|Another one bites the dust|
The snaking queue at the restaurant gave us more reasons for hope. Though the chaos was not conducive to a relaxing night, it was a positive indication of the kitchen’s efforts. Luckily for us, we were the only people in line for a table-of-two and found ourselves seated soon enough and being served by a polite, dishy-looking Pakistani émigré waiter, his soft Punjabi accent yet to be sandpapered away.
Unfortunately, he turned out to be the dishiest thing in the restaurant that night. My guess is that the saag gosht, fried daal and paneer tikka that we ordered were very tasty when they were initially made, but each subsequent reheat through the day had taken something off the flavour. So by the time it reached our table at eight in the night, I could almost taste the oil and spices crying in protest against the day's torture. The naans were tasty but without the reinforcement of good curry they couldn’t save the night.
It is really funny that the closest we have come to truly yummy, value-for-money Indian food in England is at a Burmese restaurant (Mandalay on Edgeware Road) and a Nepali one (Yak Yeti Yak in all the way in Bath).
Sid says that the popularity of any foreign cuisine is inversely related to its authenticity. The reason our Nepali and Burmese restaurant have been able to maintain their high standard is because they are the only ones in the market – a small niche clientele is enough for them to survive. But the more ubiquitous a cuisine gets, the more a restaurant finds itself pandering to popular tastes in order to attract patrons – even if it means playing fast and loose with authenticity. So it is to the very popularity of Indian food in London that we can blame for our inability to find a good Indian restaurant in London.
But that is our theory. If you have any others, feel free to share.
On the most interesting Indian place we have found in London, Dishoom in Leicester Square, read this.