Thursday, April 29, 2010

UK Edition: The Vindaloo Episode

Lamb (pre-vindaloo)

Being that I am in the UK this week, Indian cuisine is unavoidable. The British take anything good and make it... British.  With the exception of Indian food. It must have something to do with colonialism.
Pizza Hut is a sit down restaurant, dim sum is fashionable and horrible at the same time, and there is some national obsession with prawns. Last night, I actually got into an argument over fish being served at breakfast. Not smoked salmon - that was something that all agreed on. But haddock with eggs? No no no.  Indian is the only thing done right here.
In London, I go to Khan's for the curry. The only strike against them is that it is a dry restaurant. Mango lassi, though very good, is as good as it gets.
Spending four weeks in Cardiff over the past six months, I have eaten in countless restaurants. Most workdays, I find my way to an Audi dealership for lunch. I am not kidding. The best choice for lunch is the cafe inside an automobile dealership, just down the road from my office. Not that I mind ordering a sandwich and sitting down to stare at an R8 Spyder. Daydreaming. Drooling.
The other night, I went out to dinner with Daniel and Carlyne for a Indian by Cardiff Bay.  When ordering the lamb vindaloo I was questioned no less than three times by my dining companions and the waitstaff. One does not order vindaloo lightly. We also ordered up an appetizer sampler, some "special rice" and peshwari naan. The sampler was fine, though it was never made clear which of the samplings a yogurt sauce - conveniently in the middle of the serving dish - was meant to accompany. So we used it for everything. The "special rice" was basically Indian fried rice - egg, peas, rice, fried, done. Peshwari naan is basically the same as what I would call khandari naan; raisins, shredded coconut, and a little bit of crushed almond. We tore that apart, and went back to scoop up the coconut that fell out. Or maybe it was just me. But never mind that.
Lamb vindaloo is the story. I managed to break a sweat (literally) without being overwhelmed by the spice. When Carlyne and Daniel tried it, they both found it to be extremely spicy. What they did not know was that my tongue had numbed to the spice after the first few bites. By fighting through the pain, I found a way to the other side - where the spice was a part of the dish and not so dominant. Instead, I looked like the tough guy who could withstand the most spicy of Indian dishes. For all intents and purposes, I rocked the vindaoo.

NB - Not bothering with the address here.

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