It was just as well that with Tracy’s insistence, Alan had made a late booking for table at The Akash (45A Sinclair St, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire G84 8TG ), the place was nearly full. Helensburgh’s premier Curry House is still doing good business.
Four Poppadoms and accompanying Chutneys were ordered as amusement whilst we waited for the Starters. Alan and Tracy were to share a Sikh Kebab. Tracey eating Lamb, there is hope? Hector has been ordering the Akash version of Chicken Chat for some thirty years. The dish is unique, sadly it has evolved from its sensational origins, what would tonight bring? Marg stated that she would have some of my Starter, really?
As locals, Alan and Tracy keep up with any changes to the menu. It always looks the same to me. The Akash taste has disappeared in recent years. The Curry here used to be sensational. Well, not actually here, before they moved from their now demolished premises across from the station. What to have? Lamb Bhuna with Spinach (hot) was Hector’s choice. Marg went for the Lamb Gulap which Hector has described on previous visits. Alan and Tracy both selected the Chicken (?) Makhini with Spinach. Four Chapattis and a Garlic and Coriander Nan were ordered to accompany my Mushroom Rice. Let the fun commence….
Paying for Poppadoms, this remains an issue with Hector. The Onion Chutney was decidedly anaemic, the Mango Chutney made up for this along with the two Yoghurt based dips. The Starters came with expected efficiency. The Chicken Chat was presented with eight large chunks of Chicken. This dish used to have very small pieces of meat served Bradford sized. Tonight was the largest sized Chicken ever. There was a lot of it. This amount of meat is more than some outlets give as a main course. Hector was worried that this could spoil the appetite. Marg was permitted her modest share.
Alan insisted I try the Masala in his Makhini. The Masala was Yoghurt based, the Spinach gave it a pleasant Herb appearance. The flavour was not that distinctive. Anyway I was more interested in what I had ordered. Marg’s Gulap came with the decoratively cut Tomato plonked on top. Why it has this I know not. Marg assures me that it was enjoyable and had a rich flavour.
How much Spinach?
The consistency of Hector’s Bhuna-Palak Gosht was appealing. The Chapatti was dipped into the Masala as is customary. Pleasant, not overwhelming. The Spinach may have been waved over the pot. Cafe Salma this was not. The Lamb varied from perfection to slightly on the tougher side. The dish was certainly hot, but the expected flavours never presented.
£67. This included two coffees and some Cider. No complaints here.
There was a chance to chat with Shuel, son or Mr Ali, the owner. Hector taught Shuel back in the halcyon days of The Akash, the 1980s. He is aware of this website but has not yet looked. Hi, Shuel! We discussed favourite Curry Houses. Shuel has been to Yadgar but admits to only ever having had safe orders – Chicken Bhuna… Chicken?
There has been much activity on this site this evening. The comments made on my previous entries are always welcome. A couple of humorous ones from Borat, or is that Murat, are worth a gander. Call me Hector.