Why today is not Boxing Day is not the only mystery
The Spice of Asia grocer opposite Aitkens (the source of the finest Butteries in Aberdeen) on John St is visited on every Aberdeen visit and is how this venue came to be discovered.
Actually it was the adjacent Cafe/Takeaway ‘El Andalus’ which caught Hector’s eye originally. I have asked those with whom I have social discourse in this city if anyone has been, the answer has been negative. In the summer on my last visit I noticed that the premises were apparently being relocated away from their corner spot a few doors towards the Bon Accord Centre: this suggested they were doing well and made me determined that this would be priority #1 on this visit. When the sisters go out for their annual, dinner, Hector shall go exploring.
Yesterday, brother-in-law Graeme announced that he has been twice and been impressed both times. At last, a sign that the Café culture is being appreciated, who needs a table cloth and a Bier to enjoy a Curry-Heute?
Hector was misled, or was he?
On arrival at ‘El Andalus the premises on the corner, they were evidently still operating but closed until 1600. The actual shop unit Hector was heading for may be separate operation altogether… and so Rishi’s is the Curry-Heute.
There were about a dozen people already assembled around 12.30. Only one solitary chap, apart from me, was not Asian. By the time I left around thirty people were in attendance, again only two indigenous Scots. This place is certainly popular and by those who should know the food better than the rest of us mortals. It is also a fully functional restaurant with a drinks licence and table cloth or two.
A quick glance at the Starters revealed a ‘Tiffin’ range. These were dismissed, the appetite would not cope. Towards the end of the menu the actual Curries appeared: Fish Chettinadu (…. ground coconut, curry leaves, fennel, and sesame seeds (Spicy)…), how could Hector resist? To accompany this a Madras Paratha was ordered. This turned out to be a Thali presentation with Chickpea Korma and a Raitha.
The waiter warned Hector that the dish was ‘Spicy’. ‘Not a problem.’ was the confident reply.
He returned a few minutes later to advise me that the dish would take perhaps another five or ten minutes. Good, it is not ‘Fish-ding’.
The wait gave me plenty of time to study the menu in detail. To say there were dishes I had never heard of would be an understatement. Some (Dosa) I had seen in Glasgow’s Banana Leaf, but this list was vast: – Idli, Idli Vadai, Ven Pongal, Upma, Bhatura, Paper Roast Dosa, Rava Dosa, Kara Dosa, Tomato Oothappam…. Many of these contain Sambar: a traditional South Indian Vegetarian Lentil Curry made with Tamarind and South Indian Spices.
The lady who sat adjacent to me ordered a platter covered in puffiness. Her man ordered the solids. In the summer, if not before, Marg and Hector will come here for lunch and take pot luck. South India is being mooted as the summer vacation destination for 2012. We had better do our homework.
The meal certainly merited the photograph. The Parathas, yes two small ones, were perfection. The seemingly world-wide conspiracy to make me eat Chickpeas (other than in Falafel) manifested itself once more. Then there was the Curry.
In the wait for the meal Hector was getting looks from his fellow diners as his nose streamed and a sneezing fit made him less than delightful company. Since leaving the restaurant the handkerchief has remained in the pocket. The dish was full of Curry leaves which usually I leave but this time I ate many. The Fish was not a massive portion. There were very angry looking red Chillis staring at me, I left them. The Masala was splendid: a suggestion of creaminess, perhaps coconut milk?
The dish was indeed ‘Spicy’. It did not exactly hit the spot, it blew me to kingdom come, wherever that is. I cannot recall ever eating a Curry this hot.
Dipping the Paratha into the Masala was simply a delight. The taste was subtle then the blast of Spice followed. Superb!
Hector will definitely return.
To prepare these write ups, Hector likes to have a takeaway menu to verify the variations in spellings and correctly quote the descriptions of the various dishes, when given.
Now having taken the photograph of the premises called El Andalus, this shows the address above the shop to be 222 George St, the same address as on Rishi’s takeaway menu. The takeaway menu also has a sticker over the telephone number – and on peeling off? Yes, it is the phone number shown above El Andalus: connection proved, Hector’s observations in the summer were correct. Now, do I still go back to ‘The Source’?