My memories of previous encounters with Indian cuisine are not exactly fond. The last time – an impromptu appearance at a leaving do for an Indian expat from work – I ended up tossing and turning through the night, tormented both bodily and mentally by masala dosa. Thanks to that, and my well documented lack of adventure when it comes to food, it was my last attempt at eating anything Indian- a full five years ago.
Without any prior planning we end up standing and chatting outside an Indian restaurant. There’s me, my Iranian buddy and a third guy who he once worked for. We have spent the last few minutes catching up and reminiscing on the various bits and pieces of the shared lives we have missed in the intervening months.
The thing about these meetings is that they invariably segue into a catalogue of cynical musings. We moan about the lack of excitement in our line of business, gleefully swap stories about former bosses whose careers have gone awry, and self deprecatingly (in mock humility) discuss what it is we are currently working on.
As we stand in front of the Indian restaurant, someone suggests we go in and grab a bite. My Iranian friend is ambivalent, his ex boss is keen to try something new in the city and I am positively petrified, but for lack of a coherent excuse I agree and we walk in.
There are several empty tables available and we grab a seat by the window, in a smaller section of the room. I skip the starter, some sort of corn wrap with mixed sauces.
When the main menu arrives, it is a curious mix of names I am blissfully unaware of. I eventually order a chicken tikka with some rice, only medium spiced. When it arrives, it has a soft, light aroma. The chicken is slightly salty but tastes great, as does the accompanying rice side dish and the curry sauce. As I eat it, I half expect to suddenly throw up and massively embarrass myself, but I survive; washing it down with a sweet cider.
All in all it’s a great evening out, one more place to file in my places-to-take-a-prospective-love-interest-to and more importantly there’s one more flavour to my international food basket.