The excitement is orgasmic. My first official post on the sexy new JFT website.
Dave and I were called to Richmond to participate in a momentous feast at The Curry Club Café on Bridge Road. I had been to the Curry Club a few years back and I won’t shy away from saying that I was displeased with it’s performance then – boring curries and neglectful service. However, that was then, and this is now.
We entered the establishment and I immediately noticed a change in scenery, from the cold, wintery wind outside to a warm interior with a pregnant pause and the smell of spices suspended in the air. We were there early and before our friends so we had our pick of where to sit. Next to the front window seemed to be the perfect place to be and it gave me a good view of the place.
The only downfall was the dated 90s furniture upholstery, but other than that, the décor was clean and tidy with gorgeous wooden carvings hanging on the walls.
Dave and I ordered a round of Kingfisher Premium Lager, India’s best selling beer with a light and crisp, almost fruity taste with a bit of tartness at the end. A very drinkable beer.
Once our mates had arrived, we were given a tower of roasted pompadoms with two sauces – a mild, yoghurt mint sauce that was smooth, light and creamy, and tamarind syrup that was both sweet and sour. The pompadoms were light and crisp with a delicious toasted flavour. They weren’t greasy or oily, but once they moistened in the mouth, they became almost buttery. The mint sauce was very mild, but when mixed with the sharp tamarind sauce, they created harmony.
All ordering responsibilities were given to one person on the table, who suspiciously led the waiter away from the table and whispered sweet everythings. I have a feeling that I’m going to need to be carried home in a wheelbarrow tonight.
The first round of plates consisted mainly of meat – no complaints there! Shish kebabs, tandoori chicken and tandoori lamb cutlets.
The shish kebabs were beautifully spiced, tender and juicy, and very easy to eat. The tandoori lamb cutlets were well cooked but still tender, packed full of flavour with plenty of meat on the bone.
The giant chicken tandoori pieces were moist and succulent with no dried stale bits like I’ve had at some places. The meat pulled apart easily and was morish.
Next up were potato slices deep fried in a spiced chickpea batter. These reminded me of potato cakes, but the batter made it something special with the cumin and coriander. I would have loved to have that batter on a banana fritter… wow.
I was nearly full and mains were coming. Chicken madras curry, goat curry, prawn curry and chilli chicken with prawn biryani and three types of naan – garlic, flaky and sweet. Faaaaark…
The chicken madras curry was smooth and mild but still rustic and full of flavour. Madras curry originates from South East India and contains a variety of spices with coconut milk and tomato.
The goat curry was more robust and spicy with gorgeous ginger flavours. The pieces of goat could have been tenderer but didn’t taint the experience.
The prawn curry was heaving with giant, juicy prawns amongst the vegetables and coconut curry sauce. A really yummy dish.
My favourite of the evening – the chilli chicken – failed to last long enough for me to take a picture. Succulent pieces of chicken in a light batter stir fried with green chillies. The spiced batter reminded me of KFC, but in a superbly good way, and while the chillies were hot, it was still edible and there was no burning ring of fire the next day.
The prawn biryani was fabulous. Stunning golden rice flavoured with a variety of spices, toasted cardamom pods stirred through for surprising bursts of flavour, and big fat prawns. Bring me a doggy bag so I can take this sexy bowl of yum home.
The naans were plentiful and delicious, with the sweet kashmiri naan winning the trophy for the Most Tastiest Naan. It was filled with dried fruit, cashews and fennel seeds, and went beautifully with the madras and goat curries. Even on its own it was delicious!
I mistook the flaky naan for Malaysian roti chanai, but I was assured that it was definitely naan and flaky due to the way it is cooked.
After all that food, you’d think me a lunatic for ordering more… but we did.
I couldn’t possibly leave without having a mango lassi, which just happened to be the best mango lassi I’ve ever had. Thick and creamy and laborious to suck through the straw, it was like drinking custard, with the deliciously sweet mango flavouring. Ambrosial!
To accompany the lassi, we ordered some ice cream.
I loved the green colour of the pistachio ice cream. It was very sweet and creamy, with the sprinkle of nuts providing crunch and texture. Without the pistachios, you wouldn’t know it was pistachio ice cream. It was simple, sweet deliciousness.
The mango ice cream was just like the lassi, but in ice cream form. Just yum.
A wheelbarrow would have been useful to carry me back to the car. It was definitely an indulgent session of mastication, flavour sensations and going back for thirds. I couldn’t have hoped for a more marvellous spread of meat and spices and exotic flavours.
Ultimately, that is the point when you go to a restaurant that serves exotic food. It’s supposed to be an experience from a different country and culture. It’s supposed to be new and exciting and different and strange, and perhaps it can become a familiar favourite. Too often I hear about cuisines that westernise their dishes to suit boring palates. I don’t want to go to an Indian restaurant and eat an adapted version. I want the real thing, and not just when I eat Indian food, but Thai, Polish, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Chinese, and all of the others.
Stay true and serve your national dishes proudly.