Manzil – Aberdeen, A Night To Remember

This is the Fifteenth consecutive year that Hector has enjoyed a Curry on the Eve of Marg’s Favourite Day of The Year, or – xmas – as I can just about force myself to call it. To say I could care less would be appropriate. Still, I need a new Pair of Sox, and in Two more Days I might even have a Bier. Yes Hector is full of The Festive Spirit. Five Hours in Glasgow Airport on Friday followed by another Five Hours at Heathrow Yesterday (after Two Hours in Düsseldorf) has placed me in a Very Relaxed Zone. Dr. Rick sent an email suggesting I should have realised the gods were sending me Signals.

The Trusty Samsung was struggling to Communicate with Base as we drove into the City of Aberdeen to select a New Curry-Heute Experience. Over the past Fifteen Years Various Venues had Risen and Fallen in my Estimation. I have no allegiance currently to any Aberdeen Curry House, hence the motivation to try somewhere new. The Lahore Karahi has never lived up to the Level of Expectation. The Jewel in The Crown is surviving on Former Glory, it is not what it was.

Nawaabs is Fair to Good. The Nazma Tandoori   disapointed in the last visit, Hector having previously held it in High Regard. There are a few newer Flashy Joints in the Union St. area, Hector likes Curry, not Flash. Curry-Heute currently recommends no Aberdeen Curry Venues, but to the West lies the Echt Tandoori – which in 2014 may achieve Recommended Status.

The Manzil Restaurant (22 King St., AB24 5AX) is a Venue we have driven past en route to the Lahore Karahi, it is years overdue a visit. I phoned to ensure they had a Table for Two. On entering we found ourselves to be the First Diners of the Evening, it was just after 18.30.

Window Dressing

There were Five Booths seating Four along the window, we were placed in the middle. For once this was appreciated, a Paraffin Heater sat adjacent. Aberdeen in December, not a Warm Place. The Waiter asked if we wished The Buffet. This was declined. With a Quiet Evening in prospect one wonders how a Restaurant can serve a Buffet. The new system of order anything from The Menu at a Buffet Price would surely be a better tactic all round?

The Buffet is served Seven Nights a Week, £13.95 on a Friday and Saturday, £12.95 for the remainder. The Manzil Website describes this as a Gourmet Buffet. To what extent this is justified Hector shall never discover.

The Menus were brought and The Complimentary Poppadoms and Dips. I shall highlight the Plurality of the Poppadoms, one each. The Accompanying Lime Pickle, Mango Sauce and Spiced Onion was, shall we say, Minimalist. Hardly enough for One, but at least there could be no question of these sneakingly appearing on The Bill later.

Marg was taken by the Nentara which mentioned Mehi (another spelling variant) and Finely Chopped Onions. How often does Marg end up with Big Blobs of Onion which she does not enjoy? Two Chapattis (£1.50) to Accompany.

Dare Hector order the Lamb Karahi? The Menu made no mention of Capsicum/Paprika. I am in my Homeland, I should have no problem communicating my Desired Dish. I asked the Waiter to ensure that No Capsicum were added. I asked for the Karahi in Lamb and to be served Spicy. Having established that Fresh Methi was on the Premises, I asked or Extra Methi. Finally – I don’t want Soup, can I have the Karahi as Dry as The Chef can make it please? The Mince Paratha had to be tried.

I could just about hear one Waiter relate this Complex Order to another.

I could just about hear

Meanwhile a Couple with Two Young Children had entered and were sat in the corner Window seat. Four Adults also arrived to be sat more into the room. We were in a Triangle, equidistant from the Paraffin Heater. The latter Group opted for The Buffet, I could tell as they were eating very quickly. Meanwhile the Family were attracting Needless Attention. One Child was climbing all over the furniture, well around the window. The other was Banging. Well I assumed it was the Child and not The Parent. Bang, Bang, Bang went the Cutlery on the Formica Table. This made a sufficient Racket so as to amuse the Perpetrator. The Parents did nothing. Whilst the Parents were discussing what type of Flour was used in the preparation of The Breads, The Cutlery was now being Scraped across The Table. I felt sorry for The Waiter. To The Floor, Crash. The Cutlery landed on The Floor. End of, I hoped.

But no, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Scrape, Scrape, Scrape. This went on and on. I warned Marg I would have to say something. This is simply not acceptable in a Restaurant. We were here – To Dine. In a Café Scenario, Fine.

The Waiter came over and asked if we were ready for our Mains. You can produce them that quickly? I had to ask.

Hector is forced to take Action

Incessant Noise. For the second time The Cutlery hit the Floor. I had to do something. I went over and spoke to The Father. We came here for a Quiet Meal. This Level of Noise is not Acceptable.

The Waiter came over and offered to re-locate us. The Father stood up, Cash in hand and was willing to depart, immediately. I thought The Waiter meant to move us to another seat within the room, however he showed us through to another room which was in Darkness. This was set up differently. Buffet in one room, A la Carte in another? Our Appreciation was Expressed. The Lights went on, Cue The Music! We then had to endure some Murderously Awful C&W Interpretations of songs that weren’t. One has to retain a Sense of Humour.

There was Curry Too

Two Virtually Identical Metal Bowls of Curry were presented. Which one was the Karahi? Where was the Karahi? Both Bowls were placed upon the Candle-Heaters which had previously been set before us. The latter had more Tomatoes, other than that it would have been impossible to tell them apart. So much for – Dry. Marg was given a Plate with Two Folded, Decent Sized, Chapattis. Hector was given the Greasiest Paratha ever seen, it too was folded.

There was a Small Sprinkling of Fresh Coriander Leaves on top of the Karahi, no sign of any Methi, Extra or otherwise. There was a Kick.

The Masala was Rich in Onion (Strips) and Pulped Tomato, if I had ordered Rogan Gosht then this would have been exactly what I would have expected. This was a pleasant enough Curry. Three times we were asked if the Meal was – OK.

Yes, it’s OK – was my reply on each occasion. The Curry was indeed – OK.

The Paratha was disappointing. As in Encounters Elsewhere, a Layer of something resembling Pink Meat was spread across the Interior of the Unleavened Bread. I have mentioned the Grease, if this was Donner Meat then – Ugh, not what was hoped for. The Menu said – Mince. I did not see Mince.

Now Marg had to remark on the Strips of Onion in her Curry. Finely cut – she distinctly recalled from the description of the Nentara on The Menu. How many times in the years of Curry-Heute has Marg ended up with a Dopiaza Variant. Excessive Onion is not to her Taste. However, Marg thoroughly enjoyed her Curry – It was Great, Lovely. A Good Curry with a Good Hint (?) of Ginger.

The Bill

£32.10. This included Two Soft Drinks both served in a Glass therefore maximising Profit.

The Aftermath

The Calling Card was placed beside The Bill.

How much does it cost to advertise? – asked the Young Waiter. Now there’s a question Hector has never been asked before. I believe he misinterpreted what Curry-Heute was about despite me showing him the List of other Aberdeen Curry Houses already reported upon.

Anchorman 2. If one enjoyed the Original, this is certainly worth a viewing.

How does the Beach Cinema survive?

Update December 2015

Manzil is no more.

Maya is the new branding.

Update April 2017

Even Maya has gone, and before I had a chance to visit.


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