Mrs. Hari’s Karela Treat at Punjabi Charing Cross

It’s over a year since Alan and Tracy joined Marg and Hector for Curry-Heute at the Punjabi Charing Cross (157-159 North St, Glasgow G3 7DA). Hector had booked the table on the last visit two weeks ago. The Punjabi is doing great business these days and so there was no leaving a table to chance. I also hoped that Hari’s Wife might be persuaded to treat us to another portion of her wonderful Karela.

The rendezvous was at 18.30 next door in the Bon Accord. Some Ale was required, especially after five hours at the CAMRA AGM, where some partook and some were almost abstemious. Alan and Tracy arrived nanoseconds before Hector, Marg was along soon after.

Entering the Punjabi, we were shown to a table set for five people but over two tables. The Poppadoms and Onion Chutney were already in situ, we were expected. The extra place was cleared away, a subtle tactic.

There is no longer Draught Cider on sale at this venue, but they were able to satisfy Alan’s strange tastes. Tracy had Cobra, Marg an Apple based non-alcoholic drink, and Hector stuck to the standard Sparling Water. And so began the Bar Tab.

Having been introduced to the wonderful Keema Padora a few weeks ago, I was looking forward to sharing this new experience with my Co-Diners. Two were ordered plus a Seekh Kebab, Tracy is still not convinced about the merits of Lamb. She was convinced her Kebab would be Chicken.

The Ladies surveyed the Menu, Alan was in the mood for Venison, if available. Hari confirmed the availability, and so Lamb Gurmeet and Venison Gurmeet was the order. Chicken Mulaidhar was Tracy’s choice, Marg went for…wait for it… Lamb Chops! This is exactly what I told Ram she would order when I made the booking. A Mint Sauce was the listed Accompaniment, but Hari offered a Side of a Curry Masala, sorted. Three Chapattis and a Garlic and Coriander Nan were the Accompaniments. Mulaidhar, I had to Google to find out what this was all about. A well known Curry Website told me it has – Spinach, Green Chilli, Coriander in a Creamy Masala. It is also the Dish that Tracy ordered last time. Tracy likes Creamy Curry.

The Bar Tab was added to whilst we waited and munched on the Poppadoms. Hector was indisposed when the Starters arrived. Wot, no Photos! The Padora was reassembled and one of the three Seekh Kebabs returned to the Parent Plate. (Little did Hector know that my Co-Diners had performed the ritual photography in my absence – well trained or what?)

The three who ate the Keema Padora revelled in its wonder. This is indeed worth celebrating again. I am still tempted to ask for a Bucket of this Mince as a Main. The Herb content adds to the Spice, if I was told this had been prepared in Bradford I would believe it. Tracy managed two of the three Seekh Kebabs, Hector is not convinced this was Chicken. I tasted a morsel of the remainder, I still don’t get the fascination people have for this.

I’m sure the Bar Tab was added to once again between the Starters and the Main Course. Usually in this company I would join in, five hours at the AGM had put me off.

The two Men’s Curry looked just the job. The Thick Masala was rich in Methi, the way Hector likes his Curry. The Lamb was on-the-bone, I hadn’t presumed and so was further pleased. Tracy’s initial reaction to her Mulaidhar was how similar it looked to the Makhani served in the original Akash in Helensburgh. With added Cheese, it could be identical. Marg’s Chops numbered Four, enough. Hector would have preferred five. The accompanying Masala looked as if it would take no prisoners. As we got the eating under-way Ram appeared with the tour de force – The Karela.

Ram had almost forgotten. His Mum had spent hours yesterday preparing this Stuffed Vegetable Delight that does not appear on any Menu known to Hector.

The Lamb Gurmeet was as good as it has ever been, sensational! The Portion size was more than sufficient. The Methi was to the fore, a perfect accompaniment to the Lamb, this is Curry. And there’s more. The Karela was too well seasoned for the majority, and far too bitter too. This left Hector and Alan to take care of it. Even Alan must have been a bit phased. This is such a Treat, it may be mushy but the Flavours are intense. What had been used to stuff the Karela only Hari’s Wife knows. Appreciated – so much, that rather than force it down I took the remnants as a Doggy Bag. Hector rarely uses this ploy.

Alan found the Venison to be more Chewy than Lamb. He suspected the presence of some Fat, but there is very little Fat on this animal. Again the Masala was to his taste. Alan has decided that he must bring his Father here, the ultimate complement.

The Ladies had very different experiences. Tracy tends to eat only half her Main Course, she likes Cold Curry for Breakfast. Marg made short work of her Lamb Chops. She considered the Side Masala to be a great choice. With the Lemon Juice squeezed over the Chops and this Masala, she too was in Curry Heaven. This is definitely The Era of the Lamb Chop.

Coffee

Three had Coffee, Hector did not, why spoil the taste of the Curry? Two Chaps finished off and as they left pronounced their Meals as Excellent. Business appears to be quite steady here now. I’m certain that all those who try the Punjabi Charing Cross will return. I am tempted to go and visit the Mother Restaurant – The Modern Punjabi, just for old time’s sake.

The Bill

£80.85. Did I mention the Bar Tab?

The Aftermath

As we put on our coats, Ram came over to say he was going to offer us a round of drinks. Hector was watered out. The Bon Accord always has live Music on a Saturday night, and so off to The Doublet it was.

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