course is in a field in the middle of nowhere and it’s really, really good or its clearly signposted very poor quality and you wished you had never found it.
The Sultan Balti Palace is most certainly a hidden gem, but which type????
First clue to the outcome of this ramble is that the bhuna review team stumbled across this curry purveyor quite by chance. Having decided that Wokingham needed another review we parked at one end of town and strolled around to see what we fancied. Several reasonable looking places some with many patrons and others holding auditions for the next Marie Celeste movie. Only the solitary sad looking lookout with his face pressed against the window. Not that the Marie Celeste had any windows in its crows nest, but then again i dont expect any of the crew where from Chittagong so wouldn’t have needed any double glazing to keep warm.Then as if by magic the clearly signed "S ltan B ti P l c " came into view. The missing letters in the signage only adding to its ability to hide itself, right in the middle of Wokinghams market square. Rich instantly started looking up the restaurants stock price on the FTSE, until we pointed out that it wasn’t a public limited company but just missing its aae.Anyway onwards and upwards, the plc is situated in and above a pub, usually a good sign for thirsty travellers but with no one drinking or eating downstairs we were worried disaster may be a foot.
Climbing the stairs on the way in we failed to spot the devilish grin of an ex prime minister shaking hands with a cheerful restaurateur, it may have been enough to turn anyone away but we are hardy souls and we pushed on. Greeted warmly at the top of the stairs we expected to be seated at one of the many ominously empty tables in the well arranged restaurant, however "follow me sir" and off we went through a previously unseen door at the back.Were we that dubious looking to think that we had to be seated at the place furthest from the door, did they think Rich could really run away with his stout frame just to get out of paying. No!!! It was obviously "spirit of the blitz" night at the balti palace. 20 diners all crammed into a 10ft square area, with candles on the table. A couple were gracious enough to stand so we could move our table out to sit down and we shuffled our chairs under so that we only just banged elbows with everyone else in the room.Looking around large portions of very nice smelling food were appearing at other diners tables and confidence started to rise that something special might be coming.
Popadoms and Beers followed swiftly along with our choice of mixed starters, which all were very tasty. Small portions of onion bahjiiii, chicken tikka and the obligatory lump of lamb product.Main courses, the traditional CTM and chicken bhuna were both fantastic, Ranndddyy went slightly off piste with a house special lamb dish, it was really well cooked but he was disappointed as if he had stayed with his usual it probably would have been nicer.Choices of half an orange or a punky penguin for dessert and mints with Balti Palace written on them tipped off a really great feed.
Overall opinion on the food is order anything because it will be good. Huge Naan breads and good service, the only negative being crammed in at the back of an otherwise empty restaurant.Then it gets better!!!!!!!!!!!!!15% off the bill midweek, around £40 for 3 people 3 courses and copious amounts of larger……….you just cant go wrong.
Todays top tip……………if your hungry and you can find it ………go to the SultanBaltiPalace.
Rich Rebrys (Guest Reviewer) rated this restaurant 80
Bret Myri scored this establishment 75
Randdy Dogoe gave this restaurant 70