Long, long ago, well until about three years ago, Jonathan and Hector used to slope off for a late night Curry. Papa Gill’s (337 Dumbarton Rd, Partick, Glasgow, G11 6AL) was a regular haunt. Jonathan is well known in this establishment, Hector is only known as a Friend of Jonathan, quite a turnaround.
Realising the insanity we had started , the daytime pre-Bier rendezvous took over. This evolved into the Saturday afternoon Curry Club, or the meetings of The Friend’s of Hector. Today had been spent in Mussleburgh at The Staggs. Yvonne had mustered us for the 11.00 to Waverley, there are no Curry Houses reportedly open at lunchtime on a Saturday according to the information I could find. As we were on a group ticket, yes group travel is possible in this country (!), we had to return en masse. For some it was time for bed, for the two intrepid eaters a nostalgic return to Papa Gill’s was long overdue.
Marg and Hector have also frequented their other outlet in Yoker; these are traditional Glasgow Curry Houses, not the sort of place I normally seek these days.
Binder Gill, Mein Host greeted us on entry, he and Jonathan caught up with the events of recent times. The minimalist laminated menu was still in vogue. The traditional dishes of the past fifty years are still available with some of the more contemporary evolutions e.g. Butter Chicken. In the past the regular waiter had been challenged to make me something in the Bradford style and a decent attempt was forthcoming. This new chap tonight did not know us from Adam and so the choice had to be made from the menu.
We both selected the Garam Masala ‘Cooked dry using spring onions, garlic and coriander leaves sprinkled with garam masala, with a real Punjabi taste. For an extra bite ask for green chillies to be added.’, we did. Jonathan asked for a Garlic Nan which became a Garlic and Coriander Nan at the waiter’s suggestion. I opted for the Special Fried Rice in the hope that Vegetables would be to the fore. Jonathan ordered Pakora too.
The single non-complementary Poppadom was presented. We immediately asked for another. The accompanying Onion Chutney had a dark red covering, it looked superb. It was certainly one of the best Onion Chutney’s ever set before Hector.
There was further chat with Mein Host and the meals arrived. He had been in attendance at the Curry Awards earlier this year: my existence was unknown to him.
The plate was filled with large pieces of Lamb, the portions here are always generous. The Masala was thick and certainly headed towards dry, but not Bradford-dry. The dish looked wonderful. There was a modicum of flavour but it lacked the Salt to bring out the full flavour of the contents – not Karrah, therefore. The consistency of the Masala was identical to that served in a Palak dish. I realised that with Spinach this could have been a truly great Curry. I did mention this at the end of the meal and was told to ask for Spinach to be added next time. I shall.
The Special Fried Rice came in a sensible quantity. It would be possible to clear the plate. Slices of Onion was the added Vegetable, maybe a wee bit more imagination here would have made this more memorable. The combined Curry portion and Rice portion were perfect. When Hector leaves a plate with not a single grain of Rice this says it all. Satisfaction has been achieved.
There was in depth discussion with Jonathan at the end of the meal: ‘Yes, that was good.’
£31.25. This included two pints of Soda. Well, they did not have American IPA on draught.
Jonathan retired, Hector moseyed along to the Three Judges to meet up with ?Stan! who may have eaten today. I was rescued by Marg long before I could finish the final and least memorable pint of the day…