Compared to some of the Indian railway cafe themed establishments such as Dishoom and Roti Chai that have sprung up since Bangalore opened, the decor could only politely be described as lacking somewhat. Double decked railway carriage dining built into the wall and accessed by bunkbed steps might appeal to teens but it's not in itself a reason for the rest of us to stop by, especially in somewhere as well stocked with restaurants as Waterloo.
Initial signs aren't good. We're jammed in behind the waiters station, the table cleared as we sit. While the dips that come with a basket of poppodoms are interestingly different (though not close to the South Indian delights of Ganapati), with beetroot chutney and a raw garlic number, they're preprepared and look like they've been around for a while.
The main menu is all kinds of confused. While a range of starters will be familiar enough to most people, the mains fall into two broad swathes. Half span different curry cuisines from around the world, covering African, South East Asian and the Indian subcontinent. The 'curry house' korma and vindaloo that your middle aged British parents would be looking for are served in a pick your meat n mix your curry sauce section at the bottom. It seems an odd thing to advertise, given that many cheaper quality establishments prepare vats of generic sauces and add meat on demand, losing the flavours and tenderness that often come from the cooking process but saving cost and waste.
And the food? While I don't think I'd make a deliberate trip back, it definitely wasn't the worst curry I've had, damning it with faint praise... We shared a hot and sour prawn curry from South India, a nicely balanced bowl of earthy, peppery black dhal and some manner of cold sweet potato salad. All pleasant enough but nothing more than the sort of weeknight standby served up by competent home chefs with a rudimentary grasp of spicing. Not the end of the world, but not what you want to be paying £20 odd a head for.