Having read about the long wait for the main courses to arrive by the contemporary Bloggers at TATTGOC, Hector now a regular at The Khyber Restaurant (221 St. Andrews Road, Glasgow, G41 1PD), was determined to avoid this delay for the first mass visit of The Friends of Hector.
Hamza took the order for our party of eight on Thursday afternoon. He also asked that I verify the booking before our arrival today. They were ready for us.
Howard and Tracey were in situ when Hector was dropped off by the ever cooperative Marg at exactly 15.30. Officially the Khyber does not open until another half hour later, however Hector knows the score. Mags was crossing at the lights as Hector entered. Dr Stan and Jonathan arrived within a few minutes of each other; it was time to declare Craig and Yvonne as late – so late that at least another paragraph should be devoted to this. (Hector was late once, he never heard the end of it…)
To quote Lady Ruff-Diamond: ‘Oh! How awful! What can have happened?’
Yvonne was not amused. Fifteen minutes late, they had walked and Craig had calculated the allotted time based on his pace, not walking with his dear lady through the still pouring rain. It was then revealed that Yvonne was all set to go when Craig (aka Mr Dyson) insisted that another room of the mansion had to be vacuumed. Who does housework on a Saturday, perhaps it was the servant’s day off?
We had fought off the delivery of the Starters during this period and Dr Stan decided he was going to expand the order. Another delay. With Howard and Tracey on my right and no Starter ordered for them they were beginning to chomp at the bit. Yes folks, we had starved ourselves since the night before, we knew what was before us.
The Starters were presented
For Dr Stan the newly ordered Seek Kebab – ‘Finest mince cooked with the finest tomatoes, green chillies, black pepper, garlic and fresh ginger.’ Craig and Yvonne, Mags and Hector shared two portion of the wonderful Boti kebab – ‘Lamb kebab marinated in medium spices roasted in the clay oven and served with mint sauce and salad.’ Jonathan had the Khyber special kebab – ‘ A mix starter of lamb, chicken and seekh kebabs served with mint sauce and salad.’ No comment.
There were ecstatic murmurings from those of us privileged to taste the Lamb. One could probably just sit and eat this all day. With a slight yellow hue and no mention of Turmeric this is quite a creation, Saffron? The meat is so succulent yet it has been oven baked. The Chef clearly knows what he is doing.
When the starters are excellent, Hector traditionally worries about the quality of the Mains…
Here come the Mains: eight half kilos of Peshawari Karahi, one with no added Chillies for Craig. A huge Garlic Nan, one Paratha, one Chapatti and six Boiled Rice were the accompaniments. Hector had warned everyone in advance that the Peshwari Karahi – ‘Finest lamb meat cooked with the finest tomatoes, green chillies, black pepper, garlic and fresh ginger.’ will not look or taste like any ‘Curry’ they had ever experienced. Dr Stan and Jonathan had ordered the Dum Pukt on their previous visit so they had an inkling of the splendour that was coming their way. There is no Masala, the stew like appearance is so far from any Curry served by those originating from the other side of The Khyber Pass.
Hamza and his new young colleague brought armfuls of Karahi, Breads and Rice. The newcomers believed we were sharing these when they saw the mound of meat. Hector said nothing. When another batch arrived in as much time as it took them to walk to and from the kitchen everything was clear, one Karahi each. Here we go.
As expected there were no instantaneous shouts of glee. The Karahi at the Khyber is a thoroughbred, it takes a bit of time to get going, but then it certainly does stay. The tenderness of the meat was being commented upon. Then the tastes started to emerge. ‘Why have we not been here before?’
Suck my bones
Some of us are not ashamed to pick up the pieces of Lamb on-the-bone and and use our facial tools to remove the meat. Others are quite bashful. Yvonne, magnanimous as ever asked: ‘.. does anyone wish to suck my bones?’ Strangely, there were no takers.
The Karahi at the Khyber is not a sprint, one reaches the stage when one realises this would be the end of any ordinary portion, yet there is still more at the bottom of the pot. Then something new hits the palate. The ghee mixed with the pulped vegetables brings another new sensation. This is why Hector has learned to order a Chapatti to try and access this from the start, but still the pleasures are undiscovered. This is just one magnificent experience.
Tracey was analysing what she was eating, she found the tastes to be inexplicable. Turmeric, Chili Powder, Coriander, Cumin, the basic ingredients of a Punjabi Curry are not evident. Black Pepper is the only listed Spice. Is this it?
£120 between eight of us, great value for the mountain of food consumed.
The Khasi of Kalabar: ‘May the benevolence of the god Shivoo bring blessings on your house.’
‘Why have we not been here before?’
Hector has been trying to get the Chaps to set foot in these premises for ages. The Village appears to have been dropped. Some find Yadgar overwhelming. The Karahi Palace was our most recent new joint venture. Having all managed to polish off the half kilo then nobody has anything to fear. We shall most certainly be back and hopefully next time it will have stopped raining.
We departed at 17.10, or eighty five minutes after we were all assembled. There were no doggy-bags.
Robin had run around the possible venues and found no Ale worth our presence. The Saturday ritual at the Allison Arms it would be then. It is worth commenting upon how quiet the company was; this quantity of food prolongs sobriety.
As Jonathan may have Blogged: we went for a Curry today, we enjoyed it.’