Kirkwall – Orkney Islands – Dil Se – Hector’s First Orcadian Curry

Curry in The Pink

Hector and Marg get the Spring Vacation under-way, proper, with a first ever trip to Orkney. Hector tends to fly South towards the Sun, this year there is no Heat outside of The Tropics in the Northern Hemisphere we feel. Arriving yesterday by ‘Plane we spent the afternoon familiarising ourselves with Kirkwall and locating the Two Curry Houses. Dil Se (7 Bridge St, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands KW15 1HR) with its garish Pink Exterior certainly was not difficult to spot. Prior research had suggested that this may be the better of the two, however, Indian Garden may have the better Menu. We shall see, hopefully.

After a very long day covering the West and North of what the Orcadians call The Mainland, Hector was ready for Curry-Heute. Skara Brae had lived up to expectations, the Broch of Gurness was unknown until today, whilst the time spent with Rob at the Highland Brewery, Swannay, will be written up Bier-Traveller.

Entering just before 18.00 we were the first customers of the day. We were given a table with four settings on the right of the long room. The Exterior Pink had been maintained inside too. With the Interior Lighting, Pink did not feel out of place. In fact the Interior was well decorated, there was Space too. The Orcadian small windows had made it difficult to see in. One should not let the Pink be off-putting.

Mein Host presented the Menu, now there was Fun to be had here, and not a Flag in sight. Main Courses were available at say £8.90. The price with Rice or Nan was listed beside this, at £11.90. There was no saving whatsoever, Puzzling. Can people not add? The table had an advertisement offering a 20% Discount, or to be precise a Fixed Price of £16.00 for Starter, Main Course plus Nan/Rice. What Starter costs £8.00 in order to create a total of £20.00 so that a saving of £4.00 could made? Perhaps they do hope people cannot add?

We decided to go a la carte and no Starters. Having dismissed the page of Tikka Dishes, this did not leave a large selection. The words Karahi, Methi and Fenugreek were not spotted on the Menu. Vindaloo was considered, Balti was dismissed. Once again I was in the mood for Rice. The Mushroom Rice looked appropriate. Marg jumped in at this point and stated she was having Lamb Achari. This was described as being Mango based and not the expected Pickle. A Garlic Nan would accompany. So Rogon Josh it was for The Hector. But there’s more. Marg had spotted another Special Offer on the Menu, buy two Sides and make a genuine saving. I fancied a Side of Bombay Aloo. I had to explain to Marg that Rice is a Sundry and Aloo a Side, so again no saving.

The £4.95 charge for a Bottle of Sparkling Water was dismissed as ridiculous. At £1.60 for a 330ml Bottle, well I shall let the Reader do the Arithmetic this time…

The order was placed, the wait was worryingly short. When the Waiter pushed the Trolley out after only a few minutes I felt we were in for something quite poor, we would as it happened be pleasantly surprised. The Achari was the classic Soup-like Masala. I was glad I had not ordered this. Marg took some of the impressive Vegetable Rice (OK, Mushroom was dominant), there was more than enough to share. She then dipped with the Tasty Garlic Nan quarter confirming a Sweet and Mango Flavoured Masala. This Marg liked, but it was far too Sweet for Hector. Marg went on to remark that there was a strong similarity to Patia but as the Masala was not the customary Patia-Red, the Pale Brown worked. Let Patia be enjoyed by those who order Chicken, in our book, Lamb Patia does not work. Hector has cooked it, never again.

The Rogon Josh was a completely different Dish. With plentiful Lamb and a better than average viscous Masala, this Dish had promise. We both knew we were eating Lamb, the quality of the Meat was excellent. Onion Slices and the customary Half-cooked Tomato gave the Dish the justifiable Rogon Josh nomenclature. There was a decent Kick and a Flavour I have never experienced before, Earthy is how Marg described her sample. It helps when the Co-Diner adds a new Adjective. The Bombay Aloo turned out to be the Perfect Accompaniment. There was an Aromatic Flavour from the Potatoes, not my usual Methi Blast. Aromatic and Earthy, a Curry with Flavour! This is not always the case. Some tiny pieces of the dreaded Green Capsicum appeared from the Rice but this was negligible, well almost. The Rice with Bits did enhance the overall experience even the Mushrooms tasted of em, Mushroom! I had a Quarter of the Nan to mop up the excess Masala.

This was a well above average Curry Experience in a Restaurant with a Modest but Mainstream Menu.

The Bill

£33.40. Marg had a Soft Drink and a Coffee too, so with the Side Dish, this is exactly what would be paid back in Glasgow. No Savings, but a Decent Price.

The Aftermath

The Calling Card was presented and explained. The Waiter showed it to his Colleague who had been present throughout. Our Curry Pedigree was outlined. Glasgow was acknowledged as being a City of Curry. Birmingham was then bid by our Hosts, we saw their Birmingham and raised them a Bradford. Pleasant Chaps.

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