Hector’s Official Birthday Dinner
A meal in the Mother India Restaurant (28 Westminster Terrace, Glasgow,G3 7RU) has always been regarded as a special treat. Since they opened in 1996, word has spread about the quality of the food on offer. This is not the everyday menu offered by the vast array of Glasgow’s Indo-Pak restaurants, this has always offered something different, genuine Indian cooking perhaps!
Marg had made a booking for 20.00 in the upstairs ‘Dickensian style’ room. The ground floor is always too busy in terms of passing traffic through the room. The newer basement feels like a bit of a ‘dunny’ : a special day requires the best ambience. One has to book in advance, however even then bookings are made in windows to suit the management. Arriving a couple of minutes after 20.00, our booking was verified and we were asked to wait. We were then offered a basement table: this was firmly declined: we knew what we had booked, this is what we wanted. Hector by this time was dealing with the second of what would become three people trying to find us a table. We were promised free Poppadoms. By 20.20 others were arriving and were being allocated their booked seat right away. We were then offered free drinks whilst we waited, these were declined – I want my Curry, not a Drink. – was Hector’s reply.
At 20.25 we were taken upstairs to a rather generously sized table for two. The free Poppadoms and Onion and Mango arrived immediately. The menus were issued; the free drink order was taken: 1 fresh orange and lemonade, one large bottle of sparkling water. Yes, this place is licensed but Hector prefers to taste the food, not the bier.
There were mutterings from the table in the middle of the room adjacent to us that we had been served so quickly. At 20.40 they stated they had been waiting for their main course since 19.15. The couple at the table behind Marg confirmed that they too had been waiting for their meal for a very long time. It is clear that the restaurant has become a victim of its own success: one needs to book, one still has to wait and then…worse was to come…
Preparing for the long haul, Hector and Marg took their time and enjoyed the free Poppadoms, two apiece, thank you. Our starter came within a most acceptable time, which meant there was again rumblings from the adjacent tables. It appeared the waiters were doing their utmost to make up for the poor experience so far. Haddock baked in foil, with a roasted tomato was the starter. It was somewhat wet and not particularly impressive. Since this Blog began we have not been to Mother India’s Café along the road where the Machi Masala is to die for…
The main courses arrived much sooner than we had been led to expect based on the evening’s observations. Marg had ordered the Butter Chicken. Marg always has this at the Mother India Café, this was her chance to have the full blown dish: Marg enjoyed it thoroughly but did state she was worried that it might be too rich in that quantity. This turned out not be the case and the sauce had a fine ‘kick’ which Hector believes all curries should have.
Hector had spotted Lamb Karahi with Spicy Leek on the ‘Day – Specials- menu. Now is this not the same dish that I had also noted on the Board in the Wee Curry Shop the day before? The three shops which form the Wee Curry Shop group are an offshoot of the Mother India organisation. Now is it coincidence that these dishes were on offer as specials almost simultaneously? Is it possible that they are being cooked in a central kitchen and then taken to the smaller premises? More research will be done on this: I shall ask the restaurant directly.
The dish looked superb and the quantity was a splendid challenge. However half way through the level of disappointment was becoming hard to bear. This was such a bland meal it was unbelievable. There simply was no taste at all. It was as if they had run out and just used a Bhoona Lamb as a substitute. Hector left half his meal. Hector had not eaten since 09.30, the appetite was there, the desire to finish this disappointing meal was not. Inevitably I had to inform the waiter that I could only describe the meal as – average. Another chap on bringing the bill was informed that I felt the dish had been ten minutes in the preparation, not ten hours. The price of Hector’s Lamb Karahi was removed from the bill. The lady manageress again apologised as we left the premises. They admitted to having had been busy. I repeated another comment I had made upstairs that every visit I have ever had to the Mother India Restaurant has been outstanding and that tonight was a major disappointment. The staff were splendid, Marg still left a tip: Hector insisted in paying for his own birthday dinner as I knew that I would be creating a the inevitable Glasgow – Stooshie.
The Mother India Café sell similar dishes, we are regulars there for Sunday lunch. This is where Marg and Hector will continue to go, unless the memory of Saturday’s Methi Gosht at The Wee Curry Shop creates an overwhelming desire to savour again the sheer pleasure that created.