From Our Foreign Curryspondent ... Dateline: Buenos Aires!

(The TATTGOC brotherhood extends around the globe, and we welcome reports of curry expeditions beyond Glasgow – in this bulletin, chief Foreign Curryspondent Tikka MaBaws files yet another spicy dispatch from his globetrotting journey with the adorable Phall From Grace, as they make like curry Conquistadors and invade South America. Follow their ongoing adventures at the life-enriching travel/photo blog I Done A Holiday)

Greetings TATTGOC faithful ...

Tikka MaBaws here.

Firstly, a confession: there were times while travelling through Asia, that Phall From Grace and I wished nothing more than normal, stodgy Western scran. But it was all noodle this, rice that ...

Even the constant presence of curry was scant comfort. Now we are in South America, though, I would beat a chupacabra to death for a spicy selection on a menu. Having started in Ushuaia, the world's most southerly city, and travelled a third of the continent north to Buenos Aires, finding anything with any more oomph than American mustard has been impossible.

Instead, restaurants are filled with stodgy pasta, unbearably cheesy pizzas, glorious steaks or weird, limp sandwiches. Vegetables seem like a distant memory; curry as realistic a prospect as the revival of newspapers.

 It's like climbing Mount Doom, it really is. 


“Do you remember the taste of lamb bhuna Mr Frodo?”

“No Sam, I can't recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water, nor the touch of grass. Instead I'm ... naked in the dark. There's nothing. No veil between me and the lack of fire! I can see him ... With my waking eyes!”


Thankfully, Argentina and Chile are at least home to some of the most stunning scenery we forlorn marauders have ever seen. Plus, on arriving in Buenos Aires, we very quickly came to realise that it is one of the best cities in the world.

Not only that – but it's home to at least two curryhouses! Hooray!

(Click here to continue on your journey ...)

Or at least that was my reaction when finding their listings in the Lonely Planet. The first, Krishna, wasn't actually a curryhouse, but merely a vegetarian restaurant, selling one curry, run by a religious nut. Fine for some people, not much use for a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus like me.

Things were sure to be a lot less ambiguous at the Bangalore Pub And Curry House. Entering this gloomy little watering hole on a Friday night, it was hard for us to get a seat, so packed was it with thirsty office types keen to start their weekends before the lengthy happy hour (5pm-9pm) ended.

A nudge here and a push there, though, and we found ourselves plonked in the corner, just about able to spot some vaguely oriental-looking art and photos high on the wall. 
The BPCH has four curries on its chalk board every day, and a set menu sampler that never changes. Hungry from a long day of walking around the Argentinian capital, we opted for two of their daily offerings and two pints of Quilmes, the local grog. Phall From Grace went for the simply-titled pumpkin curry, while I told the waitress to bring me the spiciest thing they had.

Hot with anticipation, we endured 15 fraught minutes sipping the watery beer and listening to Bob Marley. You honestly cannot escape that bastard, wherever you go – I have literally heard Oor Boab on every continent on Earth, and now find his lackadaisical lilt about as comforting as the prospect of Sarah Palin being president.

But – hark! – curry was on the way!

For our money we got a scrawny naan, a small pot of raita, a pot of slimy chickpeas in oil and a hearty mound of curry and rice. So the portion size was fine. And yet, while the pub was packed, almost no one else was eating.

We soon found out why.


Both dishes were sickly slick with butter, indeed it was difficult to pick out much difference in flavour between either of them. And spice? Pfft. Nothing. In a city as oft-notorious as BA, I had somehow expected there to be much more spicy food. It's not like a love of the hot stuff defines someone as being hard – but it certainly helps. But radge as some of the folk get here, it seems that no-one can stomach anything spicier than a korma.

That the order included raita was a goddamn insult too – like giving a pair of socks to Captain Ahab. He doesn't want them, he doesn't need them, in fact their very presence simply underlines his shortcomings. Still, by shovelling it onto the naans, we at least got a break from the filthy, oily so-called curry beneath. Between that and the Quilmes, we just about managed to rid ourselves of the sensation of drinking the contents of a deep-fat fryer.


So, a total failure then. We can only hope that as we venture ever-north to the promised land of Mexico, we may find something worthwhile along the way. Rumour has it there's some spicy food in Peru. And at this stage, I'm willing to give peppered guinea pig a go. 

The Damage: 140 pesos (£22.95), including tip.

Tikka Mabaws, out.

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