A possible indication that an Indian restaurant is doing great business is its takeaway offer. Many in Hemel Hempstead offer 'free' delivery or a discount if a takeaway order is collected. K2 is one of two in the town that does not. Yet it's takeaway business is soaring. And not to the detriment of the eat in business.
This is a big site, possibly over 100 covers. For a town of the size of Hemel, this is substantial. Parking is a complete nightmare. There are spaces, however access at peak times makes the on site parking attendant's job challenging. But it's worth it.
The owners of this former public house have invested heavily in the site and over the years appear to continually do so. The tardis-like site has what can be only described as a two-storey 'super-conservatory' bolted on the back of the original building. And it works very well. The former pub even has a garden and water feature to offer daylight viewing opportunities as well as imaginative lighting creating an ambience at night.
This big venue might not be the best eaterie for an intimate meal for two - although there are some quieter areas, you still can't miss the vibe of a large eating area. Ideal for family occasions, or work-related celebrations and events, K2 demonstrates that a higher than average meal cost can not only survive in the town but thrive.
The service is well above your average Indian, as is the quality of food. Okay, this is at a price, but it's worth paying. All the staff are attentive and friendly. Happy to help as well as demonstrating a knowledge of the menu and ingredients. The menu could be a little more creatively presented. There are glimmers of 'high street' that just doesn't fit in the overall ambience. A small point but would assist on taking K2 to the next level.
The food is supported with a half-decent wine list, although at the time of our latest visit the draught lager appeared to be poured from a warm kitchen than a cold cellar. Ironic as its was -6 outside when we visited. Billed as a Balti house, those that have visited any in the Midlands will realise this might have been more of a marketing initiative than a form of asian cuisine. The king prawns live up to their name - so many restaurants say king when the mean pauper. The Dhansak is very good, as is most of the Murgh dishes.
Perhaps it's down to having to make the effort to visit. This is a destination venue. Straddled between Apsley and Hemel Town centre, at the very least it's a 15 minute walk from Hemel town centre, or more sensibly, it's a cab ride. The distance and cost generally 'vets' the patron. That is this is not the sort of place your lads from the pub wanting a late night ruby would visit.
Despite the size, you are advised to book. This places gets busy. One you taste the food, you will see why. If you can't get in here, then try the Moghul in Hemel Old Town. Much smaller nonetheless quality food and service and the beer is always cold.