Masala Twist – The Helensburgh Curry Scene Hots Up

The Fourth Day of Operation

There was a Strange Light in the Sky over Helensburgh this evening, a celestial sign? There is finally a Genuine Choice of Curry Houses in this coastal town in the West of Scotland, unlike this time last year.

Steve, Anthony and Hector met just before 17.00 at the Masala Twist (James St., Helensburgh, G84), two former Colleagues were well ensconced, perhaps this venue is open all day. It’s hard to tell since the Masala Twist website is focuses on the Byres Rd operation. Even a precise address is not yet forthcoming.

Steve had popped in yesterday to check the Menu. No Lamb Chops?  Fortunately they were on the Menu, listed just under  the Starters. At £5.95 a Pop, £1.00 dearer than the Hope St Branch. Mmm. £2.00 a Lamb Chop, am I in an Egyptian Restaurant, again? If I click my heels will I find myself in Bradford where Lamb Chops are Attractively Priced?


Two Portions of Lamb Chops were ordered plus a Fish Pakora for Anthony. The Mains would be straightforward for Steve, Lamb Madras, and Anthony – Hyderabadi Dum Lamb Biryani. This is the man who ordered the Tajine on our last outing together at Café Salma. Not a – Vindaloo Man – then.

Hector was in two minds. Lamb Desi? Or make enquiries about the Karahi Bhoona? Could Capsicum be avoided? Which would be more Dry? Which had more Flavour? I decided to tackle the Waiter with the latter.

Which of these two Dishes will blow me away? Somewhere in the discussion Dry took us towards Karahi. The Karahi would be Tikka Lamb, not required. Capsicum had to be avoided. What alternative Vegetable would you like? Potatoes! Ah well.

A Plain Paratha and a Vegetable Paratha would be the Accompaniments, apparently the Biryani comes with Rice. Truly. People order Biryani.

When – The Sir Howard Young – opened its doors, a significant part of the former furniture shop did not become part of the pub. It became a charity shop for a while until a few weeks ago when the Masala Twist banner appeared in the window. This Venue is quite Spacious and Simply Decorated. It is fully licensed and fortunately sells Sparkling Water by the Bottle at a Modest £1.60. The Kitchen is visible at the rear through a large window. The Chefs have been brought down from the Glasgow Branches, as have some of the Waiters to maintain the level of continuity this Curry Chain requires.

The Starters arrived each with a Modest Salad and Two Dips – One Red and Spicy, the other Green. Was it Mint and Mango or just Mint? I didn’t try them, Lamb Chops! Hector found the Lamb Chops to be up to the Expected Standard, but at £5.95 a Portion, definitely More-ish. Steve did not consider the Lamb Chops to be as – Melt in the Mouth – as The Menu suggested. Our Teeth were Collectively Sharper by the time we had finished. Meanwhile Anthony’s Fish Pakora had disappeared without much comment. Or were we too busy gnawing? There was a comment – Good Texture and Taste, didn’t need The Dips, Mint Sauce with Fish? So, no Mango in the Mint Sauce then.

Mein Host cleared the table and asked if we were ready for The Mains. Apparently we were. Fortunately there was a bit of a gap between.

The Former Colleagues came over to exchange views. They had thoroughly enjoyed their Meals. They’ll be back. What Curry Website?

A Brief Panic

Chicken Karahi? Sorry, Lamb Karahi! The Madras and the Plain Paratha accompanied. The Biryani and the Masala arrived soon after with the Vegetable Paratha. Now I have raved about my previous Parathas at the two Masala Twist outlets visited to date. They were Outstanding. This was Darker, Thicker, more Greasy. Steve’s looked both Oily and Flaky. We shall see.


Hector having photographed The Starters was in full – David Bailly – mode. Mein Host was nearby. I shall tell you why I’m taking so many photos later – I offered. He came over and introduced himself and called me by name, and – Hector – is not how he addressed me. Not only was I was expected, the Curry Mask had been unveiled.

The Madras and the Karahi were not dissimilar in appearance. Steve’s verdict on the Madras – Thick, Tomatoey, Garlic, Hot, Lamb was Tender. What one expects from a Half-decent Madras.

Hector suspects the Madras and the Karahi came out of the same pot. A Thick Lamb Stew was the overall impression I was left with. It was Lamb with Potatoes, the latter thankfully the lesser of the two. The Portion was more than Sufficient, with the Paratha certainly filling. The Lamb was Tender, the Kick commensurate with Curry. This Karahi was more Mainstream Curry than what was hoped for.

I shall have to return and see if they can match, or even improve upon the impressive Karahi Dishes I have experienced in their other outlets. And as for the Vegetable Paratha, Ditto.

Meanwhile, The Pearls in The Rice Corner

Anthony was left with a significant quantity of the Masala that was meant to be poured over his Rice. It was Soup. A Spicy Soup as it turned out.

Very Tasty – was Anthony’s verdict. A subtle blend of Spices and not straying into Stew and not overpowering the Lamb. The Accompanying Masala was slightly Over-Robust for my Untutored Palate.

The End Game

Apparently I arrived at the Byres Rd branch and met Raman just as they were setting up the Hope Street branch. The same was repeated when I went to Hope St, Helensburgh was then being set up. Mein Host was more than familiar with Curry-Heute. He was intrigued by my Curry Plans for the immediate future. This is National Curry Week.

The Loyalty Card was acknowledged immediately. They are awaiting delivery of one for the Helensburgh outlet. All who ask will be given one and the corresponding 20% discount.

Tonight’s meal was discussed. The Chef who cooked – The Best Paratha I had ever eaten – in Hope St. was the same Chap who cooked this evening’s. What happened? The Dreaded Capsicum was brought up, as it were. – Why? It was acknowledged that in the Punjab, Green Peppers are not used. The Indians have Krahi, there they are. For me it’s not a matter of Taste, but the Wrong Texture.  It was confirmed that any Menu which describes a Karahi as a Stir-Fry is basically – Wrong.

It was agreed I need to try the Desi. Next time.

The Bill

£48.63. This was after the 20% Discount. Now, why was I happy to spend £5.95 on Three Lamb Chops? An OK price for a Starter and a Main Course.

The Aftermath

I was permitted to take some Photos as I left. It all makes for better Blogging. One suspects this Venue will be very busy this weekend.

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1 Response to Masala Twist – The Helensburgh Curry Scene Hots Up

  1. Lalit says:

    The difference in the vegetable phrantha is that hope streets menu is a tandoori vegetable phrantha, and Helensburghs menus has a normal vegetable phrantha which is cooked on a tava.

    Hector replies:

    And so Hector is now intrigued by the term – Phrantha – so much better than Paratha.
    I am pleased that we now have a direct line of communication. When I report that the Hope St. Paratha was the – Best Ever – this is not praise to be taken lightly, total appreciation. So does the Helensburgh Branch need a Tandoor?
    More importantly…now that you have proven some familiarity with Curry-Heute, are you up for the Challenge of creating a Curry truly fit for a Hector?
    On Thursday I shall visit the Indian Mango in München. Their Fisch Chettinad has also earned the title – Best Ever.

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