Saarbrücken is on the western edge of Deutschland bordering France, it has been French twice in the past. With only one Curry House there was no choice. The Star of India (Johanisstrasse 17, Nauwieser Viertel, 66111, Saarbrücken) it was then. Arriving in the city at lunchtime I phoned to see if they were open, in this way we could subsequently enjoy dinner at one of two possible Bier Houses, alas the answering machine said otherwise. With the rain relentless we set off to introduce ourselves to Saarbrücken and located the Star of India half a block from the Rathaus, we would return.
There was about a dozen customers as we entered around 19.30, a group of young girls were just finishing. The German waiter approached and I decided not to speak anything but English this evening. Curry Menus are written in a language we all understand so no need to translate. However the Lamm dishes were ‘ohne Knochen’ so I did have to look up to see what I was missing. ‘Do you have any Lamb dished on-the-bone?’ I then asked. I was shown the Tandoori section of the Menu.
This left a plain Lamm Curry or Mutton Saag. It had to be the Spinach. Marg felt like Chicken tonight and went for Chicken Ginger. Boiled Basmati Rice was inclusive which is just as well as the starting prices were a bit steep. A Knoblauch-Naan had to be ordered just for the fun of saying it.
Bottled Franziskaner Hefe Wiezen was available at a decent price, indeed the only Asian on the premises who was probably the owner sat with his friend sharing one. I stuck to my standard pattern and ordered Sparkling Water at a hefty €5.50 for a 0.7l bottle. This was then served in a Jug so I had no way of knowing if this came from a supermarket 2l bottle. Marg’s Apfelschorle was also more expensive than the Bier.
By now our waiter had established our origins. He assured us that he would be serving North-West Indian Curry and not German Curry. Expectation levels were increasing. He described Saarbrücken as not being the most attractive of places but insisted that the people were friendly. The classic industrial heritage.
The Rice and Nan arrived first, once again there was enough Rice to feed four people. There was nothing to show that the Nan had ever been introduced to Garlic, it was also thinner and more crispy than one would hope for. The Curry was brought in a complex pair of candle-heated stands. This looked the part, but what exactly were we being served?
Marg’s Chicken Ginger was set down first. High on its promontory I could see nothing but the thinnest of Masala which could only mean Shorva. At least there was enough Rice to soak this up. Marg described her meal as tangy, she also marvelled at how the Chicken pieces stayed together until she decided to cut them, a sure sign that this was Halal Chicken.
There was a copious quantity of Fresh Ginger and slivers of Onion, but one could only deduce that no Onion had been hurt in the making of the Masala. Marg enjoyed her meal.
The Mutton Saag was dark with Spinach and looked totally different to the Soup that Marg had been given. The Lamb and the Spinach made a massive mound in the dish, the portion was going to be a challenge. At the base of the dish was a little of the thin Masala that could well have come from the same pot as the Chicken Ginger. So, a Curry with no Onion at all? This would be different.
In the time honoured manner I dipped a piece of the crispy-ish Nan into the Masala, there was a pleasant flavour and a definite kick. The Lamb was tender but the Spices had not permeated the meat. Then there was the mass of Spinach, lots of it. I know from my own recipe that Spinach should be cooked separately in its own prepared Spice and Herbs and then added to the Meat base. I stopped doing this some time ago, I prefer the two to be in each other’s company a lot longer. The meal was well seasoned and with the kick was certainly not bland. I kept hoping for more flavours, but none emerged. Even the Spinach should have assaulted the taste-buds, but no.
€39.50. €9.50 of this was the two soft drinks.
Our waiter was charming. He was interested enough to ask what the Indian population was in Scotland. Of course Pakistani and Bangladeshi was the answer. (Apologies to the minority in Scotland who are of Indian descent.) He had never been to Scotland, on a day like today, he would feel at home. We left, the rain continued…