Fira Karterodos (Santorini) – Jaipur Palace – Curry in Atlantis

I spotted a Curry House in Santorini last time I was here, somehow I never got round to visiting, too many Sunset Dinners overlooking the Caldera? With Marg finally free of International Hockey Duties, she flies in tomorrow. A mid-afternoon Curry-Heute at Jaipur Palace (Epar.Od. Firon-Ormou Perissis, Karterados 847 00 Santorini) should leave me time to do – the normal things in Santorini. It was therefore pleasing to note that Jaipur Palace is open all day.

Although located further out of town than I remembered, Jaipur Palace was still remarkably close to the chosen accommodation. How does this keep happening? Entering at 14.45, I passed a group of four who were sitting under the canopy outside. As ever, I chose to sit in. Mein Host and his assistant greeted me on entry. I took a small table mid-room and was soon down to business.

Tawa Gosht (€15.80) was among the most expensive Dishes on the Menu, but it did sound to be the closest to my preferred – Punjabi Cuisine. Tomatoes, Onion, Ginger and Garlic were mentioned, and most importantly, Capsicum was not. I would employ my usual tactics.

The Waiter approached, as soon as I showed him the Curry-Heute Homepage he went to fetch Mein Host. On seeing the  Slide Show he announced:

We don’t have that, different style.

Fearing the worst, I made the plea:

I don’t want Soup.

This tends to be understood.

The Spice Level was discussed. As ever I sought a Kick without going overboard.  Mein Host suggested the Tawa Gosht and went on to recommend Bread rather than Rice. The description of the Butter Naan (€2.10) had already been spotted: a flaky layered buttered bread made from refined flour. This sounded more like a Paratha to me, however, Bread in Greece tends to be good. A 1l Bottle of Still Water (€2.90) completed the Order.

It was only after Mein Host went in to the kitchen that I remembered I needed to exclude the Ballast. As he emerged, I said:

Please, no Capsicum – Peppers.

Not inside, we use for the garnish.

No Garnish!

The Menu claimed that Jaipur Palace serves the – Best Indian Food in Greece. Better than Pak Taka Tak (Athena)? Does this also include the other two branches mentioned?

*

*

I was sat in a long, relatively narrow room, seating twenty; there was probably a larger seating area out front. The Decor was simple, enough to set the atmosphere, not the glamour of the Tavernas overlooking the Caldera.

The Tawa Gosht arrived as promised on a metal plate. The Mass of Meat and Masala was garnished with Tomato and Onion. Would this have been Capsicum otherwise? Once again the Naan was cut in three. Thin, Flat, with no sign of – Flaky – or Layering – I doubt if this Naan had seen a Tandoor. If it had, what was Chef playing at? Inevitably, a Bread like this started to Crisp, not what a Naan should be doing.

The Tawa Gosht looked similar to – Rara Gosht – finely chopped Onions giving the Masala a gritty appearance. Red dominated, I put this down to an abundance of Tomatoes, then I spotted the Red Mush. If this was not finely chopped Red Peppers, then what was it? Time to dip.

The Spice Level was Sufficient, the Seasoning was decidedly – Under. The Toppings of Ginger Strips and Fresh Coriander were lost in the Mix. This was a – Mono Flavoured Curry, sadly, that Flavour was the Capsicum Mush which was masking all else. I rest my case.

The Lamb was in double figures and very Tender, this was at least a cue to a favourable comment, – Excellent Meat – I recorded. Mein Host was keen to know if my Curry was Spicy enough. He would have brought more Chillies if required, not needed.

The Curry had a Texture I liked, was decidedly not – Soup, and had a most acceptable Spice Level. Not the greatest Curry, and most certainly not – The Best in Greece.

Jaipur Palace is worth a visit if one needs a break from Greek Cuisine. Ironically, The Hector is about to have a break from Curry.

The Bill

€17.20. (£15.09) As I would rediscover during the rest of the day, nothing in Santorini is cheap. The price of fuel is shocking.

The Aftermath

I looked for a Calling Card, none. I had given away quite a few  at Crop – Roastery Brewery (Heraklion, Crete). Quite a night, which will hopefully appear soon on Bier-Traveller.com. As a result, I did not make myself known.

There is a possibility of Curry in Naxos at an Asian Fusion outlet, Keema Palak reported, else, that’s it for at least a week.

 

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Heraklion (Crete) – Curry Park Indian Restaurant – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Hector is in Heraklion en route to Santorini where I spotted a Curry House last visit. There are reportedly two Curry Houses in Heraklion, Curry Park (Chandakos 58, Iraklio 712 02 Crete) is in by far the more convenient location being metres from the coast, Bus Station, Ferry Port and my hotel for this evening. The Taj Mahal is on the western extremity of the city in Hersonissos.  Curry Park is also open all day which means I was able to eat late afternoon.

Arriving at 17.00, I studied the Menu on display outside. A Young Waitress came out to greet me.

Do you have Good Curry here? – I offered as my opening gambit.

All our Curry is good – was the reply.

Communication, the name of the game.

Both entrances were wide open, I chose a small table in the shade, the Waitress brought the bound Menu. Mein Host stood behind the counter, a Lady dressed for the kitchen stood at the kitchen door. Seventeen Curry variants were on offer plus Biryani. Glancing at the Starters, I flirted with the idea of Lamb Chops (€5.00). Sami Kebab (€5.00) tempted too, unusual to see this. Unbelievably, I tend to eat less in the heat, not that I consider 32ºC to be oppressive.

The possibility of a decent Lamb Karahi (€7.50) became fixed in my mind, especially given what was – not – in the description. I have done well for Curry this week in Crete.  Glancing through all seventeen Curry Dishes, only the Jalfrezi description mentioned – Peppers. The Vegetable Fried Rice (€3.00) looked like good value, as long as… Regular Readers will know the efforts I go to to avoid – The Dreaded Green Ballast.

The Waitress approached, I pointed to the description of the Jalfrezi.

This is the only Curry which says it has Peppers. I don’t want these, so can you confirm that the Lamb Karahi does not.

She was tentative, however, she took the Order.

I’ll have to ask – was the caveat.  Why didn’t she know?

Vegetable Fried Rice please, again without Peppers. Chillies are fine, but no Capsicum.

Today, I felt that Sparkling Water (€1.50 for 250ml) was better value than the Bier (€2.50 for 350ml). I had previously engaged Mein Host, still behind the counter, to check on the size of the Bier Bottles. The Waitress was unsure if they had Sparkling Water.

The Order was complete, the Waitress went to the counter, the three players presumably discussed my requirements. I called across to Mein Host.

No Peppers, in anything. Do you have Methi/Fenugreek?

He told me Methi is difficult to get, even in India it is only available when in season. I was hardly going to argue, Frozen Methi cannot have reached the Eastern end of the Mediterranean, yet. He then told me he had – Dry Methi Leaves. I asked if some could be added. He assured me that the Methi was already in. This was promising.

Some were sat outside, but nobody was dining. I could hear children’s voices but paid little attention. I counted twenty six chairs inside the restaurant, I could not see how many more there were outside. There is a balcony above the counter with a few more tables. I wondered how often these could be called into use.

Was it her first day?

The Waitress brought the Lamb Karahi and Rice. The simple task of placing them on the table appeared to be a challenge. I could see Mein Host watching. No comment was made.

The Lamb Karahi was more – Soup-like – than any Karahi should be served, how did this – thick sauce– differ from the Masala in their other Curry Dishes? I may never know. Hang on, what are these Red and Green Slimy Slivers in the Masala? I called over the Waitress.

I thought I had made it clear there should be no Peppers in this Curry?

She looked back, smiled, with an air of, well what do you want me to do about it?

Mein Host had just stepped out, so there was no point sending it back. What had not been understood? I shook my head and hoped my facial expression displayed my displeasure. Many a pupil has seen this look…

The Rice was more than enough for one person. Shredded Carrots stood out along with White Slivers, Potato! There was something Slimy too, surely not… ah, Aubergine, forgiven. Cabbage, strips of Cabbage, that’s different. Whilst the Rice appeared to offer Diversity, the Vegetables were not that – Interesting – and added little to the Overall Flavour.

I counted eight not particularly – Large – pieces of Meat, which were Tender enough. The Meat was carefully decanted making sure that none of the Dreaded Ballast ended up on my plate, oops. Spooning the Masala was more difficult until I forced the Capsicum to the top end of the Karahi and employed gravity to have the Masala drain through the Mush.

The Blended Masala was Well Seasoned which was the first truly positive feature of this Lamb Karahi. The Spice Level was so – bottom of the Scale – one had to wonder in what respect was this – Curry and not just a – Lamb Stew. Had the Waitress asked about – Level of Spice?  No!

The Overall Flavour was marred by a sense of – Soapiness. This I believe was coming from the Cabbage. Who puts Cabbage in Curry? Where was the Methi?

This Lamb Karahi was Poor. One has to accept that even in the UK, some Restaurants don’t know what they are doing. Across Europe I am hesitant about ordering this Dish, too often a – Stir Fry covered in – you know what. At least this was trying to be a Curry.

The Bill

€12.00 (£10.53)  I was keen to see The Bill, to see what notes had been taken. I was shocked to the point of becoming enraged when I saw nothing extra. So exactly what had the Waitress understood? What information had she relayed to Mein Host and the Lady Chef? For the second time this week I question the merits of employing Useless Girlies who do not know about that which they serve.

Still, it was the cheapest meal I have had this week.

The Aftermath

The Calling Card was given to the Waitress who appeared to come alive, she said she would look at Curry-Heute. One is left to speculate as to what chance the card being shown to Mein Host?

I wonder what the Taj Mahal is like?

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Chania (Crete) – Namaste – Well Worth a Return Visit

I said – I’d be back

Despite now being faced with Curry three nights in a row, Hector kept his promise and returned to Namaste Indian Restaurant (Kissamou 186, Chania 731 00, Crete, Hellas) for the final Chania meal.  I do love Greek Cuisine, but for Research purposes…

Arriving at 20.00, again two were dining in the outside covered area. I took the same table as before, but faced in the opposite direction, a new perspective. The young girl who had done the fetching on Thursday was now taking the orders with a young Chap in support. Whilst Hector is all for informality, this Chap was not dressed for the occasion. Shredded jeans may be fine if one is doing the washing up, but surely not front of house?

The intention was to have – the other – of the two available Mutton Dishes – Mutton Jalfrazi (€12.00). When I saw the description stated – mixed coloured peppers – I knew this Curry was not for me. Who needs all this Ballast? The Waitress informed me that the Chicken Biryani (€7.50) was being discounted this evening, it was already one of the cheapest Main Courses. Informed her that I do not eat Chicken Curry and that I have had enough Rice this week. So true.

As Fish Curry was not on the Menu, it had to be a major departure – Prawn. Prawn ala Namaste (€13.00) was their – top of the range Curry. Again I had to check there was no Capsicum. She was not sure and went to check. Success, well almost.

Yesterday at Krisna in Platanias, Mein Host was able to listen, to advise, to ensure the Customer was getting the Curry they really wanted, i.e. – Me! Here lies the problem in employing Kids out font. They do not know the Dishes, they do not know the Ingredients, they do not know what can be changed and what cannot. Had Mein Host been summoned, I am certain after our introduction on Thursday, he would have been accommodating. Instead, as the Waitress did not inform him of a returning Customer, the Opperchancity to really please, was missed.

Having made my selection, the Waitress was back on script.

How Spicy?

Above Medium.

In five stars?

Four.

You are brave.

Indian-style or European.

Indian.

No Rice.

No.

A Garlic Naan (€2.20) would accompany, this promised Coriander too. Somebody must be growing Coriander in Crete. As before a 1.5l Bottle of Still Water (€1.50) completed the Order.

Since I was facing the other way, I could see the fridge. Three Biers were available in Bottle, two Greek. A Large Wine Box and a Small Wine Box were also there. So they do – both wines – Red and White. Hector is partial to Greek Posé Wine, but not with Curry.

I remembered to count the chairs, twenty two inside, twenty six outside. Though given the space in the middle of the room, I suspect there will be more tables inside in winter.

A point worth mentioning as stated on the Menu, the Prawns served at Namaste are Frozen, not Fresh. Given turnover, this may well be a sensible practice.

It took a full thirty minutes for Hector’s Dinner to arrive, served by the t-shirt and ripped jeans.

My heart sank on sight of the Curry – Soup, a definitive example. The Naan had been cut in three but I could see it was Substantial. The rounded point, my favourite part, was not forthcoming. I tore a strip off. Thin, Light and Crispy where the Bread had risen. The Garlic was not the dreadful Green Paste I have suffered at other venues in recent times, but visible Grains. The Coriander was Minimal, but present.

I dipped into the Excessive Masala – Wow!

In an instant I was won over. The Spice Level had a – Fierce Kick – but nothing I couldn’t handle, The Seasoning, ah the Seasoning, this was as Perfect as could be. The Dish was – Super Hot – in temperature.  As a result of these parameters being in harmony, there was a fine example of – Synchronicity. The Overall Flavour of the Earthy, Brown Masala was – Astonishing. Then the Garlic and Coriander found their way through. This was a Spectacular Masala!

With this much Masala, Rice may have been the better option. I believe Rice would have reduced the intensity of Flavour. To eat this quantity of Masala at this Spice Level, with Bread, is daunting. With a four hour Bus Journey tomorrow, I was concerned for my digestive system. Frozen Prawns, there should be no problem.

My only problem this evening was the Quantity of Prawns. The Mutton on Thursday was Plentiful, so why only – Six Prawns? OK, they were King Prawns but swimming in this mass of Masala, quite lonely. An added Vegetable (and not Coloured Peppers which ruin the Flavour of Curry in my experience) would have made this Curry – Spectacular. Namaste do a range of Vegetable Dishes. A half portion of something would have been welcome. Again, not enough venues state on the Menu that half portions of Vegetable Curry Dishes may be had as a – Side. Again, back to the Server, stuck to a program, unable to offer suggestions.

Prawns ala Namaste is very much – Masala with Prawns, not – Prawns with Masala.

Mein Host appeared front of house in full cooking garb. Once he had achieved whatever, he turned and saw me. His facial expression expressed surprise.

How are you?

This is very good, very tasty, your bread is wonderful!

This pleased Mein Host who then returned to the kitchen, never to be seen again.

I could have asked for him on departure, again I was waiting for Young Doris to show initiative.

I ate on. No way could I finish a Naan of this size. Oh, the Prawns… not as Sweet as I usually find in a Prawn Curry, which was another Plus.  With the Six Prawns gone, the Bread filling, it was time to cease. I reveal what I left.

After two visits to Namaste I have learned this:

If dining as a pair, order one Jeera Rice and one Garlic Naan.

Ask to see Mein Host, if his Lady is not working and negotiate exactly what you want. Namaste is not a Big Industrial Curry House, I am certain he will do his best to please.

What about a Mutton version of what I had tonight?

Mutton Aloo ala Namaste?

Order a Vegetable Dish to share.

The Curry here is Very Good indeed.

The Bill

€16.70. (£14.50) I still wonder why Prawns are expensive, relatively speaking. Animals have to fed, Vets Bills et al.

The Aftermath

The Waitress offered me Watermelon.

No thanks, I want to keep the taste of this Curry in my mouth for as long as possible.

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Platanias (Crete) Krisna – Authentic Indian Restaurant – A Curry House which lives up to its name

Firstly one had to travel from Chania, westwards along the north coast of Crete to Platanias:

Take the long bus – said the Information Doris at the Bus Station.

With the War Shelter reportedly closing at 16.00, a 15.00 arrival was the plan. It was 15.15 when I reached the highest point in Platanias. The War Shelter opening times are 10.00 until 12.00, then 17.00 until 20.00. Finding the Curry House became the next objective.

Krisna – Authentic Indian Restaurant (PEO Kissamou Chanion 102, Platanias 730 14 Crete) also opened at 17.00, though the upstairs premises clearly had open windows, somebody must have been inside. Perhaps they too had been open earlier today?

A stroll along the beach was followed by another climb up the hill, no point in arriving at the War Shelter as a sweaty blob. Time for the first Ice Cream of this Trip, and an Opperchancity to take in the view.

Hector was the first customer of the session, arriving at 17.40. I chose the small table one in from the balcony to take advantage of any breeze. The Serving Chaps were watching Athletics on the TV and Cricket on a laptop. Meanwhile a Chap was in the Open Kitchen awaiting some action.

The elder of the two Serving Chaps, Mein Host, brought the Menu. A quick glance revealed a novelty:

Choose your sauce

For Hector, Sambar looked the most promising, surely the Lentils would guarantee Substance in the Masala?

All the bases for Classic Curry Dishes were described by content and Spice Level. Thereafter, it was a case of selecting which Meat. As ever for The Hector, it had to be Lamb, though I will admit to not spotting – Fish.

The Egg Fried Rice (€4.50) would provide a Diversity of Vegetables. As per two days ago at Namaste (Chania), I opened the – Curry-Heute Campaign – page to have a photo of the – Dreaded Vegetable – just in case.

I showed Mein Host the Curry-Heute Homepage and advised that I was looking for a Curry with a Minimal and Thick Masala, and no Capsicum.

Not Soup.

How Spicy?

We eventually agreed on Spicy but not Silly.

You like Coriander?

Now we’re talking.

Do you have Methi/Fenugreek.

The reply was positive. Mein Host carefully noted all the required – Tweaks – he said he would advise Chef. Is this not how – all Curry – should be ordered, to cater for Individual Preferences, not just – take it how it comes? Lamb Sambar (€11.50) it was, a South Indian Curry, would it have the Smokey Red Chillies?

There had to be liquid. A 250ml Bottle of Sparkling Water was €2.50. A half litre Bottle of Fix was €3.50. So Bier is cheaper than Water, how can this be? And what does it say about the Quality of Greek Bier?

I had plenty of time to take in my surroundings and photograph every page of the Menu. I counted forty eight seats at various combinations of tables, four of which were on the balcony. I was sat beside the wall painted with the Taj Mahal, where was the scaffolding on three of the four towers? That’s not the Taj Mahal I know.

At 18.00 two Locals came in and were sat immediately behind me on the balcony. Perhaps that was their preferred table? Still, I always find it strange when Restaurateurs create clusters.

Mein Host crossed the room at pace bringing the Curry and Rice. The Aroma hit hard, I could smell the Very Familiar, had they dug up some Methi?

Excellent, that’s how I like my Curry! – I exclaimed.

Topped with Fresh Coriander and Sybees, here was the Thickest Masala I have seen in a long time. This Curry should surely impress.

The Rice was decanted, Corn, Carrots, Peas and Egg were present, so much better than just Meat and Masala, this makes a Meal. I took a plateful and knew I would never eat it all, another European example of Wasting Rice. There was easily enough for two people here.

The Meat content was well into double figures, it was time to taste.

The Kick was Significant, pitched perfectly, enough, no need to sweat further. The Seasoning was possibly a little below what I hope for, still, this was not going to impair my enjoyment of this Curry.

The Tender Lamb gave off Spice, it had been prepared honourably, this was not a rushed job taken from the Big Curry Pot. Indeed, in the Open Kitchen, I could see no Big Curry Pot. Perhaps in this climate, everything has to be kept in the fridge?

The Lentils added to the overall Thickness of the Masala, I often interchange – Dry – and – Thick – this was an Excellent Example of that which I seek. In time, the promised – Citrus – came through. There was a lot to praise here, I felt like going across to the kitchen and shaking Chef’s hand. Suddenly I was distracted. The Doris behind me was making a roll up, she lit it. Bad manners or what? Fortunately I was nearly finished and the wind direction was in my favour. I was ready to move tables for the final moments of this Memorable Curry, no need in the end.

Mein Host brought the Order to the adjacent table, an Opperchancity for me to hand over The Calling Card. The Card was given to his Colleague whom I would discover to be his Son. The Cricket was no more, Curry-Heute became the focus of attention.

The Slider which I recently added to the Homepage appeared to mesmerise. Of course, this is a selection of Curry Dishes which I hold to be – The Very Best. In time he scrolled on. It is a strange feeling to observe someone reading one’s life story.

The Bill

€19.50 (£17.10). Again I thank all those who voted for Brexit, not.

The Aftermath

On taking the photo of the kitchen I was amused to observe the same brand of Mixed Pickles as I have at home, which leads us to the sourcing of materials. Mein Host ask if I knew a supplier, as it happens I can put him in touch. Surprisingly, the conversation tuned to Bier. They are keen to stock Cans of Kingfisher, not the bland variety on sale across the UK, but the – Red – Kingfisher at 8.0% which I encountered last year in Jaipur. Re-reading my own account on Bier-Traveller.com, I see I preferred the Kingfisher Blue at 6.0%. As it happens, I have a contact with the UK distributors. It would appear that Hector and Krisna will be in touch again soon.

Krisna – Authentic Indian Restaurant – A Curry House that lives up to its name.

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Chania (Crete) – Namaste Indian Restaurant – Surprisingly Good Curry!

Hector finds himself in Crete, alone. Marg decided after I took advantage of mid June cheaper flights and accommodation, that a Vets Hockey Tournament in Dublin took priority. So it goes.

Still, Hector is currently in a happy place, Curryspondent Dr. Ed informed me yesterday that The (Glasgow) Herald had mentioned – Curry-Heute – in the – Eating Out and Drink – section of last Saturday’s magazine. Mr. Baig at – The Village – had suggested that The Herald was long overdue a visit to one of Glasgow’s finest Curry Houses, the Ramadan Buffet had to be witnessed by The Press. Hector duly contacted Ron Mackenna of The Herald, the email was acknowledged, however, without Dr. Ed’s contribution to the proceedings, I would have been none the wiser.

Arriving last night in Chania, it was straight out for Stifados, what a disappointment, in daylight I may have found better sources. I have since learned to look for Rabbit Stifados, tomorrow.

Surfacing this afternoon, the plan was to have Curry-Heute around my usual time. I headed up the street to Namaste Indian Restaurant (Kissamou 186, Chania 731 00, Crete, Hellas), it’s amazing how my chosen hotel managed to be on the same street. At 15.30 the doors were closed, though I was beckoned in. Sources had suggested they are open all day, this is clarified later in this Blog.

Mein Host informed me that they opened at 18.00, his presence suggesting a Lunchtime Session had passed. Two Diners were in situ, however. I headed off to see Chania in daylight for the first time since 1998 when I was here briefly and spotted a Curry House near the Venetian Harbour; no more.

Something Cold, Yellow and Fizzy meant that it was 20,00 when I finally returned. Two Diners were sitting outside, Samosas were brought to them as I passed by. Inside was empty, inside is where I prefer to be in Greece. Yet, why can they not adhere to their own – Smoking Ban?

The Menu was brought, presumably by the Wife of Mein Host.

Welcome to Namaste – it says on the opening page.

Some may appreciate the tautology.

The Menu had a practical length, there were only two Lamb Dishes: Mutton Punjabi (€13.50) and Mutton Jalfrazi (€12.00). I opened up the page on Curry-Heute showing – The Curry-Heute Campaign. I was determined to avoid the dreaded Capsicum. I was assured that no Capsicum would appear in the Mutton Punjabi, and so it would be.

Punjabi Cuisine in Crete? This raised my expectations, Pak Taka Tak in Athena serve a Karahi as good as – anywhere – that serves it properly in the UK. My last Greek Island Curry was in Zakynthos with Marg around the Millennium. It was shocking, so bad I offered to return the next day and show them how to make Curry. Arrogant, moi?

The Lady asked about – Spice level. I gestured for something – Above Medium. She then took me by surprises and asked:

Indian style or European?

I replied using – Desi – and – Apna – though neither term registered. Indian-style was agreed. Expectations were raised further.

Jeera Pulao (€3.50) and a 1.5l Bottle of Still Water (€1.50) completed the Order. Sparkling Water was €1.80 for 330ml, in this heat that would be a waste of money.

The Mains for the Outside Diners were taken around ten minutes after my arrival, my wait was a further ten, encouraging. The Mutton Punjabi should not just be scooped out of – The Curry Pot.

I wondered if Namaste ever gets busy? The inside Dining area is substantial, the winter months. The conservatory-like area on the pavement sits half as many again. The Lady, spotting me amusing myself on the so-far-reliable LG, offered Wi-Fi. It is June 2017, who needs Wi-Fi in Europe if you have a sensible Data Plan?

The Lady brought the Curry and Rice on a tray, the Aroma hit, possibly the Cumin in the Rice, or was it the Mutton Punjabi?

The Rice Portion was – Generous – not that I would eat it all, but there would be minimal waste.  This was Breakfast, I was hungry.  The Sun was setting, Ramadan is easier here.

Mutton Punjabi

At first glimpse I saw a Thick Masala, then I noticed a Watery Residue. Far from being Soup, when spooned over the Rice, the Watery Masala disappeared into the Rice. In the UK this could well have been Oil. I had noted that Curry is cooked in Olive Oil, though Frying is done in Vegetable Oil.

The Meat was plentiful and cut almost Bradford-small. Sufficiently Tender, it did not give the feeling that it had just met the Masala. Things were now looking good, though the first mouthful was taken with trepidation. The – Horribleness – that was encountered in Delhi 6 (Berlin) is still very much in the memory.

All was well here. There was a Kick, a Decent Kick. The Seasoning was Perfect, the boxes were being ticked. Now it was up to the Masala to work its wonders. The Masala was Rich in Fresh Tomato, I studied it closely to see if this was purely a Tomato-based Punjabi Masala, then became convinced I could see the results of Blended Onion. Whatever, time to stop analysing and enjoy. With the Cumin Seeds providing an Aromatic Flavour that complemented the Masala, this was a most enjoyable Mainstream Curry, worthy of The Hector.

When the Lady came to clear the table I gave her the Calling Card, she looked, listened, then called Mein Host. We then spoke for about ten minutes. The Curry Heute Website was shown, my travels outlined and my purpose.

Do I pay you something? – he asked.

No, this is my Hobby.

Mein Host went on to describe how they use only Fresh Ingredients, local Mutton, not Imported Frozen. He judges his success by the fact that people come back, even Tourists on a single vacation. I asked about the Masala, he initially looked puzzled, as if why would you cook without Onions, but accepted that some Punjabi Chefs are able to create Wonderful Masala using Tomatoes alone (cf Yadgar and Karahi Palace – Glasgow). He assured me that when he makes the Mutton Punjabi, he has to strictly follow his own Recipe.

He explained the opening times. The two Diners I had seen this afternoon had entered as I had done. When given the same information, they stated they had a flight this evening. And so they were fed.

Back on Curry-Heute, I showed my only Greek Blogs to date, all Athena. He spotted Pak Taka Tak, I described how this is no more than a Workers’ Cafe, but the Karahi is Excellent. He then appreciated the numbers beside each entry, acknowledging that when people come to Namaste for the third time, he knows they are truly enjoying the Curry.

The nearest Curry House to Namaste is 10km away, once upon a time I could have run this, no more. That is my next challenge, all being well, I shall return to Namaste on Sunday, the Mutton Jalfrazi is calling.

The Bill

€18.50 (£16.23) Dearer than I would pay at home, but all thanks to Brexit Voters who killed Sterling.

The Aftermath

The Family were happy to pose for the ritual photo, then I was invited into the Kitchen. I did not see – The Curry Pot.

And so back down to the Harbour, Septem awaited.

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Glasgow – Yadgar Kebab House – A Milestone Curry

Two weeks in Glasgow, enough time to get around my – Very Favourite Places – and also celebrate the counter on Curry-Heute passing through – 6 Million. Either I am practising Morse Code or people are visiting this site. Some even read it and make comments.

Yadgar Kebab House (148 Calder St, Govanhill, Glasgow, G42 7QP) has not been visited since the end of April, one cannot go back to the well too often. Shkoor, Mein Host, was contacted midweek with a request for a – Sensible Hector Portion – of Goshat Karahi. My request for 15.00 was put back by a half hour due to it being both Friday and Ramadan.

I arrived at 15.15, Omar was behind the counter, Naveed is off on his travels. I would have three fellow diners, two of whom departed quickly after a modest intake of food. The remaining Chap was also here for the equivalent of – The Full Bhuna.

I was contemplating asking Omar not to bring Poppadoms when two were placed before me along with Spiced Onion. Oh well, it has been a while. Three Dips were also presented, Lime Pickle, Mango Chutney and something – Brown – not the usual Red Spice. That was different, unknown to The Hector, there was a cunning plan.

The Chap with No Name brought out a plateful of Pani Puri. Not the single sample which I became used to back in the days of Mrs Majhu (Glasgow) or Ambal’s in Aberdeen.

This is our new starter – he informed me.

I asked if the Brown Dip was Tamarind, I would have found out, however, it was something unpronounceable, not Tamarind.

Five Pani Puri

 Who eats five of these? I poured the Brown Dip into the orifices in time honoured manner, all was set. Stuffed with Chickpea, Onion, Tomato and Cucumber, these were most Refreshing and Spicy. I don’t know that I would order this, but as a welcoming gesture, appreciated.

I was halfway through the Pani Puri when the Yadgar Salad arrived. More Vegetables, Hector was eating the equivalent of the entire consumption of Vegetables sold on a good day in Lidl.

Vegetables can be filling, so can Poppadoms as observed in such a ridiculous manner recently in Bradford. The Poppadoms were abandoned, eat your Greens. I had Onion coming at me from three sources. The Chap opposite could not help but notice the number of plates on my table.

I am well looked after here – was my humble comment.

He ordered from the Menu, not a Regular then? All became clear. I have eaten – Mountains of Meat – at Yadgar, this Chap was a worthy Pretender. I deduced this was the Yadgar Mixed Grill that I have seen posted. Seekh Kebap, Lamb Chops, Tikka Chicken, more Lamb. In fact, from my perspective, I could see little in the way of Chicken. He tore in, this would take a while. No Masala, not Curry.

Goshat Karahi

They do not sell this Wondrous Dish by the Half Kilo at Yadgar. Oh yes they do! A – Sensible Hector Portion? I counted the meat into Double Figures, twice. I could not see a lot of Bone either. This would be my last Glasgow Curry for a month possibly, this is why I was here.

A single Chapatti accompanied, Light, relatively Thin and Fluffy, not the – Heavy Duty – ones normally served here and at Karahi Palace. The Chapatti was used to scoop the Masala, the Meat was eaten straight, only with this approach could I stand a chance.

The Masala was splitting in two before me. The Oil was collecting around the edge of the Karahi, Flavoursome in its own right, however, the Motherlode of Flavour was in the Thicker Masala, that which makes Yadgar stand out.

The Meat had the correct level of Chewiness, who likes Lamb one can eat through a straw? Three Sucky Bones were unearthed, presumably this was all – Leg of Lamb? So Rich and Distinctive, there is a type of – Stickiness – to the Goshat Karahi – Masala. The Masala coats the Meat, this Wonderful Blend of Meat and Masala. How do they achieve it?

The Spice and the Seasoning were very much an afterthought. I hadn’t even noticed the Spice Level, Moderate was my latter observation. It was at this point I realised why this Curry was so good, the Seasoning was absolutely – Spot on. Good? Magnificent! Yet The Hector limits his visits to Yadgar, one could not and should not do this too often. This is a – Treat.

The Chap across was still eating, I did not feel as if I was over indulging. Here was a Chap who knows how to enjoy himself also. A fine example of – Man v’s Kebab – to promote Will’s new Kebap Blog.

The Nameless Conveyor of Curry asked if he could do more. Anything else?

What more? People go out and spend fortunes on – Nouvelle Cuisine – and leave hungry. Don’t start me on – Sushi – never again. Come to Calder St., dine in a relaxed and informal setting, and have the Very Best of Curry.

I was down to my last few pieces of Lamb when Mr. Anwar Sr. emerged from the kitchen. The Staff have a habit of entering the kitchen past the Takeaway area before announcing their presence. I had a burning question regarding Naveed.

I see Naveed is in Iceland, when will he get to eat? The Sun does not set there at this time of year. This appeared to come as a surprise. An answer was not forthcoming. I shall have to ask Naveed next time I see him.

The Bill

£15.00 – the usual – Flat Fee.

The Aftermath

David saw my posted photos and suggested that what I had eaten was enough to feed a village.

It certainly fed The Hector.

It will be at Pak Taka Tak in Athena before I have a Curry in the same league as this, I wonder what levels of Blandness and Soup await afore?

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Glasgow – Ambala Deli Bar – Meat and Two Veg

Having watched the movie – Jadoo – (King of Curry) over the past two nights, Hector was in the mood for Aloo Gobi. However, Hector cannot live by Vegetables alone, the Handi Gosht at Ambala Deli Bar (11 Forth St., Glasgow, Scotland, G41 2SP) has not been sampled for a few weeks. I have a two week – Window of Opperchancity – in Glasgow to get around my Favourite Curry Houses.

Arriving at Ambala at 16.30 I was not surprised to find no customers. It is still Ramadan, some of the staff sat at a table chatting, waiting for a customer. It would be another five and a half hours before the rush.

The Waiter recognised me and confirmed that I was here alone. The Handi Gosht (£10.99) and Aloo Gobi (£6.50) was ordered. The – Regular – portion was confirmed, when dining in Company, the – Large – is the norm, to share. I related my movie watching, my Waiter admitted that he too salivates when he sees his favourite food on tv. We were on the same page, alas, I got to eat.

The standard Dips were brought with a rather pukka Decanter of Tap Water. One is advised on the Menu that the Handi will take time to prepare. With nobody else to serve, I did not anticipate a long wait. I had not spotted any of the usual faces in the kitchen when I arrived, perhaps the Main Chefs were not in yet?

The Aloo Gobi and Handi Gosht were brought, a Mass of Curry. For once, I had to decant, else I would have felt stupid eating from two plates.

Meat and Two Veg

How British was this? No Bread, no Rice, a – Low Carb – option. Even a Solitary Chapatti would have been filling. I could eat this, comfortably.

The Aloo Gobi was – piping hot – the way I like my food. The Potatoes were Soft, the Cauliflower retained some firmness, Perfect. The Minimal Masala was slightly – Oily – and just a Tad under-seasoned. Time to tackle the Handi.

If the portion of Aloo Gobi was generous, the Handi Gosht was even more. The Meat count was well into double figures. Served on-the-bone, the Flavour of the Mutton itself came across, this was looking good. The Flavour of the Masala was slow to build up on the plate. Again, under-seasoned came to mind, however, this was soon revised. The Flavours came slowly, only three bones were set aside. Tomato Seeds prevailed in the Thick Masala, how I have missed this.

Alternating between Meat and Interesting Vegetables, the combination was – Sound – but today I achieved no sense of – Wow. I have to write it as it is. Had I been served this two weeks ago in Deutschland, I would have been in raptures; not double standards, reality.

The Waiter came over to check all was well.

It’s a great combination – he declared.

Indeed.

The Bill

£17.49. In effect I had two meals.

The Aftermath

As I left the empty premises I recognised nobody in the kitchen.

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Musselburgh – Home-cooked Curry for The Hector + Something Horrible from Iceland

On last month’s visit to The Staggs, Musselburgh, Hector was introduced to – Curry Enthusiasts – Peter and Karen (who took our photo?). Peter was keen to tell me that he makes his own Curry – from scratch. For many, this means grinding one’s own Spices. Peter has taken this further, growing his own Chillies and Garlic. He promised he would have a sample for me today.

Peter arrived at The Staggs first this afternoon, the day that for ninety seconds, we thought Scotland would enjoy a glorious victory over the Auld Enemy. I related my visit to the Ramadan Buffet at The Village two days ago. On seeing my photos Peter appreciated my strong preference for Lamb, they had debated what should be brought. His Lady arrived thereafter with the promised Curry, a Chicken Curry.

It took great concentration to transport my modest takeaway across Central Scotland. On opening the container, there was a blast of – Freshness – the aroma was most enticing. By 22.30 some Basmati had been prepared and the Soupçon-Plus of Chicken Curry was reheated.

The Chicken, which was on-the-bone, had started to shred suggesting it was not Halal. The Blended Masala still retained an Interesting Texture, the pieces of Garlic?

The Spice Level was most acceptable, the Seasoning was under for my palate. And there, Dear Reader I have to stop. It was  Chicken Curry, I have written oft why I never order Chicken Curry.

But the appetite had been whetted….

The Soupçon-Plus had not fed The Hector, time to try an experiment. Some months ago, for research purposes and in case of emergency, Hector purchased Chicken Tikka Masala from Iceland.

Their flyer, which had come through my door, claimed it was a much improved recipe and was better than the Marks and Spencer equivalent. Twenty years ago, the M&S version was quite Substantial and Flavoursome. Served as a portion for two, without Rice, it was a challenge for one to finish; then a single portion with Rice became the norm. That is when I stopped purchasing it, a waste of money.

More Basmati was prepared in the time it took to heat this Packet Curry from frozen. As expected, the portion was Pitiful. The Masala was Sweet and Soupy, an absolute disgrace and not worthy of the term – Curry.  Never again.

Now I appreciated the home-cooked Chicken Curry. Thank you.

 

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Glasgow – The Village Curry House – Ramadan Buffet 2017

Today is the day, Hector and Marg let loose on an array of – Desi Style – creations courtesy of The Village Curry House (119 West St., Tradeston, Glasgow G5 8BA). The booking was for 22.00, knowing the system, we arrived twenty minutes early. It is better to book, The Village may seat hundreds, tonight most tables were occupied. At the weekend, the place will be stowed.

The Head Waiter greeted me by name at the door – Mr. Hector! Irram, daughter of Mein Host, had made the booking on my behalf, so it goes.

Chaps at the table behind me were finishing their meals, one of only two tables with people eating already. The rest of us sat, bare tables, waiting for – the off. The sun set at 21.55, bring on The Starters.

One could easily overdose on Starters such is the available choice. I accompanied Marg who would not mind this occurring, her preference. Waiting in the queue, we watched The Mains being assembled, no Kofta Anda or Daal Makhani this evening. They do rotate the Dishes, so it is always worth a return visit.

The Salads were walked past, Mr Baig was at his customary post, serving the more Interesting Vegetable Starters, Kassif and Colleague manned the Meat. There was Pizza also.. always – The Pizza.

Where’s your movie camera? asked Mr. Baig.

My plate was far from overflowing, Spiced Onion, a Chicken Tikka Drumstick, Chapli Kebap and Shami Kebap. Kassif tried to tempt me to have more:

I know what is coming later, this is quite enough – I assured him.

Marg’s Starters

Back at the table, Marg arrived with a full plate. Samosa, Chapli Kebap, Chicken Tikka (Boneless), Aubergine Fritter, and – a Sausage in Batter. (?) This was Marg’s first Chapli Kebap, it will not be her last. She insisted I try some of her Tikka, Tasty, Spicy.

Hector’s Starters

The Spiced Onion on my plate was Dark and Rich, I know someone who would have eaten a plate of this. The Chapli Kebap was impressive, the Shami, even more. Why did I take the Chicken? I should have known better, the only – Bland – item on my plate.

Our Bottle of Sparkling Water was chilled courtesy of a pint glass full of ice, sensible Waitressing. There had to be a gap before The Mains. Many were still queueing for Starters, I checked all was well and led Marg up to the line of Tureens. The Hector Strategy – no Rice, no Bread, maximise the Meat and less filling Veg.

                      Lamb Pilao                                            Chicken Biryani

                         Haleem                                                      Nehari

For the purposes of a complete record, all Dishes were recorded, I basically walked past the first four. Lamb Pilao and Chicken Biryani, both on-the-bone, were followed by the two Desi Dishes I have learned to avoid – Haleem – and Nehari – they do nothing for me. Paaye was up next. In the past I have ignored this, then realised this would be the Best Opperchancity to sample this most Traditional of Dishes. I took one Trotter with Minimal Masala. Daal Mash, I can take in small doses, laters. Pakora Karri is only served in the Curry Cafes in Glasgow not the Mainstream Restaurants. I find it makes the Pakora lose it Crispness, though I did suggest to Marg that she might try some. At this point I should point out that the Meat Curry Dishes all appear to be – Soup. Those who wish plenty of Masala could help themselves, those who prefer – Minimal – would no doubt follow Hector’s lead, sieve out the Meat, leave the Masala.

                        Paaye                                                        Daal Mash

                       Pakora Karri                                             Aloo Methi

                    Chilli Chicken                                             Lamb Bhoona

                    Chicken Kirahi                                           Lamb Kirahi

The Aloo Methi was as – Dry – as I would wish any Dish. I have never seen so much – Herb – on Potato, expectations were high. The Chilli Chicken looked out of place, walk on by. Lamb Bhoona, this was more like it. Still, it was presented in a Mass of Masala, notionally a – Drier Curry – the Masala did look – Rich, the – Herb Topping – so inviting. Chicken Kirahi and Lamb Kirahi, both on-the-bone completed the array. I had enough on my plate, I would wait until Round 2 for the Lamb Kirahi. Oh, Naan was at the end, Marg took a piece.

Aloo Methi – Paaye – Lamb Bhuna

The Trotters required – fingers – to eat. Fatty, Minimal Meat, the Food of – Poverty – or a – Delicacy – depending on one’s point of view. The Masala was familiar, Earthy, as one would receive in a Karahi. Tick the box, no need to have this again. The Aloo Methi had Stems present. If these were Fenugreek Stems then this is in the face of all I have been taught – use the leaves, not the stems. I suspect Coriander was in here too, Marg announced a huge Coriander hit, it was either from here or what would be decidedly – The Dish of The Day – the Lamb Bhoona.

The Lamb Bhoona was like stepping back in time, some forty years or more to the time when – Meat and Mushroom Bhuna Vindaloo – was my Standard Curry. So much Flavour, achieved through Clever Seasoning. This, if ever it needed proving, showed that getting the Seasoning right is all. The Spice Level was set to – Buffet. One can never expect a Seriously Spiced Dish to be set before the Masses. Four Pieces of Tender Lamb, only four. The Masala was Wonderful, there was an instant – Wow – when I squared up to this Bhuna. Rice would have been the Perfect accompaniment for this Curry on any other day.

Pakora Karri – Aloo Methi – Lamb Kirahi – Lamb Bhoona – Naan

Twenty years ago, this Lady ate Chicken Korma, this array of Dishes would never have been contemplated. The Pakora Karri passed without comment. The – Coriander Blast – occupied Marg, was it from the Aloo Methi or the Lamb Bhoona? Wherever, this made her Selection viable. Marg was also impressed by the Quality of the Lamb.

Seconds Out, Round 2

Some were still queuing for Starters which were by now greatly diminished. The majority were interested in the Mains. Last year I took a photo of a Chap in front of me who chose everything I would not. Even The Hector was not going to simply take a plate of Meat. The Daal Mash had to be sampled, I took enough to provide Diversity. The Lamb Kirahi, my Everyday Curry, was the target, the Dish which impressed most last year. I could not pass the Lamb Bhoona, taking the same as before. The Kirahi was on-the-bone, the Masala way to Excess, again, sieving was required. Still, no Bread, no Rice.

Daal Mash – Lamb Bhoona – Lamb Kirahi

Daal Makhani is by far my Favourite Daal, this came close. By far the best Plain Daal I have ever encountered. Again this was down to the Seasoning bringing out a Full Blend of Flavours. Even last year in India, I did not find a Daal this good. Is this available on the Standard Menu?

The Lamb Kirahi was on Large Bones, again – fingers. Beautifully Tender Meat, the underlying Flavour was so familiar, Earthy. The Masala was visibly Thinner than the Bhoona and totally different in Taste. On any other day I could have sat and eaten a half kilo of this and been totally content. Tonight, I had been taken back to my roots, the Lamb Bhoona was that good.

There’s more…

Marg went off to investigate the Desserts. Whilst a variety of Ice Creams were on display, only Vanilla was being served as part of the Buffet. Vanilla is what Marg was after. Two Sweeties accompanied, Marg likes to end on a Sweet Note.

How much did all this cost? A two tier price system has been operation at The Village for the last two years: Monday – Thursday – £11.95. Friday – Sunday – £12.95,  though the record shows I may have been charged only £10.95 last year.

The Bill

£26.85. Given the cost of the Large Bottle of Sparkling Water, the Buffet cost us £11.95 each, I think.

The Aftermath

Kassif was manning the till. I had to tell him that the Lamb Bhuna was my Highlight, taking me back to my formative years. Mr. Baig approached, again I congratulated him on the Desi Buffet. He replied with an interesting comment.

We need a full review.

But you know I write up every Curry I eat.

He meant from the Press. The Herald are long overdue a return to The Village. Perhaps they should sample the Ramadan Buffet?

Update

And it came to pass that Ron Mackenna of – The Herald – took The Hector up on his suggestion of a visit…the article in full is here.

Posted in The Village "Curry House" | 1 Comment

Glasgow – The Village Curry House – Lunchtime during Ramadan

It is the day to take The Mother of Hector for a Lidl Shopping. As ever, Curry-Heute follows. The rain has fallen non-stop since last night, I had to find a parking place as near as possible to a Curry House, The Village Curry House (119 West St., Tradeston, Glasgow G5 8BA) tends to have space outside the main door on West Street. Success.

Walking in through the near empty premises at 13.45, I knew all would be different in two days time when Marg and Hector turn up for the Buffet after the Ramadan Fast at 22.00. Six fellow diners were in situ, four of these were leaving. This would be the quietest I have ever seen The Village.

The Lunchtime Doris has been rejuvenated, she brought Lunchtime Menu, I asked for the Main Menu also. The Lahori Lunch (£5.95) suits Mother, smaller quantity, a Basic Curry with Boiled Rice, exactly what she requires. The two courses included Vegetable Pakora, this would come Hector’s way.

For a change my choice was Lamb Tawa (£7.95), this was confirmed as being – Hot – and – on-the-bone. Mushroom Rice (£2.50) would accompany. Two Dips were brought along with a Jug of Tap water, all expense spared.

During the wait I went up to inspect the labels above the empty Tureens. Kofta Anda, Lamb Bhuna and Lamb Karahi were three Standout Dishes. Various Vegetable and Chicken Dishes may suit others. Two more days. Of course there is no guarantee that these same Dishes will be available on Thursday. No Daal Makhani?

Mr. Baig, Mein Host, passed by and told me I should be coming at night. I informed him I am booked in for Thursday, thank you, Irram. He brought the Vegetable Pakora over himself, three pieces, with a Modest Salad. Mother munched on the Salad Bits, Hector dipped, then devoured, the Spicy Pakora, a Soupçon.

The Waitress brought The Mains. The Lamb Curry came with the Rice already on the plate, half and half: a Standard Blended Masala with four Decent-sized pieces of Meat. Mother needed to cut each of these, so not a bad portion for the price.

It’s delicious! – was an early remark by Mother. For once I did not sample the Masala, I trusted it would have the distinctive – Village Taste.

I enjoyed that very much, it was lovely – was her appreciative comment towards the end. The tanginess on the tip of her tongue lingered. A Fine Curry.

Lamb Tawa

The Masala in the Tawa was a game of two halves. The Thick Yoghurt-rich mass shrouded the Meat. Meanwhile a Thinner Oily residue had collected at the base of the Karahi. The Lamb was in double figures, a Village Treat, I have criticised the Portion Size here in the past. The Lamb Tawa was – Piping Hot – the joy of the restaurant being so quiet. Too often, when dining here in company, one has to wait for all the Dishes to be assembled. The result is often Tepid Curry, not today.

The plate of Mushroom Rice was a Sensible Portion, there would be no Wastage here. Surely Chefs must know how much Rice the normal customer can eat? Why charge an individual £4.00 for a Mountain of Rice as is too often the case?

Two years ago at New Cafe Naseeb, I met the former Village Chef who claimed to be the Originator of – Lamb Tawa. A pity this Bradford Franchise did not last. This is the first time in years I have ordered Lamb Tawa. At times it has been indistinguishable from The Village – Lamb Desi Kourma. This interpretation was rich in Black Pepper, the Yoghurt also appeared to be partly curdled. This was no doubt due to the Temperature of the Curry.

Only two pieces of Lamb were on-the-bone, so there was a lot of Meat. The most Tender of Lamb, cooked to Perfection, the Mushrooms offered the required Diversity. The Spice Level was far from being OTT, very comfortable, enough. At first I felt the Seasoning was – under – but as I ate on this was found to be adequate. I kept waiting for – The Village Wow – but it never came. A Good Curry, it’ll be back to the Lamb Desi Kourma for my next outside of Ramadan visit.

The Bill

£16.40. Who could complain about this? Great value.

The Aftermath

Did I mention it was raining?

Posted in The Village "Curry House" | 2 Comments