curry has recently become britain’s favourite food. i’ve discovered that many londoners head to a place called brick lane (a five minute walk from the aldgate tube) to get their curry fix from any one of the twenty plus “indian” restaurants (they are all bangladeshi-owned actually) on a ten block strip interspersed between indian grocery stores, sweets shops and video libraries. i picked up 3 hindi movies on dvd (salaam namaste, black and garam masala) for £10 on my way to dinner with h, joy who was visiting from new york and joy’s british indian friend manish who brought us here. it doesn’t really matter which of the restaurants you eat in on brick lane, it’s hard to distinguish one from the other. and in fact now i can’t even remember the name of the place we ate it. i think it was called preem but i’m not sure.
the meal was very unbelievably ordinary. we got off to a promising start with onion bhajis (onions deep fried in a spicy gram flour batter) and kingfisher beer but then it was all downhill from there especially for me, the only vegetarian. the boys thoroughly enjoyed the vindaloo which was fiery hot. i tasted just a bit of the gravy in bravado despite warnings and was thoroughly shocked at how many red chillies must have gone into the dish. my mouth was on fire and my ears were burning as they do when i eat something too spicy!
if it hadn’t been for the pineapple raita that came with my very average vegetable biryani, i would have had to suffer the burns much longer. apparently they even serve a more spicy vindaloo called “paal” but it’s not on the menu in case a non-desi sues the restaurant!
dessert was not bad actually. we popped into a “sweet meats” store where freshly made rosogollas, kala gulab jamuns, rasa malalis, chumchums etc tempted us. we got one of each and quickly polished it off. the sweets were overpoweringly sweet but very enjoyable nonetheless. i may not be returning to brick lane any time soon for anything other than the dvds.