It was a sad day when Hector and Marg said goodbye to Hassan at Café Salma (523 Sauchiehall St, G3 7PQ) at the start of the summer. In the last week news reached Hector that the Venue had reopened as – New Café Salma. After an excellent Curry at Akbar’s on the same block last Friday, I went in to meet the new owner, Tahrir. The Takeaway Menu had some Interesting Fish Dishes. I never did have my Farewell Fish Curry under the auspices of Hassan. So, how good would the New Cafe Salma Fish Dishes be? This evening at 17.00 I chose New Cafe Salma as the Curry-Heute Venue.
Two Chaps, The Staff, sat in the window seat. They were just finishing whatever they had been consuming. The place was empty apart from them. Please sit here – said the Waiter who gestured to the window seat. The other Chap, the Chef, disappeared downstairs. I had to stand and wait while the table was cleared and made ready. The seat was still warm as I took my place – The Living Advertising Hoarding? I counted around forty other seats I could have been placed at. I was far from impressed by this antic.
The New Menu was presented. The Drinks Menu was already on the table. John, who tried the place midweek, had warned me about the price of Sparkling Water. Hector is not prepared to pay £2.45 for a 330ml Bottle, so – Tap Water please.
The Menu is set up with the price of all Murgh (Chicken Dishes) as standard. The Lamb variants are £2.00 extra. This would certainly make Lamb a bit pricey. The single Karahi on offer stated it included Capsicums, that would be create my usual challenge if ordered. A Bhoona looked the best Lamb alternative. However, Hector was here for the Fish. The Monkfish Achari Masala was speaking to me. At £13.95 this had better be good. Mushroom Rice would have to be the Accompaniment. It said Masala, let’s see just how much Masala comes with the Fish. For the record, the Starters are well overpriced.
I had time to study the new layout. The décor had been changed markedly. With a single kitchen downstairs the upstairs is much roomier. Presumably the Ladies is still downstairs. This evening I had no reason to ask to go and inspect what has happened to the old seating area which was the feature of the former incarnation. I was assured my Dish would not be too long. I may have looked impatient, I was actually just taking in the scene.
A stand was brought to the side of the table. Why? The Karahi of Fish Achari was placed on the table with the usual Safety Warning – Don’t touch! The Rice had a Brown Hue and was more than enough for one. The Mushroom content was not overwhelming. I cannot now recall if they were Fresh or Tinned. Five Pieces of Fish had been placed in the Karahi with a Mass of Masala. The Masala was Worryingly Red, two thirds of the contents of the Karahi were spooned on to the Rice. Already I felt that this Dish needed more Fish.
The Monkfish was Rubbery. Not how I would have cooked or served it. Disappointing. The Masala had a Pleasant Tang but was closer to Sweet and Sour than Achari on my Palate. Still, far from Unpleasant. The Fish did not last long. I was down to Rice and Masala when I was asked how I was getting on. Well, he asked.
I’ve nearly finished. There was not very much Fish. The Fish was Rubbery too. I appear to be just eating Rice with Sauce.
I was finished moments later. Putting on the jacket I went up to the Counter.
£16.90. This was reduced to £15.00. I’ll have a word with the Chef downstairs. – I was informed. Was there an Upstairs Chef?
No Calling Card was left, I gave one last Friday. I had said my bit. The Experience was far from Impressive. With three Hector Recommended Curry Houses within metres of the New Cafe Salma, they have their work cut out.
I’m still waiting for the Tap Water.