'Ladies, how are you enjoying your dinner?' the waiter asked.
We surveyed the table in front of us, laden with small silver dishes brimming with curries. It looked like we had barely touched them, despite the fact that we had been starving on arrival, and had all eaten heartily. 'We might need some take-away containers,' we told him.
Just one of the many curries we experienced as part of the banquet
Welcome to Metro Indian in Subiaco. Located on the corner of Hay Street and Catherine Street this space has been the home of many a restaurant in the past few years. I'm not sure why places don't last long here, it's a great location: walking distance to the heart of Subiaco and the train station, a huge (albeit expensive) carpark immediately behind it, and an al fresco area for those who like to eat outside.
We were a group of seven and not interested in making any decisions, so we opted for the banquet. Banquets are always superior to buffets because the food is made fresh as you order. There are three on offer: the vegetarian at $35 a head, non-vegetarian at $40 a head and the 'special banquet' at $55 a head. For an extra $10 per person, you can include tea/coffee and a dessert.
In what I thought was a great piece of customer relations, they allowed us to mix and match. Some of us wanted vegetarian, others wanted meat, so we ended up ordering three of one and four of the other. It seemed nothing was too much trouble.
The starters came out within ten minutes, two large platters. The vegetarian platter had enormous samosas, onion bahji and my favourite: paneer tikka shashlick. It was served with three tasty sauces (including a sweet tamarind sauce, fresh raita and mango chutney).
The non-vegetarian platter also had onion bahji, the tastiest chicken tikka I have had in ages and spicy seekh kebab, along with the three condiments. Both platters had a salad spread artfully along the side, but everyone was more interested in the 'real' food. Everything was big enough to be able to cut into smaller pieces, and we were already quite full by the time the mains came. And came and came.
Spread in front of us, we had eight curries, two different types of rice, two different types of naan, a huge bowl of yoghurt and two bowls of kuchumber (a salad of red onion, tomato, cucumber and fresh herbs).
With the mixed banquets we had dhal, butter chicken, lamb rogan josh, an eggplant curry, the special 'Metro' mixed vegetables and vegetarian malai kofta (a potato and cheese dumpling). We ate as much as we could and we came nowhere close to finishing. And then we were told we could order more?
Like I say, I could not find any mention of the all-you-can-eat banquet on the website, but the owners seemed adamant (although considering the amount of leftovers we took with us, they were quite safe we wouldn't be ordering more).
The Metro is a contemporary Indian restaurant, with a fully licenced bar that serves cocktails as well as beers and wine.
There is bling on the walls and bling hanging from the ceilings. Large TV screens have endless Bollywood singing and dancing, although they are not so loud that they interfere with conversation.
In the heart of Subiaco, I could imagine the banquets being incredibly popular before or after a footy game, and the Metro is large enough to hold a decent number of people. It's a friendly place with attentive staff and great food. If you're a phone-phobe, you can make reservations or order take-away on-line and never need to speak to a living soul.
Metro has lunch specials (from $11.50) every day and $19 dinner specials early in the week.