From Our Foreign Curryspondent ... Dateline: Docklands!

(The TATTGOC brotherhood extends around the globe, and we welcome reports of curry expeditions beyond Glasgow – one Curry Clubber has already reported from Big London, but now Trampy weighs in with his account of an eventful night near Docklands ...)

Rajboy on Commercial Road, London

Your Foreign Curryspondent: Trampy

The Pub Aforehand: The Railway Tavern, Commercial Road

In Attendance: Trampy, The Tramp, Karahi ... CHOP!, Poppadom Preach, Ken Forghee and Ra Lassi

Expectations: With a name like Rajboy, violence seemed assured ... but ended up coming from an unexpected source.

The Experience: Although the rest of the country obviously despises London and everything it stands for, it must be acknowledged that the UK’s soon-to-be-Olympic-tastic capital has a few things going for it. The British Library, for one – genuinely the best place in the city for free wi-fi and meeting-cute with dusky exchange students. It’s also the place that itinerant Curry Clubber Karahi ... CHOP! calls home, when he’s not flying commercial aircraft around Europe. And it’s got the O2 – that benign mutation of the Millennium Dome that boasts the logistical capacity to satisfy the bulging showbiz needs of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

It was the siren song of the UFC that drew Trampy and The Tramp to Big London last month – you might not think it to look at them, but they know a thing or two about mixed martial arts (watching it, at least). The indefatigable Karahi ... CHOP! and his fragrant bidie-in Poppadom Preach – stars of the very first TATTGOC Foreign Curryspondence all those months ago, if you remember – kindly offered to put a roof over the Tramps’ head, and also insisted on taking them out to a nearby curryhouse whose name evoked a certain Glasgow incorrigibility: the Rajboy. To round out this impromptu TATTGOC meet-up, The Tramp called upon an old pal who had spent many happy years in Glasgow (at one point even sharing a flat with Trampy and yet another Foreign Curryspondent, Martin Jalfrezi, a time characterised by cackling glee when playing underhanded Tekken 3). But would this exile answer the call?

As the Tramps, Karahi and Preach made their way to the Rajboy, the question remained unanswered. What could have happened to the newly-christened Ken Forghee – a nod to Romero, there – and his partner Ra Lassi? Just as our doughty quartet arrived at the restaurant, The Tramp received word of what was holding up his former comrade-in-arms: he’d only gone and been knocked down by a bloody jeep while on his bike, guvnor! This shocking piece of news was followed by an even more astonishing epistle: he was still planning on coming for the curry, if the assembled quartet could just wait a bit! How banged up was his bike? See below for pictorial evidence.

And here's Karahi ... CHOP! checking it out on Ra Lassi's phone while a punch-drunk Ken Forghee clutches a chair to gain sweet relief from his injuries:

That, friends, is the TATTGOC ethos in a slightly dunderheided nutshell: no matter what the circumstances, make your way to the meet-up if at all possible. The Tramps had made jokes in the past about "blooding" new recruits, but this wasn’t quite what they had in mind. Karahi ... CHOP! smoothed things over with staff at the Rajboy, pushing the booking back by an hour or so, and our heroes retired to the nearby Railway Tavern – a characterful, if drafty boozer – to discuss road safety in London and the possible effects of concussion on working out the rice/naan equation.

Not much later, all six of our principals were cosied in at the Rajboy, enjoying oversized bottles of Cobra in Kingfisher glasses, and quizzing Ken Forghee about his brush with death, after which he looked in pretty good nick. For her part, Ra Lassi seemed relatively unfazed so perhaps this sort of thing happened quite a lot. The Rajboy itself was clean, uncluttered and a welcome oasis from the bustle of Commercial Road – the two later arrivals got first dibs on the mixed tandoori starters, possibly because the other four felt guilty for tanning all the poppadoms and delectable dips earlier.

There was a general thumbs-up for the main courses – including a notably tasty butter chicken – but it would not be overstating the fact, in this reporter’s humble estimation, that while everyone was tacitly acknowledging the obvious bravery of Ken Forghee, all eyes now turned to a real hero, Trampy, as he took ownership of his first ever vindaloo (lamb, as it happens). For the past two years of TATTGOC, the blog’s wise, handsome, virile co-founder had been patiently checking out menus all over Glasgow and noted that vindaloo has, for the most part, fallen out of favour – possibly due to connotations of dimwitted masculinity-testing and that awful record by Fat Les.

If there was some whimsical irony in the fact that it had taken a car journey hundreds of miles away from his beloved currytopia of Glasgow for Trampy to take his first step into vindaloo land, it wasn't mentioned. But, as he lifted the luscious, fiery chunks to his mouth with a Richard Gere-esque half-smile, wryly acknowledging some past piece of advice that must have seemed wildly off the mark at the time – (perhaps “never keep referring to yourself in the third person?”) – only to become unexpectedly relevant at this very moment, everything seemed right with the world. 'Twas tasty! And while in Glasgow, the word “radge” instinctively makes you brace yourself for a Sauchiehall St bampot to stick his heid through the fishtank within seconds, in London it appears to represent excellent curry at very reasonable prices. And branded mints!

An evening that had began with Casualty-esque drama had, over the course of a delicious meal, transformed into a convivial reunion. After the obligatory pics outside the Rajboy, Ken Forghee and Ra Lassi disappeared into the night, in search of justice from careless drivers. For their part, Karahi ... CHOP! and Poppadom Preach ushered the Tramps back to their Docklands lair for excellent chat and lemony liqueur. It left the sated, dazed Tramps wondering how UFC 120 could possibly measure up. But that, of course, is another story ...

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Thali Ho said...

Blimey, Trampy was a Vindaloo virgin? Somewhat stunned by that news...