There was an exchange of information at lunchtime. Graeme asked me where I thought the Best Curry was served in Aberdeen. The Echt Tandoori, Aberdeenshire was my reply. He was immediately interested, Hector was the third person to tell him this. He will be headed there soonest. He advised me that the Locals in The City of Aberdeen consider Shri Bheema’s (15-17 Belmont St., Aberdeen, AB10 1JR). For Hector’s final meal of this Aberden Sojourn, it had to be tried.
Marg and Hector climbed the Stairs in Belmont St to the Curry House. A Vestibule was unmanned, a small room lay off to the right. A Chap appeared – Do you have a Booking? There was no sign of any other Customers. Did we need one?
We were taken through a narrow gap separating the Vestibule to the Main Dining Room, a Group of Eight, with Young Children were in the midst of Curry Eating. Together we would occupy Ten of the estimated Fifty available seats. We passed perhaps four more other Staff Members, each one gave a Smile and Nod of Welcome. So far so good.
We were shown to a Smallish Table for Two on the Opposite Side of the room from the Group. They were sat at the Window overlooking the Chasm which I’m told will not be redeveloped. For once The Planners are not to blame for this lack of action. With Menus in hand, The Waiter tentatively offered us Poppadoms. Only having read The Menu to the very end did Hector discover the Final Entries under – Extras. Poppadom, £0.99, Dipping, £0.99. Well that was £3.98 saved already. Not so impressive
Hector has written before about Aberdeen Curry Houses upping the cost of Bread to seemingly ridiculous levels. £2.49 for a solitary Chapatti is not on. No Chapattis for us tonight.
As we all know, in Bradford Three Chapattis are included in the Price of every Curry, or Paratha/Naan/Rice depending on choice. Anything more than £1.00 for a lump of Dough is Profiteering in The Book of Hector. And so Paratha for Hector (£2.99) and Naan for Marg (£2.99) it would be. They had better be Huge.
Marg considered a few Curry Dishes before deciding on Butter Chicken – Chicken cooked with onion, tomato in a creamy sauce with herbs and spices.
The Shri Bheema’s is a South Indian Restaurant. Dosa, Oothappam, and Sambar all feature. Not my style. For Hector, South India means one thing – Chettinad. Only Lamb Chettinad was mentioned on The Menu, no sign of Fish. Dear Reader, excuse The Hector for a moment whilst I recall the Splendour that is the Fisch Chettinad served in the Indian Mango, München. Indeed there was only One Fish Curry (cooked in a rich brown gravy with herbs ans spices.) No thanks. The Lamb Chettinad had a Three Chilli rating – Lamb cooked in a traditional South Indian curry sauce and made from ground spices, coconut and curry leaves. A possibility. Lamb Kadai was another Dish which caught the eye. Lamb cooked in a traditional kadai on a high heat mixed with onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and spices. The Dreaded Green Mushy Vegetable was not mentioned in either Dish. I would take advice.
The Young Waiter stated that the Kadai would have Green Pepper (only in Aberdeen and Berlin has Hector encountered this pathetic statement) and that it would be cooked in a Wok. A Stir-fry by any other name. I had made my request for – as Dry as The Chef can cook a Curry. Why do Chefs believe the Karahi/Kadai has to be prepared in this manner? Could The Chef not hold back the Capsicum? I sensed that better Communication between Waiter and Chef could have been in order. I could also have adopted the Hector role more emphatically to secure The Hector Curry. The Chettinad was dismissed by The Waiter as – it would have sauce. He offered the Bhuna as a Dry Alternative. This I ordered – blind. So, no Fish Chettinad for Hector.
The offer of Poppadoms was declined for the second time. Hector had his usual Sparkling Water, Marg was given a Pint of Soda and Lime. The Prices of the Soft Drinks were acceptable. I spotted the offer for a 750ml bottle of King Cobra at 7.5% for a modest £8.99. Who has decided to unleash this on The British Public?
The Group left, another similar sized Group arrived. I was amused when the Specials Board was changed from a Curry to a Turkey Dinner. Just what the People of Aberdeen need on Boxing Day. Boxing Day, possibly one of Hector’s Favourite Dates in the Calendar – 364 Days until xmas.
The Presentation of The Plates preceded the arrival of the Food. The Plates were warm! The Paratha was very Modest in size but looked very Fresh, perhaps slightly underdone, surely it needed to be Better Fired? The Naan was halved and looked on the Dry side. Marg was on board with not paying the surcharges for the Naan Variants.
The Butter Chicken had a Smile, made from the late addition of Cream. This looked as if it would please Marg, it did. Creamy with a Kick, was her description. My Second Best Butter Chicken, ever! Her Favourite remains Mother India’s Café (Glasgow). Still, praise indeed.
The Masala in the Bhuna was Suitably Thick. One still would have hoped for Less. At first the Portion looked a but on the Small side, but the Lamb was cut Large, there was Sufficient. The First Dip of the Paratha brought Instantaneous Pleasure. Curry with Real Flavour, here we go.
One couldn’t help analysing the content. The Dish was very aromatic. (Green) Cardamom were very much to the fore with something lurking in the background. Cinnamon came to mind, however, Mace was read when the studying The Menu later. In terms of Mainstream Curry this could not be faulted. A Very Good Curry indeed.
The Young Waiter approached as we were both mopping up the final grains of Masala from the Metal Bowl. He asked if his Recommendation was good. He saw the Evidence for himself.
£31.23. With Poppadoms this would have been way more than anticipated, we had avoided the potential rip-off. The Breads were Expensive but were balanced by the Reasonably Priced Soft Drinks.
The Calling Card was presented, another Chap came over.
This was The Best Curry I have been served in Aberdeen for Years.
He was pleased to hear this. We only have 100% Indian Chefs.
Fish Chettinad was discussed. I mentioned the Indian Mango. I am assured they will be able to have a go next time. There will be a Next Time.
The Takeaway Menu confirmed 65 Seats on these premises. There is also a new Venue at Bridge of Don with a dedicated Car Park and seating of up to 80 Covers.