Normally the last Thursday in the month is when I visit the Akash in Helensburgh. An organisational change means that two Thursdays this season will now be spent in Bearsden outside Glasgow. The Ashoka (9 Kirk Road, Bearsden, Glasgow, G61 3RG) is part of the large Harlequin organisation with branches throughout Central Scotland. The Bearsden branch proved to be nearest to the evening’s eventual venue. The nearby car park solved the potential problem for car parking in this normally congested area.
Despite being payday for many the place was quiet. Maybe the night was young. A small table at the window was offered, it is amazing how often one sits at the window when a restaurant is quiet.
Service was therefore very efficient; the order for my sparkling water was taken before I had managed to remove my coat. We must be in pre-theatre mode. Spiced Onions and Poppadoms were also offered, excellent.
The Bombay Bakra, at the top end of the price range at £12.50 (Diced lamb simmered Karahi style in a fricassee of sliced onions, ginger, green capsicums, tomatoes, green chillies, kali jeeera and fresh spinach leaves) was selected along with Mushroom Rice. It was only after the order was given that I spotted the Board with Lamb Nawabi – the Chef’s Special. Hector would have ordered this had the website or the waiter drawn my attention to this.
Two Poppadoms and a small bowl of Onion Chutney passed away the moments whilst the Chef prepared my dish. I had heard the waiter clearly announce to the kitchen: ‘No Green Peppers’, success. An adjacent table of four had taken ages to order and so the Chef would be under no pressure to prepare my meal.
A different waiter asked if I was ready for may main meal. This was pleasing as too often the time lag is insufficient.
The Sorcerer and The Apprentice
The meal arrived. The Rice was hilarious: how can one be charged £2.95 for this? On a positive note, the brown colour and the aroma of Cloves suggested that this would certainly enhance the meal. The Rice did cover the plate in the end, just. No wonder the waiter on auto pilot asked if I wanted ‘to share’ a Nan Bread. As I was dining alone he did realise he doing as he had been no doubt trained.
The Curry looked the part. Having eaten in various Ashoka outlets over the years one has never been disappointed, the Curry should be good. At first the Lamb seemed very tender then I realised that it had not been permeated with any Spice. At times like these one concludes that the Masala and the Meat have been strangers until very recently. I tackled just the Mushrooms, the Rice and the Masala, suddenly there was flavour flooding out. The Lamb was reintroduced to the concoction and things definitely looked up. This was classic synergy. I then began to feel as though one half of the meal had been prepared by a master and the other half by the student. Unlikely, but to my palate this is what I was experiencing.
£20.10 for the experience.
Or twice what I would pay at The Village. £3.15 for the Poppadoms and Spiced Onions (?) when many venues give them as complementary starters. No wonder this has proved to be a profitable chain. At least the Sparkling Water at £1.50 was within sensible parameters.
The Curry experience was very good overall. Five years ago this is probably as good as Glasgow had to offer, but we have moved on. Now the Board could entice me back…