Indian Cottage, Merchant City

The Prelude

Leaving Blackfriars last night I spotted somewhere new straight across the road from Cafe India, scene of the last Curry-Heute review, so close they even share the same postcode. The Indian Cottage (42 Albion St, Merchant City, Glasgow G1 1LH) is easily missed with the narrowest of entrances and the Takeaway which strangely has a different name occupying the larger street frontage. Until a few months ago this was the Thali Restaurant, one I had never got around to.

I went in to check there was actually a Restaurant and had to walk quite a distance before the Dining Room came into view. The Hostess, lets call her Daisy, was most friendly and we established they were a new operation. I had time to study the Menu and asked if they could guarantee not serving me the dreaded Mushy Green Vegetable in their Desi Dish. I was assured this would not be a problem. It was established that they would be open mid-afternoon today. The Calling Card was presented, I promised to return.

With only a week of vacation left, Hector was determined to make good use of the day. Approaching the Indian Cottage in daylight it was difficult to tell if they were open, I was nearly turning away but found an open door. How many will walk on by? They need a sign on the Pavement.

Daisy was busy with a Rep and so I stood for a few moments waiting to be seated. Seven Diners were already on the premises. I was seated at a small table towards the rear of the long and narrow room. The Waiter gave me the Menu and then disappeared for a very long time. I had plenty of time to study the Menu again. Stick with the Desi? The Rogan Josh sounded appealing, as did the Chefs Special Bhuna. The Karahi mentioned loads of Capsicum, I couldn’t be bothered.

When the Waiter finally reappeared I verified that the Lamb would be Tender, not Tikka and asked that no Capsicum appear in the Dish. Chapattis at £0.95 looked reasonable, however a Garlic Naan at £1.75 was better value.

I had even more time to study the room. It sat about forty with three larger tables on a raised platform along the opposite wall. Daisy spotted me and waved from the far end of the room. I was sat almost under the Speaker, the Noise I could have done without. The Kitchen was back at the entrance as was the Bar. There was a Glossy Drinks Menu left on the table. My Sparkling Water would cost £1.60.

Is that it?

The Waiter brought a Stainless Steel Bowl containing the Desi, and the Garlic Naan, pre-sliced on a plate. I looked into the Bowl, my heart sank. Way down at the bottom of the Bowl was the Curry. I could see maybe four pieces of Lamb initially and wondered if I had been given a Lunchtime Menu Portion. The Masala was in Dark Brown Classic style, a Thick-ish Soup with perhaps a hint of Yoghurt. Fortunately there did not appear to be too much of this either. I did go on to count eight pieces of Lamb in all and so realised there was a Decent Portion.

The Curry looked Pitiful sitting at the base of the Bowl. I wonder what Dish they serve which would fill it?

There was no Vegetable present in the Desi and so Meat and Masala it was, something I try to avoid.

The Garlic Naan was Sufficient, it lasted the duration, but had no great Flavour of Garlic emanating from it.

Time to Dip

The Masala had a Moderate Kick and lacked any Complexity of Flavour. The Lamb was Tender enough. I find myself once more writing that – This was Curry, I like Curry, but…

When the Waiter eventually came over to ask the customary, courteous question I was scooping the final piece of Lamb. It’s OK – was the reply.

The Curry was indeed – OK.  Curry, competently cooked, one always hopes for better.

The Bill

£10.70. Now this is approximately half of what I paid across the street. It would appear that the Indian Cottage intends to compete on Price. The Bill stated that there would be a £5.00 reduction for those spending £20.00 or more.

The Aftermath

Around the corner, on Trongate, I spotted Shop-Fitters putting up the signs for another branch of Charcoals. Success breeds Success.

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