REVIEW: Lassi Come Home

The Village, Tradeston

The Time: January 15, 8.30pm

Booking Name: John Carpenter

The Pub Aforehand: The Lord Nelson

In Attendance: Trampy, The Tramp, The Duke, The Gheezer, Rabbie Shankar, Jalfrezi, Nick D, Aloo Aloo, Rumpole Of The Balti, Rogan Josh Homme, Lime Pickle

Decor: Blandly classy. Too early to make the Pakora Ashley joke again?

Expectations: The Village came highly recommended, in terms of both tastiness and cheapness.

The Experience:

Once in a blue moon, and only when the stars are in a special alignment, The Tramp and his inseparable companion Trampy are somehow not the first to arrive at the pre-agreed TATTGOC pre-curry pub. Perhaps it had something to with January’s unusual solar flare activity releasing electromagnetic energy into the ionosphere, but this month’s meeting was one of those rare times. So it was left to Rogan Josh Homme and the still-nicknameless Nick D to hold the fort in Tradeston’s The Lord Nelson, a task at which these two founder members excelled.

This boozer was initially something of an unknown quantity, but by the time more Curry Clubbers strode in, it had become considerably more of a known unknown, as Rumsfeld might say. A preponderance of a certain football team’s memorabilia was a useful visual reminder of what might be appropriate – or not appropriate – to venture aloud, but most striking was the amount of pub games being played by patrons. For your correspondent, it recalled memories of Yorkshire Television’s Indoor League, a wonderful 1970s sporting showcase hosted by retired cricketer Fred Trueman, a Yorkshireman who obviously refused to appear on camera unless he was holding both a panelled beer glass and a Meerschaum pipe. (For those who have never witnessed Indoor League, it can be relived

For this TATTGOC meeting more than any other to date, there was strength in numbers. After expecting nine or so at best, the final tally of Curry Clubbers turned out to be 11, though they perhaps recalled Grange Hill spacker Danny Kendall rather than suave Danny Ocean. As well as Lime Pickle making another heroic pilgramage west, there was also the debut of Rumpole Of The Balti, a man well-versed in all curry-related legal matters, and the miraculous recovery of The Duke (who had originally cried off with a dicky tummy before realising that sometimes in matters of the gut, you have to kill or cure). Absent was The Birmingham Wan for understandable family reasons but hopefully this notable curry connoisseur will return to the fold in February: just because he has neither beard nor glasses doesn’t mean that he isn’t an integral part of our brotherhood.

After draining initial pints, soft drinks and even non-alcoholic lager, it was soon time to cheerfully egress from The Lord Nelson. (As the legendary sailor himself said: “I could not tread these perilous paths in safety, if I did not keep a saving sense of humour.”) It was a notably short voyage, since The Village was situated next door. Ignoring the siren call of the takeaway’s humming neon sign, our boisterous crew clomped upstairs into the restaurant proper, admiring the stylish but understated interior. Being directed to a large table tucked well away from the main body of the restaurant initially appeared to be special consideration although by halfway through the meal, it seemed more like tactical isolation: the EasyJet check-in at Glasgow Airport is similarly housed in a separate annexe from the main building. Cramming our pirate band into the permitted space was like a doughy version of Tetris, but eventually all were seated, with Curry Club elder statesman Rabbie Shankar looking suitably regal at the head of the table.

The Village is unlicensed, so jugs of creamy lassi were ordered along with the usual pre-match poppadoms. The Club’s consistently untameable maverick Aloo Aloo (nee Bawsaag) seemed particularly determined to prove his moxie on this visit, helpfully taking charge of the ordering process since he was one of the few Curry Clubbers within handy eye contact of the surprisingly tentative waiting staff. After some of the usual kerfuffle, five varied starter platters were ordered, which, according to the menu, would be enough to feed 10. As it turned out, the subsequent bounty of pakora and other bits-and-bobs was probably a little excessive, although the Club rose to the challenge and enthusiastically demolished most of the offerings. Particular praise was offered up in favour of the spicy raita, and those lucky enough to get a chop made appreciative noises. A giant deep-fried chili pepper was also most agreeable.

A slightly more domineering waiter – who had a whiff of management about him – took charge for the main course ordering, which mostly went off without a hitch, climaxing with Trampy off-handedly ordering six pilau rice and six different varieties of naan as if batting away a troublesome fly. In the natural lull between starters being cleared away and mains being served, Trampy and the Tramp staged their own mini-presentation, offering a small token of esteem to each member of the assembled Club: a wallet-ready TATTGOC mini-calendar with a vivid illustration of Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and destruction, on the cover. Manly tears were covertly shed.

Then, the real business of the evening: a groaning series of dishes which took up every inch of table space, not least because of a planet-threatening invasion of rice and naan. At the head of the table, Lime Pickle and Rumpole Of The Balti shared a spicy chicken dish but seemed to spend more time arguing the merits of the spicy naan, which appeared to house Dante’s Inferno within its wheaty flaps.

During the usually silent chowdown, a random conversation threw up the fact that five out of the assembled 11 Glasgow of Curry Brotherhood were left-handed, a considerably higher percentage than the average. As the chomping continued, two rival schools of thought as to why this might be sprang into existence. One argued that as Curry Club was a deeply humanist and bohemian collective, it was all the more likely to attract those of a creative bent, such as southpaws. Another, more gruffly-expressed opinion was that there was simply an unnatural proportion of spackers in our distinguished membership.

The debate may well have continued long into the night but for a general slowing of thought processes. What had begun as a steady advancement through the feast had gradually wound down to a crawl. Perhaps it was the deceptively filling lassis, or, more likely, the sundry-ordering oversight on the part of Trampy (requesting 12 side dishes certainly seems foolhardy in retrospect). In any case, it soon become alarmingly clear that the Curry Club was going to be uncharacteristically foiled by the sheer amount of spicy scran to be consumed.

As defeats go, it was admittedly one of dreamlike sensuousness. Even without booze – which meant no climactic brandy toast – the Club still staggered, groaning, from The Village after settling the remarkably reasonable bill, and adding a generous tip. In another slight break from tradition, the crewmates did not return to their original harbour bar, choosing to plot a course further inland, although that threw up some of its own choppy hazards, from ear-shattering noise pollution to atmosphereless pubbing. But these were just inconsequential footnotes to another valuable expedition south. But now it's time to spin the curry compass again. Round and round it goes, and where it will stop, nay-one knows. Will it be north? West? Or even (gulp) … east?

Range Of Drinks: Unlicensed, but several jugs of lassi were enthusiastically consumed.

Highlights: Superior main dishes, no shortage of tucker, cheapness.

Lowlight: Arm’s-length service, and being tucked away from everyone else.

The Verdict: An intense experience!

The Damage: £190.18 (tip: £29.82)

If the Curry Club’s January visit to The Village was a bit like the Hudson River air crash, Trampy’s written report is the black box. But were important details overlooked? And how were the flaps? Speak your brains in the comments section


Dave said...

Heh heh heh. Wheaty flaps. Still chuckling childishly to myself about that.

Dave said...

Also, my favourite quote of the night was The Tramp's evocation of the "gentle trumpeting" that Evo would be complaining about come daybreak...

Ewan said...

Gentle Trumpeting his arse! It would be more akin to the noise (and possibly stench) emanating from a hoarde of elephants hanging out in a damp cave on a sultry July afternoon...

The Tramp said...

That's it, you're barred again Bawsaag...

Baz Luhrmann said...

As you'll know from my seminal films Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, I thrive on conflict ... which is why I'd like to make a film of the Curry Club! So much repressed homosexual tension, combined with lip-smacking tucker. This could be my next big hit! Come on, guys! Please?