Akbar’s – The Taste of Bradford – In Glasgow!

Akbar’s (573–581 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G3 7PQ) has been hit and miss in Hector’s previous four visits, this evening’s visit was very much the decider.

Arriving at 17.10 I found many people already ensconced in the ritual eating of Curry.  So did they only open at 17.00 today?  I give up.  Hang on, their website says 17.00 during the week, 16.30 on a Friday, 16.00 on a Saturday and 14.00 on a Sunday.  Why not 2pm everyday?

Hector was recognised and sat at a table for four, the rest of the settings were quickly cleared away, space.  The Maitre d’ asked where I had been for the last few weeks.  My last visit was some six weeks ago, and I thought the temptation of Bradford Curry would have had me semi resident by now.  I replied that there are other places to eat, I could have added other cities, even other countries but that would have been churlish.

The ridiculously large Laminated Menu was offered, I knew what I was having – the fated Roshan Lal.  Tandoori Roti at 95p each caught the eye, these instead of the standard Chapattis, I thought.

It was the third waiter encountered today who took the order, he had failed to do so on my first visit so by now he must have settled.  I made it clear I wished my dish In The Asian Style as the proprietor Shabir Hussain himself has instructed the Hector to do.  ‘Do you want it Spicy?’ was the reply… ‘In The Asian Style please, I don’t want Soup!’ He glanced at his watch and informed me that the order would be fifteen minutes.  This is five less than on my first visits, either it was quieter or they are getting their act together as a whole. ‘No, I don’t want Poppadoms.’

The Complementary Salad appeared in no time at all, presented as ever by a Chef.  I knew this signalled the imminent arrival of the meal. Toys away.

The second waiter brought the food, three more waiters would stop and ask me how I was enjoying it.  This is a wearing feature of Akbar’s, the place feels over-staffed and the courtesy could be more subtle.

Now for the positive

I use the term dry frequently in this Blog.  Bradford Curry redefines the term.  I know for a fact how hard the Chefs have to work to remove the surface Ghee. With the Masala at an absolute minimum this Curry looks exactly how it would be served at The International, the Sheesh Mahal, Kashmir et al in Bradford. And as for the flavours… how do they achieve this?  The Bradford Curry taste is so distinctive one could pick this out of a hundred Curry dishes.  That it happens to be my absolute favourite should go some way to relating just how much ecstasy Hector was experiencing.  This must now put Akbar’s in the top half dozen Curry Houses in Glasgow.  This is sheer pleasure.

The Lamb was cut small, possibly even smaller than in previous visits, approaching the Kashmir minute cuts.  Tender of course, and so much of it.  This would last a long time.

The Tandoori Roti were a hoot.  I was not expecting two such large offerings.  I wondered how I would eat both.  The first was hot and soft-ish and was soon devoured with one third of the Lamb. However it did turn crispy quite quickly.  Next time one Chapatti, one Roti, and no plate. The Salad remained untouched.

Hector’s capacity would be sated, this was very apparent before the second Roti was started.  It took mental gymnastics to match the remaining Lamb to the most edible parts of the Roti.  This was fun.  I had realised by now that I had cocked up the order – I had forgotten to exclude the Capsicum.  The pieces started to emerge in the Karahi, this actually aided my ability to finish the Lamb.

The Roshan Lal, In The Asian Style is one hell of a dish.  How many more will I have before I feel I can risk trying the Lamb Karahi?

The waiter who removed the debris, yes another one, was from Bradford. He insisted that the venue under the taxi office next door to the Sheesh Mahal at Westgate is his favourite Bradford Curry House.  Perhaps my Bradford friends will check this out?  How could I go there when the Sheesh Mahal is open?

The Bill

£13.85.  At £2.00 for the Sparkling Water this leaves a fair price for the excellent Curry and Roti.  Paying at the desk I think I had now been dealt with by possibly eight staff members.

The Aftermath

As I marched along Sauchiehall St I passed three venues with people on the pavement handing out discount vouchers, up to 50% at one place.  Why not just drop your prices and improve the quality of  your food?  There are now five Curry Houses around one block west of Charing Cross serving some of the highest of quality Curry served in Glasgow.  It is ironic that later in the Bon Accord I got chatting to a group who had just been to the Koh i Noor, why?

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