The first Haarlem visit
On our route to the Jopen Brewery we happened across two Curry Houses in Haarlem. Having done some research on the train coming across from Amsterdam, the India Palace (Gedempt Oude Gracht 29, 2011 GL, Haarlem, Nederland) looked as though it could be the better option.
After our afternoon ritual at Jopen, the six of us entered the India Palace, the décor was immediately impressive, or twee depending on one’s take on these things. With the walls adorned in Indian artwork and the staff wearing Saris, this was a distinct attempt at creating the right atmosphere for a Curry. Personally, I am more interested in the food and these days prefer to eat in the bare surroundings typical of a Glasgow/Bradford/Manchester café.
The drinks order was nil, this appeared to take the staff aback. What could they possibly have to match where we had come from? Having picked up a takeaway menu on the way past, we all knew what we wanted, and sadly Hector changed his mind at the last minute, to his sorrow.
Craig, the new Curry-Man and Yvonne chose the Lamb Jalfrazi. Robin ordered the Chicken Tikka Tandoori, and both Dr Stan and Jonathan went for the Lamb Karahi which had been hector’s original choice. Alas, the sight of Lamb Chops Masala swayed me with the opportunity once again of guaranteeing Lamb on-the-bone.
After a respectable time, the meals arrived. Yvonne and Craig were very happy with the flavour of their Jalfrazis, Robin was delighted with his Tikka. The fact that an accompanying dish of Masala accompanied this was pleasing, as his Biryani in Gent did not. The Chaps on the Karahis were also impressed with the taste of their dishes.
But what of Hector’s Curry?
I had made a tremendous blunder. On the takeaway menu it was clear that Lamb Chops was in the section of Tikka Masala. In the house menu this was under Lamb. It did not dawn on me that I had ordered the Lamb Chops equivalent of Chicken Tikka Masala. This is not a Hector Curry!
The red pureed Onion Masala rich with the local equivalent of Campbell’s Tomato Soup is not my idea of a Curry at all. That the first Chop was well under done nearly made me send it back. They provided me with a small pot of red hot Chilli just to Spice things up, this was used liberally. I ate the lot, including the Chapatti, it was my blunder, and I had to live with it.
€92 for six people, no starters, no drinks. For such a pucker place this was not too bad at all.
The overall flavour was pleasing to those who ate sensibly. The main consideration was that everyone left feeling hungry. The portions were far too small. The consensus was that half as much again meat wise, would have made this a much more memorable and enjoyable experience.