Some Pilau Talk With ... Tam Cowan!

Everyone in the TATTGOC brotherhood loves curry – we even have an award that says so! But surely we could still learn a thing or two from other prominent curry lovers? And maybe even go round to their house for tea? In the special summer series we're calling Pilau Talk: The Legends, Trampy and The Tramp will be asking well-kent faces to recommend some of their favourite curry haunts and recall some of their most memorable spicy experiences. Next up is Tam Cowan, the journalist and presenter who, as well as hosting the hilarious Off The Ball every Saturday on BBC Radio Scotland, is also the Daily Record's veteran restaurant reviewer, so he's seen some curries in his time. Over to Tam ...

What are some of your favourite Glasgow curryhouses, past or present?
Past: The Taj Mahal just off Charing Cross on Sauchiehall St. RIP.

Present: Any of Balbir’s three outlets, also Assam’s, Urban Pind (or Spice Garden if we’re looking at a very late-night curry).

And your favourite Glasgow curry takeaway?
Rarely get a takeaway curry as, by the time you get home, whatever bread you’ve ordered is always soggy and nothing like you’d get in the restaurant. At a push, though, I’d say Cafe Salma just down from the dearly departed Taj Mahal. My missus loves their South Indian Chilli Garlic chicken.

What’s your all-time favourite curry dish, the one to which you always return?
Keema (mince) peas – extra hot – having just finished a wee veg pakora.

And if you had to choose just one accompaniment, would it be rice or naan?
Plain, well-fired paratha. Never rice – bags you up and you leave half the curry.

Could we trouble you for an anecdote – a beloved curry-related memory?
My mate Sandy once saved a woman’s life while we were having a curry at the Taj Mahal. She was choking on a chunk of something (a tandoori prawn, I think) and Sandy went into the full Heimlich manoeuvre. She was so embarrassed at causing such a scene that she didn’t even say thanks or send over a drink for our table. The miserable boot.

Where’s the most exotic place you've had a curry?
At an Indian restaurant called Gaylords (not to be confused with the excellent London branch) in the Rio casino/hotel in Las Vegas. Never again. Nothing like the real thing. But I just couldn’t resist. I was on holiday and hadn’t eaten a curry for nearly a week.

Can you actually make a decent curry yourself at home?
No, of course not. Nobody can. Although I did once have a topping homemade curry. But that’s because it wasn’t my home – it was Charan Gill’s (and his wife Parminder was doing the cooking).

Can the TATTGOC brotherhood come round for our tea?
So, no ... but you’re welcome for roasted cheese (note: always “roasted” never “toasted” – it's a Lanarkshire thing).

If you could enjoy a curry dinner-for-two with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole and Karen Carpenter – more curry for me!

And finally, football: we know Nottingham Forest sometimes had both David Currie and Brian Rice on their teamsheet, but are there any particularly spicy Scottish players?
What about former Celtic and Aberdeen midfielder Poppadom Sullivan and the Celtic full-back Anton Rogan Josh?

Cheers Tam! The Tramps have had their eye on Cafe Salma for a while but were concerned that the full heft of the brotherhood might struggle to fit in the modest premises – but maybe we'll give it a go. Look out for another Legend in a fortnight!

Tom Shields
Fred MacAulay
Ian Cowie aka Mr Snax
Diner Tec
Roy Beers
Iain Banks
Norman Blake