The first, and last, visit
Marg free on a Sunday? The shape of things to come apparently: so off we headed to The West End. The Curry Leaf (192 Byres Rd, Glasgow, G12 8SN) is a venue Hector has been walking past for years; the usual haunts have always proved too seductive. The Curry Leaf is open on a Sunday afternoon, not all Glasgow outlets are. The menu on the outside wall had not exactly won me over. ‘Modern Indian Cuisine’ it says above the door, Hector had not spotted anything departing from the usual. Then we realised that meals were on offer as full courses or as Tapas. This was the clinching factor: Hector could have a Fish Masala and another Lamb dish. Marg hopefully would have something different.
With ground floor and upstairs seating, this is quite a roomy place. The style is something of an upmarket café, quite fitting for its location in one of Glasgow’s most prestigious locations. Two other sets of diners were completing their meals as we were seated.
On opening the menu the Chefs Specials were to the fore. A Tawa Gosht was tempting. The Lamb Nihari was an irresistible choice: Lamb on the bone cooked with special spices and cooked on slow fire for six hours. Garnished with fresh ginger and green chillies. So much for the fish.
Marg stuck to the original Tapas plan and ordered the Seekh Kebab and the Ginger Lime Chicken. Mushroom rice and two chapattis were the sides.
Whilst we waited we were treated so some quite up tempo modern sounding Indian music. Quite pleasant. After fifteen minutes or so Marg was becoming restless. They could have told us there would be a wait. From the kitchen came the sound of constant chopping. Somebody was working hard.
Another ten minutes or so passed and warm plates were brought to the table. We looked upon these for a further five minutes and then the food arrived.
The sauce on both the Lamb Nihari and the Ginger Lime Chicken had congealed. The dishes had clearly been sitting a while. The place was quiet so this is mysterious.
Marg describes her Ginger Lime Chicken as tangy, fruity and runny. The Masala was not one that contained sufficient onions. She believes coconut was meant to be part of the dish but there was no evidence of this. The Seekh Kebab was spicy and the accompanying Mint-Mango dip was the highlight.
The Lamb Nihari was a complete disappointment.
Hector likes his sauce to be thick and minimal. Having had The Village version of this Lamb shank dish I remember their sauce to be quite runny too, but it had a very distinctive taste. This sadly was the classic ‘Spicy Bisto’ experience. It was hot but decidedly bland. I see no fresh ginger or green chillies in this photograph. The meat tasted as if it had just been added to the sauce, Hector finds it hard to believe that these had been in each other’s company for six hours.
That the consistency of Marg’s Ginger Lime Chicken and the Lamb Nihari were identical makes me conclude that this is the style of their cooking. This is not what I look for in a Curry Heute.
A questionnaire came with the bill. Hector has revealed his true name and address to this establishment along with this Blog URL.
The Curry leaf is no more. Time will tell if this is just re-branding. Dr Stan has already tried the Buffet lunch, but we all know one does not judge a Curry House by its Buffet.