The Week of Curry Excess continues. Hector and Marg find themselves in Aberdeen, aka The Ale Desert. Curry is my only pleasure. This evening we collected Sandy and Dr. Tracey from their their Ever-expanding Palace and headed off once more into the Aberdeenshire Hinterland. Kenny, taking time off from a busy schedule of TV News Interviews and his Dear Lady – Miss X – who does not tolerate Social Media, would complete – The Echt Six.
The destination was once again the Echt Tandoori (Main St., Echt, Westhill, Aberdeenshire, AB32 6UL), a Curry House that has set a New Standard and has people leaving Aberdeen City in droves for the Finest Curry. Calm! Now where should We go for Quality Ale?
Four arrived early, the table booked in the name – Hector. Who knows what they had written down? The table was ready, the same table as last August. Hector sat in what he now regards as – His Spot. Sandy sat opposite, the Ladies at the far end, Hockey would no doubt preoccupy them pro tem. Kenny and Miss X arrived punctually. As we were here – To Dine – Hector followed the flow and ordered Cobra Lager.
The last time I had Cobra was at this very establishment. It didn’t impress. At 4.8% One waits for Taste, Something. Nothing happens. Containing both Rice and Corn, I cannot recommend this Chemical Concoction. Reinheitsgebot rules!
Sandy and Hector had studied The Menu. Sandy was impressed by the New, Robust and Artistic Layout. Hector spotted new names, words, terminology not seen before. Khazana, Anarkoli, Jaflongi Satkora, Dil-ka-bagar. Between us we would sample all of these. Prior to this was – The Offer – of Poppadoms. At £1.00 each, the Plate piled high was more Business than Offer. Fortunately, the Accompanying Dips were not charged for in then end game.
The Fundamental Curry-Heute Test is when a Curry House serves an Impressive Dish, can they repeat it to the same degree? Unfortunately there is no T’Internet inside the Echt Tandoori and so I had to find the Hector Curry. Later I was able to establish that it was the Lamb Deshi I had enjoyed last August, I do not recall seeing this on The Menu this evening.
The Khazana spoke to Hector. A Thick Masala Promised, Madras level Kick Anticipated, Dry to be Negotiated. I did remember the Side, Aloo Gobi. It had held its own against the Main Course Lamb Dish, more of this please.
Marg and Kenny were taken by the Jaflongi Satkora. But what is Satkora? The Waiter, who must have been the same Chap that served us at this table last year, stated it would add a Tangy, Citrus Flavour. Sounds Ideal. Marg would be Lamb, Kenny Chicken. At the last moment, Kenny changed to Lamb. Miss X ordered the Dil-ka-bagar in Chicken.
Tracey went for the Anarkoli Chicken whilst Sandy stayed Mainstream, Chicken Rogan Josh. Sandy too added an Aloo Gobi.
Pilau Rice, Chapattis, Naan – both Kulcha and Garlic – plus a Plain Paratha for Hector were the Accompaniments. Chapattis charged at £1.10 is almost acceptable given Our Locus. A far cry from the Extortion practised in Aberdeen City Curry Houses.
The Waiter had recorded all of the above on his Electronic Gizmo. It could not however cope with Hector’s Fine Tuning. I asked the Waiter to ensure that the Khazana was – … as Dry as The Chef can prepare it.
I could just give you Lamb on a plate. – was his reply.
But that would not be Curry!
He promised to tell The Chef in person.
Knowing there would be a wait, Two Portions of Vegetable Pakora were ordered for Our Collective Amusement. These came with due dispatch. Two Portions, Four Pakora in each. We were Six. Surely Someone could have seen sense here? Fortunately the Vegetable Pakora will be remembered for all of the right reasons. They were Fresh, as good as I make myself. (Note to Self- Publish My Recipe) The Gram Flour based Batter was not Thick to Stodgy as served in so many places. The Fresh Coriander was abundant. These are lovely – Marg declared immediately. She would later go on to declare that this was The Best Pakora, Ever. The Akash (Helensburgh) is now demoted to #2.
Half a Pakora?
Facing the Bar, I could only sense how busy the Echt Tandoori was this evening by the constant flow of drinks. It was a Saturday. Nobody should ever consider just turning up and expect a table. Booking is necessary. I would estimate they can sit no more than Fifty at a time, perhaps Even Less. Another Waiter looked very familiar. Hector has encountered him somewhere else in the Near Past. This is a mystery that was not solved this evening.
In Reasonable Time, the Food was wheeled out on a Trolley. Each Dish handed to its Pursuant, except for Kenny. We were a Lamb Jaflongi Satkora short. So much for the Electronic Gizmo. Marg and Kenny decided to share whilst the Missing Curry was located. The Given Dish looked fit for a Hector. When the Missing Curry did turn up, the Portion was approaching the Half Kilo, Huge. I hoped to get a sample later.
The Hector Curry
The Lamb Khazana was presented exactly as asked for. The Masala shrouded the Lamb, there was no Masala or even Oil collecting on the base of the bowl. Another Perfect Paratha was torn and used to scoop the Lamb. The Lamb was Excellent, yet it was somewhere in the scale from Tender to Tikka. This was not Lamb that had sat in the Curry Pot all day. The Flavours that emerge from the Curry served in Echt are Unique. There was a Slight Sweetness from the Onion Wedges. The Seasoning was Spot-on. Trying to guess the Ingredients? Pointless. They really have to be congratulated for serving Curry that is this Full of Flavour.
Once again, the Aloo Gobi held its own against the Lamb. The Seasoning perhaps even more – In One’s Face. This is necessary for the Full Curry Experience. The Differing Textures of the Potatoes and Cauliflower were the Perfect Counterpoint to the Lamb.
There are Two Negatives
The Rhazana was not as Piping Hot as Hector wishes his food to be served. In my Favourite Places, both Curry and Bread are usually served – Too Hot to Handle. This Dish had evidently sat whilst the rest were assembled on the Trolley. Two Pieces of the Dreaded Mushy Vegetable had sneaked their way into the Rhazana, One Red, One Green. Capsicum was not listed as being part of this Dish. Had it been, I would have insisted upon it’s exclusion. Apologies to regular Readers who must be well bored with this, but as Curryspondent Ahmed has confirmed from The Homeland, Capsicum has no place in Curry. Does the Mushy Veg not originate from The Americas?
Marg and Kenny faced defeat with the Second Jaflongi Satkora. I was so sated there was no sampling. Very Tasty – said Marg, and not for The First Time. I must stop saying that. Tangy, better than the Dish on my last visit. Divine – said Kenny. Mild, Full of Flavour, when it arrived.
The Man from Castle Fraser has voted – Yes – already.
When I gazed at Dr. Tracey’s Chicken Anorkli, I could not help but imagine it in Lamb. Here was the Definitive Dry Curry. Last year – Dry – was an issue with Dr. Tracey. Too salty, over-seasoned – was the verdict this time. In the car on the way back to Aberdeen I described the Curry in Erlangen. Now that is Salty!
Where can I find a Venue that sells Butter-bean Curry?
Sandy and Hector had been discussing the evolution of Rogan Josh over the years. First encountered by Hector in the 1980s, this Dish was decidedly Tomato Dominated. Sometime and in some places Tomato became replaced by Cream. One never knows what One is going to get these days. Not much like a Rogan Josh, but very tasty – remarked Sandy. The Aloo Gobi clearly went down well with the Kulcha Naan.
The Dining reached a conclusion, but then the Ladies decided that Coffee was required. The Chaps finished the Cobra.
£157.05. A Special Occasion, a departure from The Hector Norm.
The First Main Course listed on The Bill was Lamb Rezzala. Rhazana was not on The Bill. So much for the Electronic Gizmo. What Dish did Hector have? Does this explain the Intrusion of the Capsicum.
A far from Perfect Evening.
The Card presented to appraise the evening was dismissed and The Calling Card given instead. I watched this passed from Waiter to Waiter up the chain (of Command?). Moments later I was aware of a Differently Attired Chap standing beside me – Mein Host. We discussed the evening. I congratulated him on the Unique Flavours served at the Echt Tandoori. I had to mention that my Lamb Dish was not served as Warm as I would hope. He explained that they try to avoid this by staggering the bookings, hence our 20.30 I deduced.
As I took my sea again, there was an instruction to issue a round of Drinks. Unfortunately, a Baby-Sitter was now past His Bedtime. No time for Pints.
Kenny and Hector had a Malt. A Hector First in a Curry House?
A Photo, Handshakes, The Echt Six departed. Celebrities or what?