REVIEW: Dhabba Dhabba Hey!

Sibbo's Delhi Dhabba, Sauchiehall Street

The Time: September 17, 8.30pm

Booking Name: Mr Tim Burton

The Pub Aforehand: Mitchell's, North Street

In Attendance: Trampy, The Tramp, The Bulldosa, The Birmingham Wan, Jalfrezi, Rabbie Shankar, Sir Spicy Lover, Rogan Josh Homme and Illicit Bangla (“… And the dirt is gone!”)


Decor: Lots happening on the walls – notably the fluorescent ceiling starscape and a startling portrait of a fishwife.

Expectations: No Clubber had ventured inside Sibbo's before, possibly because of its proximity to the very popular Mother India. So we went in with open minds and rumbling bellies.

The Experience:

The world is depressed. Ignore any flim-flam about the bamboo shoots of recovery or winking economic indicators; for yo-yos and bozos hustling to stay off of Skid Row, things can still get a whole lot worse. It’s the game, yo. You feel me? Some Curry Clubbers have even had to undertake second jobs – often in the murky “grey market” – to keep themselves stocked up with Amarula and Gentleman’s Relish. Trampy has been reduced to flogging used headlines round the back of the Daily Record building. The Tramp, meanwhile, has been moonlighting as a napping mathematician on Vic and Bob’s revived Shooting Stars. What? You didn’t see that episode? Where a well-fed Masterchef judge had to dangle condiment-moistened footstuffs into The Tramp’s yap? If only there was some kind of pictorial evidence …

Anyhow, the credit crunch has long been trying to get its jaws into Curry Club but nothing, it seems, can stop men of a certain age from lager and pakora. Coming so hard on the heels of the August meet-up, Trampy was expecting a considerable drop-off in attendance, not least because some of the brotherhood were on holiday – notably Rumpole Of The Balti (who was undoubtedly taps aff in Bali) and The Duke (sequestered in Chester). This last was a particularly deflationary blow as the pub aforehand – Mitchell's on North Street, formerly trucker-hat repository and cock-about-town hangout The Ivy – had been selected in The Duke’s honour. (At one point, it looked as if there might only be four Clubbers in attendance, a hexed number that would automatically trigger the inaugural meeting of Trumpy And The Trump’s Bridge Night Of Curry.)

A bumper brotherhood heard the call to naans, though, facilitating a hurried call to Sibbo’s Delhi Dhabba to ensure they could actually handle eight hungry men (with the promise of a ninth, The Birmingham Wan, joining us at the venue). Among the veterans exchanging crackerjack banter over pints of Tennent's in the comfortable but otherwise deserted Mitchell's was a TATTGOC fresher, albeit one who had a knowledge of the inner machinations – macerations? – of the restaurant industry that far outstripped anyone else at the table. Though this was his first outing, a placeholder nickname had aleady been earmarked. Though amusing, it didn’t actually contain any curry associations. So, for now, we will refer to him as "Mr X".

After a few more pints had been drained and The Tramp had secured some atmospheric pre-Club shots with his exceptionally nice SLR camera, the TATTGOC caravan of courage bid farewell to Mitchell's and perambulated to Sibbo's. 'Twas a bracing walk, amplifying appetites to the extent that when the team arrived, staff could have put pretty much anything in front of them and it would have been devoured. Which, depending on which member of the brotherhood you talk to, might well be what transpired.

Surrounded by hotels, Sibbo’s Delhi Dhabba looks cannily geared up to cater for conference attendees and travelling salesmen: a big, open room dotted with LCD screens to cheer up lone diners. Unlike many other TATTGOC destinations, it was relatively busy when the brotherhood steamed in, and had a subtly upbeat ambience, mostly because of a non-stop party soundtrack of original rock’n’roll hits. A classic jukebox situated by the bar suggested a rock-around-the-clock attitude that immediately jigsawed with the Club’s own rebellious streak. (How many times has TATTGOC’s own Wild One, The Tramp, answered the query “What would sir like to drink?” by drawling “Whaddya got?” As the original trailer put it: you'll thrill to the shock-studded adventures of this hot-blood and his jazzed-up hoodlums.)

Drinks were foremost in everyone’s mind, and a round of nine draught Cobras was requested – until Mr X noticed that Sibbo’s also offered Bangla, an unfamiliar Indian beer. Always eager to sample new products, Mr X innocently asked for a bottle of Bangla instead, oblivious to the stentorian rules of Curry Club that dictate Orwellian concordance whenever possible (except, of course, when the actual range of drinks available is a lottery, like that Café Spice visit). With a forcefulness and uncharacteristic authority that surprised even himself, Trampy instantly rescinded the Bangla, the better to prevent an outbreak of ordering chaos, a disaster of biblical proportions: human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! The incident did inspire a possible TATTGOC handle for Mr X though: Illicit Bangla. (And with hindsight, perhaps rounds of Bangla would have been more fun.)

The usual round of poppadoms seemed harmless enough, although Jalfrezi was quick to point out that as well as mango chutney, spiced onions and delicious lime pickle, there was also Thai-style sweet chilli sauce for dipping, which seemed rather incongruous. The Tramp’s request for some mixed pakora and tandoori starters to share was quickly fulfilled, but while the plates were mostly demolished by the hungry crew, it was hard to summon that much enthusiasm for the offerings. The general consensus seemed to be that this was a solid but unspectacular start, though there remained a general atmosphere of relaxed conviviality. Conversational topics ranged from the bitumen-voiced return of Faith No More to the popularity of checked shirts among the assembled. In the general miasma, Trampy neglected to secure the customary photo of the menu, but pretty much everyone ordered from the specials blackboard, so that seemed a more appropriate illustration in any case.

And this is when our tale turns into a Choose Your Own Adventure book. If you ordered the Crispy Chicken Lakhan, the Lamb Tamarind Mushroom Bhuna or certain other dishes, scroll down to the end of this post and read the entry headed ABC. If you ordered the Chicken Butter Masala, the South Indian Chilli Garlic Chicken or certain other dishes, scroll down to entry XYZ. And if you were looking forward to the prospect of a delicious chilli naan (part of the rather haphazard four-rice-three-naan order), scroll down to entry WTF.

You back? Rest assured that never before had there been quite such a divergence in people’s experiences of Curry Club, and the crackling tension seemed to spin the group off into another mindbending dimension. First, someone pointed out the fluorescent starscape hidden in plain view on the ceiling, which led to much “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing”. If only Patrick Moore had been present to help identify some of the major constellations. Then, as toilet trips increased directly in proportion to the consumption of Cobra, word of an arousing portrait situated by the lavvies rippled round the group like a lustful Mexican wave.

So it seemed hardly strange when Jalfrezi suggested reinstating the traditional round of brandies, a motion that was enthusiastically passed. It helped that, sheathed in his leather jacket, Jalfrezi bore a striking resemblance to legendary greaser The Fonz. (It also seemed inevitable that he would later bang his fist against the jukebox, triggering it to play Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill, as he demanded that someone “step into his office” – the male lavatory. [That someone would most likely be TATTGOC’s very own Potsie, The Bulldosa.])

After being denied his preferred drink earlier, Illicit Bangla managed to sneak in a request for an after-dinner coffee, which heralded two plates of mints for everyone else. Grabbing two of the gold-wrapped treats, The Birmingham Wan then demonstrated an unexpected talent for burlesque, sorta visible in the accompanying slideshow to your right. As the bill was requested, even more sweeties arrived, perhaps to help the medicine go down. This tuck-shop avalanche perhaps meant that not everyone realised Sir Spicy Lover had brought along some racy chocolates for the brotherhood (after being admired by Trampy, they were cached for some unspecified future meeting).

The final total worked out at around £30 a head, which makes Sibbo’s – along with the Spice Garden – one of the more premium outings in TATTGOC’s short but eventful history. But it was hailed a success by the brotherhood, even as, almost symbolically, the restaurant's outside lights went out as one of the series of aftermath group photographs was being expertly blocked by The Tramp. Then, in a pleasing piece of conceptual circuity, most of the brotherhood then ended up in The Ivy (albeit its relocated premises on Argyle Street) for a final nightcap, because nothing tops off a good curry like yet another pint of lager. The world may be depressed, but TATTGOC is always full of shiny-faced, happy people.

Range Of Drinks: Cobra on draught, and bottles of the unfamiliar Bangla too.

Highlights: Roughly half the main courses; the surprisingly raucous rock’n’roll soundtrack; both mints and sweets at the end.

Lowlights: The other half of the main courses; that cloying, sweet chilli-sauce-glazed naan; fairly nondescript starters.

The Verdict: A surprisingly populace experience!

The Damage: £246.55 (tip: £23.45)

***

ABC
Congratulations! You had an awesome curry! Two thumbs up!

XYZ
Boo hoo! For some reason, the dish you chose wasn’t quite up to scratch. In fact, it was pretty bad, although hopefully not enough to ruin the night.

WTF
The “chilli naan” came glazed with that Thai sweet chilli sauce, to the initial horror and subsequent morbid fascination of those present. And it tasted … well, pretty much how you think it would taste. (It was pre-cut too, but that's a whole other entry ...)

From Our Foreign Curryspondent ... Dateline: Dubai!

(The TATTGOC brotherhood extends around the globe, and we welcome reports of curry expeditions beyond Glasgow – here, one of our exiled MIA brethren treats some Scottish visitors to a taste of the high life over in Dubai.)

REVIEW: India Palace in Dubai

Your Foreign Curryspondent: Tikka Mabaws

The Time: Late June, when the temperature in Dubai lingers around 40C and the humidity is only about 50%.

Booking Name: We just sauntered in, a herd of white devils.

The Pub Aforehand: N/A

In Attendance: Phall From Grace, Filthy Saag, Fatty Basmatti and Chill Out, Naan.

Decor: Shin-bashingly dark, but red and gold. Probably.

Expectations: Half an inch lower than a slug’s belly (see below).

The Experience:

One year ago, in an emirate far, far away… I am in Dubai and payday is tomorrow. I have AED20 to my name (about £4.50) and naturally opt to blow it on a biryani and pakora at my dingy hotel in downtown Bur Dubai (think Townhead with humidity, without bams).

In place of actual pakora, though, I get an assortment of partially battered vegetables in various states of sorry disrepair. And when I unsheathe the main course from its tinfoil wrapping, I am even more disappointed. I poke the fork in a couple of times, like a child playing the world's worst lucky dip, and hit something hard only to discover a lump of bone with rancid, grey flesh hanging limply from its ugly frame. Suddenly, like a dog finding steak in the bin, I find something soft and quickly sling it into my mouth … but it's pure gristle.

I fall onto the bed and stare at the ceiling as the putrid smell from the bin wafts around my room. The Wee Curry Shop seems awfully far away …

With that being my first frontline experience in the UAE, it was hardly surprising that it took me a while to get into a curry house. Also, as dozens of similarly pasty, money-grabbing western expats will testify, the discovery of Lebanese cuisine – the shish taouk, smothered in garlic mayonnaise, is a key contributor to the infamous “Dubai stone” – provided a cheap, amazingly tasty distraction from, well, pretty much any other scran.

But with the arrival of Caledonian comrades Filthy Saag, Fatty Basmatti and Chill Out, Naan for a holiday in the merciless sun, Phall From Grace (Ma Burd) and I felt we had the sufficient hauners to get back on the spice trail. Besides, with around 50% of the population of the UAE – the downtrodden, exploited half – being from the Indian subcontinent, there’s every chance they’d know their curry.

On account of getting a license to buy a carryout being as much fun as snorting lime pickle – and presumably applying for a license to punt booze even less fun than that – there was no pub beforehand. Once we got to the India Palace – which was pretty much deserted – booze wasn’t on the menu either. On the plus side, it was genuinely walking distance from Chateau LaffMo, cutting out the risk of taking a taxi (six days a week there is a lethal car crash in the UAE, a high percentage of which involve taxis) but it still meant being outside for more than a few seconds. In summer, this feels not unlike God taking a long, steady pish on your head.

Empty though it may have been, the India Palace had decent air conditioning and, as with virtually every eatery in Dubai, waiters who were attentive to the point of being servile. In the face of such niceness, you wonder what motivates them – the threat of being forced to eat Scotch Bonnets for a week perhaps? But those in the India Palace are a cunning bunch and have perfected the art of deliberately mishearing an order, to the point that Filthy Saag found himself merrily going along with the up-sell, unaware of any skulduggery.

“Can I get a cheese naan?” he asked.

“Two cheese naans, sir …”

“OK, two.”

They come at you with smiles, they come as your friends … And they always seem to come at a time when you’re at your weakest and most in need of their help. As it turned out, that was "pretty often", as much of the fare on offer was authentically Indian; selections such as the murg tinka sounded more like a Klingon picking a fight than whit’s fur ma tea. With a little help from our waiter friend, we placed a sprawling order and tore into the complimentary poppadoms, which were accompanied by lime pickle, mango chutney, generic curry sauce, something close to raita and a mysterious concoction that looked a bit like rotten mustard.

The India Palace, with a sitar and bongo duo providing live music in the corner, a wee guy endlessly weaving colourful bracelets by the door and shiny brass finishings glittering in the dark underneath the low ceiling, is – if not palatial – a pretty decent-looking restaurant. Local rag Time Out Dubai claims that this is a romantic place to dine, yet having had more than one review edited to remove everything other than a tinge of Tikka Mabaws honesty to please advertisers, it’s hard to take their advice too seriously. Suffice to say: it’s nice inside.

Alas, the starters didn’t match the setting. The pakora, once again, was certainly mixed, with scrawny bits of bony chicken joining lazily dunked mushrooms. The balls of mixed veggie surprise were at least pretty tasty.

However, if the starters disappointed, the mains were much more impressive. Phall From Grace – being a female – went for a chicken korma and thus warrants no further reportage, but the rest of us shared the dum methi murg (green and tasty), the murg tikka shole (orange and tangy) and kadai murg (fruity and moreish). If anything, the only letdown was the chicken xacutti, ordered by Fatty Basmatti because it was said to be one of the spicier things on the menu and, as his forehead hadn’t stopped leaking from the moment he got off the plane, wouldn’t reduce his dignity that much further. Yet instead of the kind of choking, eye-watering sweat-fest we had all expected, he simply described it as being “Gid, aye.”

Still, at about £11 a head, we certainly got value, even if there wasn’t any bevvy. Having already started to perspire before leaving the restaurant, it made heading back out into the crushing night air slightly easier. Perhaps that’s part of the reason hot food is so popular in hot countries – that and the need to disguise the taste of ingredients. The three visitors, flying home soon after, resolved to make up for the lack of beer at the airport – and to ignore the airplane food after gorging on so much creamy curry. There are all kinds of horror stories about the Indian experience in Dubai, but in this case at least, their presence was most welcome.

Range Of Drinks: Soft to the point of total flaccidity.

Highlights: Chill Out, Naan’s reaction to the insistence of a photograph and his attempts to hide behind his menu. Also, the surprise at how good the dum methi murg tasted despite looking like liquid moss.

Lowlights: The lack of spice and a lingering feeling of guilt at fuelling the wicked Dubaian economy.

The Verdict: One of hundreds of curry houses in the city, it set a high standard to beat.

The Damage: About £60 for five, including starters, mains, sundries, water and one mint cooler. As is often the case in Dubai, the tip was already included without asking so we didn’t leave any more.

Can't Stop This Thing We've Started

A rare, non-curry-related newsflash – John Carpenter's deathless horror classic The Thing has been rereleased digitally, and is playing at the Cineworld Glasgow all day today. The Tramps and Rogan Josh Homme will undoubtedly be in attendance. Will you? If you cannae make it, here's a six-minute cheat-sheet version, staged with GI Joe figures and a thumping Zombie Zombie soundtrack ...

The Tramp's Jukebox Puri: Truth Hurts (Like A Strong Vindaloo)

Hear me now!

"Who's this?" I hear you ask ... well, relax gentlemen, your eyes do not deceive you – The Tramp is back and taking no prisoners in the latest instalment of his hugely popular but infrequently delivered Jukebox Puri.

So what do I have up my slightly curry-stained sleeves for you this month? The ingredients of this tale are a hauntingly beautiful track, a hugely popular remake of the original cut, a Western remake of the remake, a bit of illegal sampling and a hefty judicial smackdown. Intrigued?

Let's start at the beginning: the song Thoda Resham Lagta Hai, by legendary Indian warbler Lata Mangeshkar, appeared on the soundtrack of the 1981 Bollywood feature film Jyoti. It opens with simple chimes reminicent of the start of an Oliver Postgate/Peter Firmin production, closely followed by Lata Mangeshkar's genuinely haunting vocals. You might think you were about to listen to some downbeat tearjerker. Instead, you are treated to a surprisingly beefy, thoroughly wigged out and pleasingly upbeat number that would definitely get the Tramps up and dancing. Have a listen on the player below and see if it doesn't get you grinding in your seat (please note Trampy and The Tramp accept no responsibility for anyone getting in trouble for grinding at work).


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Sharp-eared readers may well find their lugs pricking up – does it no sound familiar? Anyone who was "down with the kids" back in 2002 will instantly recognise the vocal from Addictive by one hit R&B wonderwoman Truth Hurts. This is where things get interesting ... Thoda Resham Lagta Hai was remade/sampled by Indian pop outfit UMI10 and released as Kaliyon Ka Chaman Jab Banta Hain, becoming a huge hit across South Asia in 2002. Not long after UMI10 got our Indian brothers and sisters up dancing, Truth Hurts launched a similar assault on Western charts with Addictive – scoring a dancefloor winner both in the States and the UK. Produced by DJ Quik on Dr Dre's Aftermath Label there must've been a hellish amount of the old wacky baccy being smoked around the studios. Not only did Aftermath fail to get clearance for the original sample from Thoda Resham Lagta Hai, they also seemed to think that they'd get away with completely ripping off the whole of UMI10's track, including the video. Oops. Did they think no-one would notice? Check out both versions below ...


video

video

I'm going to have to put my hands up here: The Tramp is a fan of the Truth Hurts version of the track. And there are definitely a few things in the Truth Hurts promo that would have enlivened the UMI10 video.

I particularly enjoy the appearance of legendary rapper Rakim sporting a Glasgow Young Team-style white tracksuit (it may be terry towelling rather than a shellsuit but damned if it doesn't look the same at first glance).

If the tracksuit wasn't enough, check him out in what must surely be the worst leather jacket ever created. The thing looks like it was designed by a committee comprising Cameo's Larry Blackmon, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice ... in a crack den. I don't know who he thinks he's kidding but he's certainly not going to get lucky with Truth Hurts wearing that get-up. With a jacket like that, is it any wonder that Eric B split from their rap duo?

As if Rakim's honking fashion disasters weren't enough, executive producer and label owner Dr Dre also manages to muscle in on the action late into the video running time. Looking markedly more restrained in fashion terms, Dre still causes a stooshie by appearing to be completely smashed on spirits. Leching over ladies, smirking to himself in a stupor and pulling off a proper dad-style dance at one point, you have to applaud his attempt at utterly derailing one of his own music videos.

While you and I might find much amusement in the Truth Hurts video, the copyright holders of the original sample certainly didn't. They slammed Aftermath with a whopping $500 million claim for unlicensed sampling. Ouch. If only Dr Dre had TATTGOC's very own legal expert Rumpole of the Balti on hand maybe things would have turned out differently (although I suspect that if Dre did indeed have our man on retainer then we would have seen Rumpole making a boozy appearance in the Truth Hurts video too).

So there you go – three tracks for the price of one. And if you'd like to listen to your very own copy of the original Thoda Resham Lagta Hai then why not grab it here? All part of the Jukebox Puri service ...

Thoda Resham Lagta Hai

Have You Hugged Pickle Today?

Or ... to put it another way: Happy Birthday, Lime Pickle: ninja-level graphic designer, loving husband, cream cake fiend and Curry Club's official man-at-arms.

Lime Pickle is a true TATTGOC legend so if you're lucky enough to see him over the next couple of days ... give him a hug.

And if you're lucky ...

... you might even get a spoon.

That boy loves a spoon.

REVIEW: I See You Baby ... Shaking That Asmaan

The Asmaan, Bath Street

The Time: August 27, 8pm

Booking Name: Mr Tinto Brass

The Pub Aforehand: The Iron Horse, West Nile Street

In Attendance: Trampy, The Tramp, The Gheezer, The Duke, Ravi Peshwari, The Bulldosa, Rumpole Of The Balti and visiting Foreign Curryspondent Makhni Knife

Decor: Due to all the scaffolding, it’s difficult to see the outside of The Asmaan at the moment, let alone the inside.

Expectations: Despite its evocative name, few Clubbers had ventured into The Asmaan, despite a ringing endorsement in the window from the Evening Times’ gumshoe restaurant critic, Diner Tec. So let’s say expectations were … fairly low.

The Experience:

Curry Club is like riding a bike: it’s good for the environment, you’re usually sweaty at the end of it and it’s prudent to wear a helmet, just in case. Also, hopefully, you never lose the knack of how to do it. That’s what Trampy was pinning his hopes on, hunched round a pint of Tennent’s in the back of The Iron Horse, one of Glasgow’s preeminent no-nonsense boozers, slap bang in the goddamn city centre.

As ever, he was worried that this might be the meeting where the wheels fell off the chuck wagon – TATTGOC legends like Rogan Josh Homme and Sir Spicy Lover had been early call-offs, and the teamsheet was looking a little thin. Worst of all, TATTGOC’s booming mascot and honourary life president The Tramp was ensnared in a punishing work schedule and might not make it at all. Combined with a lengthy summer sabbatical, it looked like the much-anticipated August meet-up might be more dusty death rattle than triumphant new chapter in TATTGOC’s bechequered history. Gazing at the remaining amber liquid in his glass, Trampy decided it was definitely half-empty, and vowed not to tan it so fast the next time.

If Trampy was subdued, his companion The Bulldosa – usually mercilessly mocked as the brotherhood’s most Machiavellian member, ever-scheming to consolidate his limited influence on the ruling council like a power-hungry Starscream – was keeping the tender flame alive by radiating anticipation and enthusiasm. Vitally, he’d also remembered to bring a camera. The Gheezer and Ravi Peshwari arrived promptly, and Trampy found himself slowly emerging from his worrisome funk. Then there was a vital phone call from The Tramp – beal or no beal? No beal, for he’d wriggled free of work and was mere minutes away. The Duke also strode in, looking eager for curry battle to be rejoined, followed closely by special guest and dedicated Foreign Curryspondent Makhni Knife.

Most dashing of all was Rumpole Of The Balti, looking like the young Michael McDonald in one of Cary Grant’s finest suits. It planted the seed of a terrible idea in Trampy’s mind: a future TATTGOC meet-up where everyone rocked their best clobber, the better to splash ghee and masala sauce on their exquisitely tailored sleeves. Would kilts be eligible? To be on the safe side, let’s say “no”. So, with seven TATTGOC veterans and one newbie in harness, the crew rode out of The Iron Horse toward their destination.

For once, there was a sort of logic behind the restaurant selection. TATTGOC began in Partick and has explored north, east, west and, particularly, south. But never has it met up in the city centre, despite that being a handy place for cosmopolitan currynauts to assemble. And if the the prime directive is to turn up hidden gems, Bath Street’s The Asmaan is undoubtedly shrouded in mystery, and lots and lots of scaffolding. The evocative name had also long tickled the Tramps, and would provide plenty of easy gags for the official report (at least, that was the plan).

The interior was the first surprise – a preponderance of mirrors and white furniture, fixtures and fittings combined with the warming glow of neon signage gave it the feel of a Balkan brothel, or the immediate aftermath of a P Diddy video shoot (possibly for the third single in an increasingly half-hearted album campaign). Booked under the symbolic name of Tinto Brass – the sensuous Italian filmmaker well-known, according to Wikipedia, for “accentuating women’s buttocks” – the Club was ushered to a table highlighted by streamers and balloons. (Ironically, it was actually the day of Rogan Josh Homme’s birthday but the gallant cinephile was celebrating in the far north of Scotland.) Could anyone have guessed that the soundtrack to our night would be wall-to-wall ABBA? Probably not, but these surprises are the spicy lifeblood of Curry Club.

No Cobra on tap, sadly, but The Asmaan had the next best thing: cool, foamy Tennent’s served in Cobra-branded glasses. Before long, the assembled Clubbers had fallen back into their regular groove, exchanging witticisms, observations and general “bant” like true gentlemen. It took The Tramp mere minutes to order up a round of poppadoms with all the trimmings, plus some mixed pakora and tandoori platters for starters. Our attentive waiter – dressed in a black shirt and patterned waistcoat that made him look like, variously, like a 1930s Chicago gangster at leisure, snooker’s dapperest nearly-man Tony Drago in his prime and a no-nonsense poker dealer on a Mississippi riverboat – rapidly twigged that this lot could be upsold without much effort, so our starter order was promptly taken up a notch, and a request for eight poppadoms multiplied into 15. To Trampy’s palate, these 'doms tasted more like shop-bought Sharwoods efforts – sub-doms? – the ones you see taking up lots of shelf-space in local mini-marts, always pre-smashed into a million pieces. Still, the accompaniments were tasty, and if the pakora was fairly boilerplate, the tandoori morsels of lamb and chicken more than made up for it: succulent and delicious. A promising start!

For TATTGOC virgin Makhni Knife, this calm before the storm of main courses was a chance to analyse how a proper Curry Club meet-up operates – having only experienced them through the wildly inaccurate write-ups, he was looking to the old hands for tiny clues about appropriate behaviour and etiquette. Unfortunately, since he was sat next to The Tramp, he naturally assumed bellowing and off-colour jokes were TATTGOC’s lingua franca. Makhni’s involvement had been the subject of some debate in the dog days of summer, since the whole freakin’ point of TATTGOC is to make those that have left Glasgow feel insanely jealous of the awesome time the rest of are having here. To that end, The Tramp – and, OK, Trampy a bit as well – had engaged in a two-month-long campaign of psy-ops, excluding Makhni Knife from any official communications and even withholding his official invite until the very last moment, the better to see the volatile Irishmen twitch on the end of their line, veering dangerously between puppyish enthusiasm and volcanic umbrage.

Before The Tramp embarked on a lengthy explanation and suggestive demonstration of an advanced courting technique known as “the Jocky Wilson” (memorable enough to make Trampy wish he had the technical skills to create a two-frame animated GIF of the demonstration, to use as an online avatar when frequenting websites of an adventurous but morally-dubious provenance), the traditional rice/naan equation had been diligently calculated. The answer, this time, was a relatively conservative three pilau rice and three naan (the usual loadout of plain, garlic and peshwari). With ABBA unapologetically ringing in our ears, and the few other patrons drifting out the door, this was starting to feel like a potentially legendary outing. Another round of drinks, please, Mr Tony Drago!

Oftentimes, even the most experienced Curry Clubbers can miscalculate how much they can consume, and after overindulging in starters find themselves struggling with their mains. The Asmaan appears to have found a way round that particular problem, by serving up their mains in sturdy but quite small metal dishes. While the aromas drifting up from the various masalas and acharis were tantalising in the extreme, the biggest cheer came when the naans hovered in like Harrier jumpjets – even bathed in the denaturalising neon light, the garlic naan appeared to be such an alarming shade of orange it triggered widespread disbelief, then admiration and, latterly, creeping fear. Demonstrating his inherent sharpness, Makhni Knife quickly dubbed it “Tommy Sherid-naan” to much ribald hooting. Then ... silence, as the various curries were hungrily put to the sword.

Trampy couldn’t remember another meet-up where so much of the scran was actually consumed – and perhaps a little more rice would have been appropriate, as The Tramp hoarded a rather oversize share down his end of the table, a bearded dragon curled up malevolently on his pilau gold. Something about the chintzy mirrors, blaring ABBA, neon signage and that electric orange naan also brought a slightly Twin Peaks vibe to the evening, heightened by a visit to the bathroom that revealed a spooky aerial forest of Magic Trees hanging from the roof, like a cheap, garage-bought mobile for a neglected child or yet another physical manifestation of a latent serial killer’s preternatural compulsions. Time, perhaps, to scarper.

So, after nine unbearable weeks of inactivity, the Curry Club was back in business. And by planting a flag right in the centre of Glasgow, phase two of TATTGOC could begin, a new campaign of monthly sorties into the unknown, swingballing around Glasgow and the surrounding area in search of the perfect curry, an evening so spicily sublime that it couldn't ever be recreated, not even by the most skilled wordsmith. There were moments of such transcendence during the Asmaan excursion – notably, The Bulldosa moodily modelling an improvised cock-and-balls in The Pot Still afterwards – but these divine moments, by their nature, are cruelly fleeting. That is what it means to live the curry life.

Range Of Drinks: Tennent’s … but served in Cobra glasses. Classy!

Highlights: Those tandoori starters, the balloons, the overall wigged-out "atmos".

Lowlights: Too much ABBA by half; main courses were a wee bit small.

The Verdict: A surprisingly pleasant city centre experience!

The Damage: £168.10 (tip: £7.90, and that was over and above the 10% service charge for parties of eight or more)

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