Plus ca Change
On the last night of our almost Tropical Trip to Aberdeen there was a piece of unfinished business. Sister-in-law Kath presented Hector with a generous and much appreciated voucher for Jewel In The Crown (145 Crown St, Aberdeen, AB11 6HP). Now there’s an appropriate postcode.
Last night they were fully booked, tonight was their first available slot, so business is excellent. Indeed, one tends to have to book at peak times anyway. The prices at Jewel in the Crown are very much on the high side of what Hector is prepared to pay for a Curry. With main courses ranging from £9.00 to £16.00+ one anticipates something special. The fact that the Fish Dishes are the most expensive is quite peculiar, don’t they make the stuff up here?
There was space in the Car Park at the rear so I do not know if the front of the building remains shrouded in metal, the rear certainly does. The back door takes one down past the toilets and into the midst of the diners. It always feels a bit of an imposition walking in this way. Our table was allocated quickly, we were given a table for four. The next arrivals were squeezed in at the small table in the corner so we felt privileged.
Poppadoms and Chutneys were brought to the table with the Menu. Poppadoms were on the menu so we would not know if these were complimentary until the arrival of the bill. We were invited to order drinks, now this is where Hector gets the opperchancity to remind the readers that one has to beware. They do not give a drinks menu so one is ordering blind. On no account should one order a large bottle of Sparkling Water without establishing the price in advance, it can cost as much as a main course!
The Lamb section of the menu makes a point of stating that the Lamb is boneless, so do they have Lamb on-the-bone? I would ask. Also, Lamb appears in the Fish section, so something has become confused in translation.
The waiter appeared and was duly asked about Lamb on-the-bone. We have Lamb Shank in a Brown Sauce. Well that tells me nothing. Was it Nihari style as I have eaten this cut in the past at The Village (Glasgow), what was it? I shall never find out.
Marg selected Khalia Gosht, a Creamy dish which claimed to be Spicy too. The Lamb Methi disappointed on my last visit and so the old faithful Karahi Gosht was the order. No Capsicum – was stated clearly to the waiter. We decided that three Chapattis would suffice.
The wait was not excessive and given that the restaurant was full this is a positive. Marg made enthused about her Khalia Gosht from the off. The Thick, Creamy Masala did pack a punch, but not excessively so. For once, Marg had picked well. Unfortunately her excesses at lunchtime caught up with her and so the Doggy-Bag was sought.
The Karahi Gosht looked the part. The Masala was a bit more than I prefer but not excessive. It was thick too and so no criticism about the texture. There was more than enough Lamb in the portion so this perhaps justified the price. There was a major excess of largely sliced Onion, one wonders if this would have been the case had I not excluded the Squishy Vegetable. Sadly, there was no overwhelming taste from either the Lamb or the Masala, the Onion was the flavour which dominated this dish most.
The three Chapattis turned out to be good judgment, there was no waste. We watched people at the adjacent table order starters and then find that they were unable to do their Mains justice. How can people eat Starters, Curry, Rice and Bread?
Sliced Orange was brought to the table to clean the palate. The hottest towels ever encountered then followed. These are the touches that Marg enjoys, I see nothing wrong with using the normal facilities to wash ones hands.
Two White Coffees were then ordered. These were ordered again after nothing had arrived. Two Black Coffees and a jug of Cream were presented along with an array of Chocolate. This initially pleased Marg who then realised that as Hector chooses not to eat Chocolate, she was faced with the lot.
£34.05. The Bill was ordered. It came with more Chocolate. The Poppadoms were inclusive and therefore can now be classed as Complimentary, rare in Aberdeen. The Voucher was placed in the wallet along with a £20 note, change was required.
Nobody came, as it was now thirty minutes since we had finished the Coffee, Marg took the money to the counter. She was then short changed. Don’t mess with this lady.
What was once regarded by Hector as an Outstanding Curry House can now only be regarded as – Mainstream. What some may regard as service and ambience may justify the inflated prices. Hector is out for a Curry, the best he can find. Aberdeen has better outlets.