Today Hector finds himself at a Curry House which has been ignored for too long. Cafe India (29 Albion St., Merchant City, Glasgow, G1 1LH) began life in 1987 at an entirely different location. The current Merchant City site came into being after the fire of December 17, 2006 at the original premises on North St., next to the Mitchell Library. The former site was where Hector had his most Memorable Buffet. This must have been in the first year or so of Cafe India in North St. Never before had I eaten so much, the entire company was in pain, never again. Aye right.
Marg and Hector had a mid-afternoon Curry at the Merchant City site not long before the start of Curry-Heute, so this was by no means a first encounter.
Entering around 15.00, seven Diners were in situ at three tables. The premises are spread over two Dining Rooms, plenty of Space. It was obvious one had to stand at the Dais and wait to be seated, there was nobody there. Three Ladies came in and asked me if the Buffet was on. Another Couple arrived. And most Curry Houses are not open mid-afternoon, clearly no demand. The Waiter approached me no doubt thinking I was the Leader of the assembled Group.
A Table for One.
Please take a seat.
Is the Buffet on?
A Table for Two.
Please take a seat.
I found this Ritual to be strange. I didn’t sit and was soon taken to the bench Table for Two where I had sat on my last visit. I chose to face the Open Kitchen and was sure I recognised one of the Chefs. Is he on the Mother India’s Cafe Wall of Fame?
I was given the Lunchtime Menu, two Courses for around £9.00 but immediately asked for the Main Menu. I am in the Merchant City so Prices could be higher. I am also fifty metres from Glasgow Cross, Prices could be lower. The Karahi was reasonably priced but the description put me off – An Abundance of Capsicums and Onions. Knowing my luck I would end up with a Plate of Onions once the Capsicums were dismissed from the order. This did not leave a whole lot of of choice. I spotted only one Fish Dish, Sea Bass and again the description did not sound particularly Curry-like. This left the Keema Muttar. At £14.95, appreciably more than the other Dishes I gave this lengthy consideration. In the end I decided that I was not in the mood for an Ordinary Curry, it would have to be the Mince. At least the Fulka Chapattis (£1.00) were not at a rip-off price.
All Soft Drinks (Draught) were advertised at £1.85. So they would make their Profit from the modest Glass of Soda Water that was presented.
The Waiter took the order – Lamb Keema – he confirmed. I had not spotted Parathas on the Menu and so asked. A Prantha at £3.45 was dismissed. – Two Chapattis, I wasn’t taking the risk of them being pitiful.
Two Chefs were on duty, one would assume more in the evenings. They busied themselves with the now three orders, meanwhile a passing Waiter checked I had been served.
The original Waiter brought the Food. I hope you enjoy it.
I hope so too.
The Keema had no Masala as once would expect however the Dish could be best described as Moist-Dry. Eh?
Slightly Under-seasoned the Curry was still very Pleasant but lacked the Methi hit one had hoped for. There was a decent Kick and absolutely no sign of any Oil Lake forming on the Base of the Karahi. Oh, and The Peas were Hard-ish. One and a Half Chapattis was quite sufficient.
The Staff were Courteous and Attentive. I was asked more than once if they could get me anything else.
£18.80. Welcome to The Merchant City.
The Calling Card was given to the Waiter who received it Graciously.