A Midweek Curry, Decadence. A Midweek Curry with Marg, a Treat.
As announced in a well known Social Media Platform, I had decided to go Traditional this evening. The Akash (45 Sinclair St, Helensburgh, G84 8TG) as has been reported a few times now, is under new ownership. This evening I would order the combination of Starter and Main Course I have literally eaten hundreds of times at The Akash. I must have liked it. Chicken Chat followed by Lamb Rogan Josh.
Marg has always raved about the Pakora here and so this was her chosen Starter. Rather amusingly she opted for Lamb Karahi as her Main Dish, my stalwart of recent times. We would share a Garlic and Coriander Nan (not specifically mentioned on the Menu) and a Mushroom Rice. We declined Poppadoms et al.
The Waiter this evening was not the usual Chap, Mein Host certainly recognised me on entry. This was Marg’s first visit to the New-co. She told the Waiter how attractive the New Menu is. The photo of the Taj Mahal on the Cover prompted the story of how his family originated in Agra but moved after The Separation. The mentioning of this piece of history is a rarity.
Behold the Capsicum #1
The Portion of Vegetable Pakora was enough to share in itself. I cringe at Venues where they present four or five pieces. Marg considered the pieces to be bigger than The Akash norm, but still Fresh and Crispy. The Chicken Chat is unfortunately not the same Unique Interpretation as has been served here for the past thirty years. This version was large Chicken Tikka pieces accompanied by large pieces of the Dreaded Green Vegetable. There was a covering of something Red which was different from the usual Yoghurt based Dip. The Chicken was neither Hot or Cold, Lukewarm. The worst of Both Worlds. There was a hint of Flavour from the Chicken but it could have been better Fired. I ate all the Capsicum! My objection is when Capsicum is included with Meat and Masala, this felt like the exception that proves the rule, whatever that means.
Behold the Capsicum #2
Both of the Main Courses at least had a Masala consistency which was Thicker and Drier than as served in the majority of Venues. Given the Lancaster Experiences last Weekend, this was on the Dry end of The Spectrum.
The Rogan Josh
Accompanying large Pieces of Onion was the Signature Tomato which had been included at the end of Cooking, do Chefs still use Food Dye to give an overall Redness? The quantity of Meat in the Rogan Josh was most impressive. Each piece was much larger than the norm and when I counteded double figures I had to be impressed. This was indeed a Generous Portion. But was it Lamb? The Meat was not the Texture I associate with Lamb, too Fibrous. If one defines Curry as Meat served in a Spicy Sauce then this is where the whole Meal disappointed. There was no Kick whatsoever, I had asked for Stronger than Medium. There was very little Flavour, at times, none from the Melange. That the Taste of each slice of Mushroom stood out when combined with the Rice says it all. There was pile of Chunky Capsicum left on the bottom of the Aluminium Karahi. A disappointment overall.
The Lamb Karahi
Marg rarely finishes her Main Course. Having polished off the Pakora she was defeated before she began. This gave Hector the opperchancity to fully sample her Karahi. Again the Portion was Significant, the Meat again was questionable. It is possible to eat a Lamb Curry and be overwhelmed by the Flavour of Lamb/Mutton, not tonight. The Masala was a more realistic Brown in colour. This Dish had a lot more Substance than the Rogan Josh. Marg found it quite Spicy, it was definitely more powerful than my Dish, yet she had asked for Medium. This was Curry, by no means outstanding, but it was Curry.
The Waiter brought an extra Side Dish for Hector – Daal. Last time it was Chickpeas and Chicken. The Daal was much more seriously Spiced than the Mains. This meant I was able to keep the Rice for the Curry and used the Nan to Dip in the Lentils. This combination gave up more Flavour than the Rogan Josh by far. The Fresh Coriander on the Nan coupled with the Spicy Daal was a Sheer delight. The Nan itself was Huge! There is no need to order more than one Nan if they keep this up, impossible to finish even when sharing. I ate the Doughy end, Marg the Crispy – Harmony. When the Waiter came across to give the customary check I made a special thanks for the Daal. I also told him I have been searching for Daal Makhani (he then pronounced it better than me – Mak-knee) all over the West of Scotland. Maybe some body will take the hint?
The sheer quantity of food set before us was impressive. The extra Portion did take us to excess. However, it is touches such as this which win customers and keep them regular, no pun intended. Next time I might try a Vegetable Curry – what? Unless I can find a Fish Dish.
£36.95. We did have two Starters, and there was the Bonus Daal. I do not know what the two Soft Drinks were charged at.
Hector was a Curry Consultant this evening. Where should I take my Son for his first Curry? The answer was The Village. Where is the Best Curry around these parts? The answer was Yadgar, it will be interesting to see if they go. In the past twenty four hours I have also advised a group of Doctors on a Bachelor Party to book the Downstairs at The Punjabi Charing Cross.
This is really what this Website is all about.