Becca – June 2014
A combination of events led me to The First Floor on Cowley Road for lunch today. A recent review in the Oxford Mail (which has now strangely disappeared) in which the reviewer said great things, including how authentic the food was. A weekend long craving for curry. And a slow period at work that allows me to take longer lunch hours.
First Floor is indeed on the first floor, just opposite Boots on the Cowley Road. It’s a large space with windows overlooking the local characters, a buffet section at the back and is actually quite smart. The menu offers a selection of Indian, Chinese, Thai or Continental dishes and there’s a whole range of cocktails for drinks, including Pimms at £5.50 a glass.
Given that it was lunchtime and having encountered these all you can eat type places before, I wasn’t expecting greatness. And I wasn’t disappointed. There was a small selection of dishes for each cuisine:
Thai: Chicken tom yum soup, Thai crackers, some toast things which were meant to be prawn toasts but vegetable instead (no idea what vegetables as they were invisible and cunningly disguised under the five sesame seeds), vegetable noodles, green Thai curry and some steamed rice.
Indian: Vegetable samosas, vegetable pakora, poppadums, chicken tikka, saag vegetables, some form of chicken curry, pilau rice and naan bread on request.
Chinese: vegetable spring rolls, salt and pepper chicken wings, prawn crackers, chicken and sweetcorn soup, lamb with some sauce, chicken in chilli bean sauce, tofu of some description, egg fried rice.
Continental: this section basically consisted of salad. Grated carrot, salad, coleslaw-y type salad.
There were also desserts, rice pudding of the Indian kind, fruit salad, a banana mousse, some shot glasses filled with a yellow gloop and a coffee and mandarin cake.
So at £8.50 a plate for lunch in the week, what did we have? Between us we pretty much tried everything. I had a symphony of browns and yellows on my plate as pretty much every dish available came in that colour spectrum. Vegetables were indistinguishable although I did spot a piece of cauliflower in a pakora, the other pakoras I had I couldn’t identify if it was mushroom, courgette or aubergine. The chicken tikka was dry and hadn’t been cooked in a tandoor hot enough. The lamb dish was okay and probably had the most flavour of everything available. Rice was okay, naans were good and that’s pretty much all I can say about that.