In The Shadow of a very famous Listed Building, lies a Modest Curry House….
It was one hour short of a week since my last Curry. After a four day trip to Yorkshire with absolutely no chance of a Bradford Curry, or any Curry for that matter, the situation had to be sorted. I phoned the Punjabi (560 Paisley Road West, Ibrox, Glasgow, G51 1RF) to ascertain their Sunday opening time. The number has been in my address book for years, The Modern Punjabi as was, has been frequented by Neil and Hector for over thirty years. It has always served Curry well above the Average. When Marg moved down from Aberdeen, the Modern Punjabi became her Local Curry house. I trust they also served good Pakora and Chicken Korma as Marg ate little else from the Menu in these early days. What changed? Pinta’ Lager.
This is the Parent Venue of the excellent Punjabi Charing Cross. Having been at the birth of the latter, Hari, Mein Host, has told me how he came to takeover the Modern Punjabi some seven years ago. The Modern was dropped, yet this is still how it is referred to in Hector Circles.
Hector had a Cunning Plan. Visit the Punjabi unannounced, take whatever the Menu offered and leave the Calling Card. The Menu here would not contain the Specialties available in the City Centre Branch, so Hari informed me when we discussed this some time in the past.
Ever the Gentleman, Hector let Marg enter the premises first. She immediately said – Hi – to the Chap standing in the dimness of the middle of the room. It was Hari. You are the last Man I wanted to see here today! Caught! Pinta’ Lager.
You are not meant to be here! – I exclaimed. This is my first time here in six weeks – replied Hari.
The Complimentary Poppadoms and Onion Chutney were on their way. The Sparkling Water was arranged and Marg consulted as to her preference. This was not a Pinta’ Lager. Hari then stated that we would be having the Keema Padora – … as it was first perfected here.
The Table was filling up, I was reminded of my first visits to the Charing Cross branch. Can we see a Menu? I had to ask. My reason for being here was to sample the food on offer to the locals, not have a Chef Gurmeet Dish magically appear. The plan was scuppered, I would have to take advice. There were three Dishes on the Menu fit for a Hector. The Garam Masala, the Malaidar and the Punjabi Garlic Chilli. Hari dismissed the Malaidar on my behalf, I would find it too Creamy. I agree, Spinach and Cream is a strange combination, but common across Europe. The Punjabi Garlic Chilli had the Narrow Margin. Chapattis at a sensible 60p would be the Accompaniments.
Marg’s had spotted a Dish that was right up her street. Not only did The Chef’s Special Curry feature Chicken, Lamb and Prawns, it had Fruit in Delicate Punjabi Spices also Herbs, then garnished with Pineapple. One Chapatti.
As The Lone Diners, we had Hari to ourselves, although a Lady did appear to be involved in the Takeaway side of things. Hari and his Waiter took a steady number of Phone-calls during our stay and various sizes of Curry Cargo were dispatched. I reminisced more about the 1970s and my first visits here. Some Chaps took a table on the opposite side of the room. They weren’t expecting to see Hari either.
The Keema Padora, at Source
It was Marg who remarked first on the quality of this Dish. She was not too bothered about a Starter today, but as she took the second Quarter I knew she had fully appreciated this Marvel. This is Ground Lamb rather than what might be referred to as Lamb Mince. Almost a Paste – was Marg’s observation. With the Puri style Bread Base (or is there a subtle difference?), the Raw Onion Slices and the totally Dry Texture, this ticks all of Hector’s Curry Boxes. A couple of these would still make an ideal Main Course.
The Waiter brought the Curry, Lamb Punjabi Garlic Chilli, – Desi-style – he said as he popped it down. Desi-style, now this would not have been the case without Hari present. The Plan was well and truly scuppered. This Curry was Hot! Steaming Hot. It is a joy when the food comes straight from the kitchen and has not sat waiting ten minutes to be discovered by a passing waiter. The Lamb was as Soft as Tender Lamb can be. How they can keep the Lamb like this and stop it turning to Mush is a mystery. The Masala was Thick with Onion, a great combination. The Chapattis had the Girth and the Diameter. A true Chapatti! The Curry was Splendid, but how could it not be? This Venue has a Pedigree going back decades.
Marg’s Special did not look dissimilar to mine. The Masala was identical. As with the Garlic Chilli , the Special was Steaming Hot. Half a Padora meant Marg had no chance finishing her Dish. Again the Lamb was commented upon favourably. The Variety of Meats did the trick, but where was the Fruit? No Pineapple Garnish, no Fruit evident in the Dish. The Fruit must have been Lost in Translation.
I was let loose on the leftovers. The Prawn had added a slight Sweetness to Marg’s Special. A rather large piece of Chicken had to be tackled. Hector eats Chicken? It tasted like – Chicken. No Curry influence at all. I rest my case.
£22.30. This was a very modest total. Prices out of the City Centre would be expected to be lower. There was a banner outside advertising a Buffet at £8.95. Marg heard one of the recent arrivals ask for The Buffet. No Buffet was set up. Is it case that at the Punjabi one can order what one wishes for a flat fee as some Chinese Restaurants now offer? The only way to compete with City Centre Buffets? Hari will no doubt solve the mystery when next we meet.
Hari appreciated the fact that my first Curry in a week was at his establishment. My last Glasgow Curry was at his other outlet.
One night, long ago, Neil, Tubby and Hector headed along from a Cessnock Hostlery to Ibrox for a Curry at The Modern Punjabi. Top stave off Hunger, Tubby ordered Chicken Balls at a local Takeaway en route. As we entered the Punjabi, Tubby ordered – Pinta’ Lager! As we sat at our table he ordered again – Pinta’ Lager! The Waiter assured him his Lager was on the way. No, this is the next one I’m ordering now. A Lager Legend.
If you want Keema Padora you’ll have to to the Punjabi Charing Cross.
Hari and Family have sublet to a new business.
Bill, the founder of the Modern Punjabi has contacted Hector. This story will hopefully develop further. Meanwhile here is a photo of the Original Menu.
Yes it is a bit faint. I cannot see the price of a Pinta’ Lager!