Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Village Curry House, Glasgow

Peshwari Chops
WHIZ! BANG! WALLOP!!!  WOW... what a curry!  The Village Curry Houses Peshwari Chops was a stonker.  Four sizeable, meaty and melt in the mouth bbqed/tandored lamb chops, swimming in a quite loose, and slightly oily gravy.  The flavours were immense.  Really rather citrusy sour, and a fair old amount of heat!  I was glad I reined in the bravado and erred on the side of caution with 'medium strength' when asked. Also, rich, full bodied and well seasoned, and presented with match sticks of fresh ginger on top to add a real zing.  I'm pretty sure there may have been some sultanas or something lurking in the bottom of the dish - some little morsels of sweetness were experienced any way.  It was a dish quite different to what we get here in Bradford, and one I will remember for quite a while, and keep me itching for more frequent Glasgow trips.

Frequent readers of the Bradford Curry Blog will probably have realised I often visit Glasgow to see family. After many years eating curry up there (not always blogged), it has become easy to see why both Glasgow and Bradford have swapped Curry Capital honours on a number of occasions recently.  Glasgow as a whole does serve up excellent fare.  This was to be my first visit to the Village Curry House, and first Glasgow curry with the Glaswegian Legend Hector Curry-Heute*.  How better to enjoy your first Village curry than with family and the Curry Master?

We ride so we can eat more curry
Just gone 13:00 and Win, Ben, Lynda and me are studying Lunch Special Menus which were on the tables... in Hector walks.  Looking a little puzzled - as were we - at this stripped down menu, it was clear this was not going to sate the Master Hector!  A quick chat to the waiter soon saw reinstatement of the full menu.  It is handy having friends in high places that's for sure.

Feeling much happier now, I could now see the Peshwari Chops dish I had set my heart on.  Hector spoke highly of the Lamb Desi Korma and said "well someone should get it."  Lynda took on the challenge.  Ben and Win still went with Lunch Specials.  Pakoras were ordered for starters too in various guises.  Izzy, bless here, stuck to her plate of chips and chicken nuggets, but did adorn it initially with a poppadom! And Hector the Achari Gosht - Desi Style - with Aloo Paratha.  Desi style is essentially turbo charged!

The Pakoras were dispatched without drama - I noted the fish was rater splendid.  Then the mains.  My Peshwari Chops were astonishing - as already discussed.  The Recommended Lamb Desi Korma was the only other dish I sampled and it was indeed unlike any other Korma I'd ever eaten.  It was not overly creamy, pretty darn hot and also possessed the citrus reminiscent of my dish.  Lynda was pleased and remarked on the Korma twist.  Hector considered his Achari to be stunning.  Tender meat, viscous masala, decent kick, punctuated with smacks from lime pickle.

So all in all we had a splendid visit to The Village Curry House, and I can't recommend it highly enough.  If you're ever up Glasgow way check it out.  We certainly will be on our next trip north of the border.

*Hector was on his 40 something blogged visit to the Village!  However, countless total number of visits for the curry maestro!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Pakeezah Fire

Sad news yesterday - the Ingleby Road branch of Pakeezah had a devistating fire.  Luckily, I understand, the staff acted quickly and got everybody out and nobody was harmed.  However, I gather the shop to be in a bad way!

Photo courtesy of the T&A web site
Our thoughts are with you Pakeezah at this terrible time and I'm sure you'll be back bigger and stronger than ever.


John the Bradford Curry Blogger

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Mighty Shimla Spice - My Birthday Treat

WWwwwoooohhhhhooooo a Birthday curry - and WWwwwoooohhhhhooooo the mighty Shimla Spice.

Popadom Frenzy!

I'm not sure why that, up to the mentioned above Birthday curry, we'd only ever been to Shimal Spice once! When we visited it before, as the now disbanded Bradford Curry Club, we had a great evening and we raved about the food.  In addition, Shimla Spice is fairly close to us in Guiseley, and it wins lots and lots of awards.  It's total madness!

Birthday Boy with a Naan on a Stick
Anyway, enough already, we've finally made it back, and from what we experienced we certainly shan't be leaving it quite so long next time I can promise you.  From the offset, spirits were high - it was my Birthday* - I had just returned from a stonking ride at the Great Manchester Cycle, and was buzzing.  A hearty refuel was desperately needed - something I was sure Shimla Spice would be able to offer.  I had a few people joining me too, and the whole episode was rather reminiscent of the old Bradford Curry Club days - oh how I miss it.

So on to the food. But, before we get there even, one of my fave little touches, at any restaurant for that matter, is poppadoms and pickles delivered immediately to the table.  Shimla Spice delivered and the appetite was well and truly whetted by the general nibbling.  Also, Shimla Spice is BYO - happy days.  Top marks so far.

For starters it had to be the epic Mixed Grill.  It was well received by all who sampled it.  A piled high sizzling platter stuffed with the usual chops, kebabs, chicken tikka, and fish.  All this was intertwined with a mass of tangled sweet onions.  Excellent.  Even my daughter, who's usual line of "I don't like curry", commented on the Grill with a "that fish was lovely!"  Great stuff.

Lamb Achari

My main was Lamb Achari.  This again was brilliant. It managed to be both nicely hot and lip smackingly sour.  It attacked my head straight from the first mouth full, and sent me into a spin of huffing and puffing a little with the heat and facial contortions from the sourness.  Amazing!  Although my fellow dinners must have wondered what was going on!  It was also high quality with good and plentiful meat and minimal oil.  The Achari was off the Specials Menu, and was also tagged with 'Award Winning Dish', so guess it should have been something special... It was.

After all this I was in heaven, and had had a wonderful Birthday*

*Well Birthday Eve to be completely honest!

Shimla Spice Shipley on Urbanspoon

Monday, 8 July 2013

World Curry Festival 2013

The 2013 World Curry Festival returned to City Park, Bradford, and the whole shebang has got bigger!

A similar set up to last year is as much as stall holders occupy the periphery of the park, with picnic tables and chairs in the middle.  Different from last year was the addition of a large out door theatre - very posh - as opposed to the stage set up in a vacant unit of Centenary Squarer.  This gave the proceedings a much more cohesive feel I thought, and also looked darn impressive.  Also a very good programme was produced for this years event, including some yummy sounding recipes to try yourself.

Due to my hectic diary - always the same at this time of year - I was on a flying visit.  First impressions were of busyness!  Excellent to see so many people supporting the Festival but, from a purely selfish point of view, the prospect of joining some of the vendor queues snaking their ways around the Festival site, seemed daunting!  However, once a few minutes had been spent wandering around, it became clear there were 'popular' stalls, and some perhaps less so?

With this in mind, nestled away was Deespice, and promised Sri Lankan fodder.  Not much Sri Lankan cuisine around these parts I thought so seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something new.  And, to be honest, looking around some of the other stalls, there are only so many Chicken Tikka Wraps you can eat.

So to Deespice it was.  The stall holders were very friendly and offered a 'Festival Special' for £6.  The Special comprised essentially a number of taster portions on a plate, the main draw I guess being Seeni Sambol.  The Seeni Sambol was a very rich dark curry with dried fish.  It was sweet - almost like a chutney - with a sauce comprising abundant onions, which must have been cooked and cooked and cooked, to produce the rich flavour.  The fish appeared to have almost disintegrated into the sauce, providing a quite strong fishy taste, and it was also pretty hot!  The dish was quite different and quite delightful.  Worth seeking out I promise, but I understand Sri Lankan food difficult to come by up north.  The Sambol was served on a bed of very sticky coconut rice - referred to as Milk Rice - and provided the perfect cooling accompaniment to the spicy Sambol.  With all the excitement, the addition tasters on the platter went a little by the by.  I don't think I even noticed the curried mince!  Likewise the aubergines and peppers!  The chickpea with coconut, onions etc was a refreshing little side garnish/salad an offered texture, zing and freshness to the sweet and spicy Sambol.  I enjoyed the whole plate of food and was pleasantly full afterwards.

Deespice Festival Special inc Seeni Sambol (Middle)
Tauntaun Giblets anyone?  Don't worry its Falooda!
However, there was still room for a trip to the Falooda stall.  I'm not quite sure what Falooda is but it's like a dessert/beverage comprising noodles with thin pink milky sauce, basil seeds(??) and a blob of ice cream.  It sort of resembles a Tauntauns giblets! It has a unique taste (in a good way) which is difficult for me to put my finger on, is not overly sweet and is very refreshing.

So that was it - I hit the road.  Another very excellent and seemingly very successful World Curry Festival.  One observation I made was that all the stalls seemed to have 'Festival Specials' on for £5/£6 and seemed to all provide a substantial meal.  Now, that might prove good value but, if like me, you'd like to trawl all the stalls and sample a bit of everything, you were a little short on option.

Overall excellent day out and really worth a trip next year.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Fathers Day at Pakeezah

Even though a dinner time Bradford Curry of MY choice was to be MY Fathers Day treat, the Mrs saying "I fancy Samosa Chaat at Cafe Pakeezah", kind of loosely translates to "we are going to Cafe Pakeezah!"*

Not grumbling - I consider Cafe Pakeezah to be a little bit of a hidden gem.  Not quite as plush as it once was, now the large booths have been removed, and you defo feel a little bit more like you are sitting in the corner of a supermarket now.  Oh and the service can be a little hit and miss - basically don't expect restaurant quality service.  But the food served up for the price is excellent.

The cafe was quiet when we arrived and we did sit for quite a while, and were contemplating having to go and bring to the attention of staff our presence, when a waiter turned up.  Orders taken, and everything was soon winging it's way to our table.  Once the cogs were in motion, food came quickly.

Mrs Bradford Curry Blogger (MBCB) did indeed order the Samosa Chaat.  And from what I understand it was brill.  The crushed up meaty samosas smothered in yoghurty chickpea sauce and tamarind, and garnished with fresh chilli, is a fantastic dish.  It attacks all the taste buds, has varying textural notes, hot/cold elements and cooling/spicy aspects that swirl around the mouth.  It is great.

Although I was temped with the Chaat, MBCB wouldn't commit to allowing me two curries in one day, so I opted for for the safety of ensuring one a full blown curry!  And ordered a full blown curry - a Meat and Spinach (no distinction between balti/handi/karahi/etc at Pakeezah).  I also had a Garlic Naan.

Soon I was munching away.  My Lamb and Spinach was a little on the oily side, but other than that it was meaty, flavorsome and generally splendid.  My Naan was in a league of its own, and was super fresh, soft and crispy, and perfectly garlicy.

I was more than satisfied, and full to the point of not even having tea later on!  That's a fair old portion!  So Cafe Pakeezah is excellent but not really a full on restaurant experience.  Keep up the good work.3

*Just in case you are reading my dear... I'm only teasing for the benefit of the readers - I loved my Fathers Day treat.

Birthday Breakfast at Mughals

What better way to start my birthday day off than with a chickpea curry breakfast.

Ever since trying this early morning traditional breakfast many years ago on the Curry Mile in Manchester, I have been a big fan.

Back then the delicacy seemed hard to come by here in Bradford, but not any more. A trad brekkie can be found all over - probably most popularly the Sweet Center on Lumb Lane.

Mughals breakfast, by comparison, was far more robust in texture, and sat thick and proud on a small plate. It was nice and mild and had the zing of a little lime pickle. It was good.  Served with three wonderfully chewy and greasy puris, it's the perfect way to start the day.