Hector-the-Chef was off-duty this evening, Curry-Heute for one required. First stop was the Boulevard Hotel to try and secure the Desi Achari that had promise in May on my last visit. The building is currently undergoing a major redevelopment, there may never be a Curry served here again. A new Takeaway establishment in Yoker was the next port of call. I studied the Menu for some minutes. Nothing inspired me at all, I left. Back to the tried and tested.
I cannot believe it is two years since my last visit to the New Cafe Punjab (18 Alexander St, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, G81 1RZ), Clydebank’s longest established Curry Venue. Having recently spotted a new staff member dressed in an outfit I would not associate with Islamabad I thought it was possible this venue might have changed hands. I was recognised by Mein Host on entry, so no change then.
I was shown to a table for four but on consideration took a smaller corner table. This prevented the Waiter removing three sets of the elaborate table settings. A Buffet was available for those who required it, a Set Menu was also on offer but not offered to Hector. They know.
I have written in previous Clydebank Curry Reports that I believe there to be a Ubiquitous Clydebank Curry Taste. No matter where one goes they all taste the same. Ironically the only exception to this was the Bombay Grill, now closed. So the rule may still hold.
Achari was very much in mind, the description looked fine, the Dreaded Capsicum not mentioned. Surely the Pickle would provide a Taste Variant? Being particularly ravenous, a Side Dish of Interesting Vegetables was required. At £4.00 for any of the listed Vegetable Curry Sides, the Potato Cauliflower had to be captured. Two Chapattis (80p) should be sufficient.
A Can of Perrier, very Posh, was the Sparkling Water of the day.
I asked for a Tender Lamb Achari – Medium with a Kick.
Slightly Hot – was the Waiters Translation.
I couldn’t resist dropping in an – Aloo Gobi – as I ordered The Side.
The Waiter returned moments later to ask what strength I wished the Potato Cauliflower to be. Now this was a first. I have never before been asked to nominate the strength of a Side. Novel and Welcomed.
If I write that the layout has changed then this would be accurate, however what the time frame for this may be, is unknown. The place feels Brighter and more Airy but also tends towards the Spartan. I counted 44 Places set, if full it would still never be claustrophobic. The Buffet was behind a partition running from the doorway. Of the Ten Diners Present, nobody was up for it. They still advertise a Buffet Seven Days a A Week, Lunchtime and Evenings.
The Aloo Gobi and the Chapattis arrived first. Oh.
The Main came soon afterwards, Appearance as expected.
The Achari had the copious quantity of Masala as served in any Mainstream Curry House. It had a Thick-ish Texture and was not too Red. The Citrus Tang came through very quickly as did the Decent Kick. The Lamb was Superbly Tender. I lost count after ten pieces, more than enough. Within the the Limits of Expectation one could not fault this. Small pieces of Sliced Chilli and a Pulse which was Pea-like but more Chana in Texture, was also present. A Single Sliver of Capsicum emerged. This was Fine, in no way Outstanding.
The Chapattis were also Standard Fare, the Thin Ones which would sell for twice as much in Aberdeen, and bear no Resemblance to the Chunky Chapattis served in my Favoured Outlets. Eating both of these would not be a Challenge.
The Tour de Force
The Aloo Gobi was Excellent. The Taste of Cauliflower still came through. The Potato and Cauliflower were shrouded in a Delightfully Thick, Earthy Masala which was Brilliantly Minimal.
Mein Host had spoken to me briefly during my wait for the Curry. He remembered me well, where I worked, what I teach. He was interested in places I have found since my last visit.
At the end of my meal we spoke for a considerable time. We both wrote off some of the Bigger Names on the Glasgow Curry Scene. It is illogical that some Popular Venues are so, Location, Reputation. Do they really Deliver? And why so Expensive?
The Clydebank Curry scene had to be discussed. What can Mein Host do to attract more business? With hundreds of houses soon to be, or under-construction presently, the Customer Base must expand soon. However, there is a realisation that mid-week they may appear here as I have done. At weekends Clydebank goes to Glasgow for Curry.
The Non-Buffet, Buffet
I quoted a realisation that Chinese restaurants have started a fixed price for eat all you can, cooked and brought fresh to the table. The Akash in Helensburgh has launched such a deal for £15.00 per head on Wednesdays only. Dare I mention I have never paid more than £15.00 at Yadgar for the finest Curry (and all that comes with it) served in Glasgow?
Mein Host remembered my Bradford Allegiance. He has been, but has never eaten there. He remains to be convinced that Bradford Curry is that Outstanding. I planted the seeds of The International and the Sheesh Mahal in his mind once more. This time I had Mughals to add to the list – Punjabi Breakfast as first described to Hector by Curryspondent Ahmed and observed at the said venue. He of course knew what I was on about. Hector has yet to sample this. Anywhere open this early selling the Full Menu will tend to sell me a Karahi or Methi Gosht. Maybe in three weeks time?
£14.90. I could have had a Takeaway Tea-Time Special with Loadsa’ Pakora, Rice/Nan and any Curry in a Massive Quantity for about a Tenner. This was well worth sitting in for.