Dakhin, Merchant City
|The lamb fillet chunks were absurdly tasty|
As usual, there's no easy answer. Trampy and four TATTGOC-affiliated pals – including Lime Pickle – were on the hunt for something to eat that could fit in the relatively short window between a disappointing afternoon of rugby and a potentially organ-damaging evening of weaponised fuzz-rock from revivified purveyors of penetrating feedback My Bloody Valentine. Unusually, curry was not foremost on Trampy's mind – the combination of feeling extremely full while being tossed around in MBV's washing machine of a set didn't seem like a particularly great idea. But after singularly failing to organise anywhere else for his pals to eat on a busy Saturday night, he was relieved when Mrs Lime Pickle managed to snag a table at Dakhin.
|The enormodosa, snapped in half for health and safety|
Twinned with the nearby Dhabba restaurant, some people struggle to remember which outlet does North Indian cooking and which covers South Indian. The way Trampy remembers it that Dhabba is at street level and Dakhin is up a flight of stairs. So if you think of north being upstairs and south being downstairs – and then, uh, reverse it – you will always remember that Dakhin is the South Indian specialist. Those enormous paper dosas being ferried about are a useful aide-mémoire an all. The upstairs dining room was large, notably busy and pleasingly bustling. This not being an official TATTGOC outing, Trampy could kick back and let others sort themselves out – and with time a slightly pressing issue, it was decided to order up a few mains and dosas and breads and share em round. But first: a round of Kingfishers and some notably authentic-tasting poppadoms.
While the lamb chops looked tempting, Trampy bagsied Varutha Attukari – lamb chunks marinated with ginger, garlic and Tulu masala, with a spicy chettinard sauce on the side. There was more chettinard in the Kozhi Meluga, chicken simmered in the distinctive black pepper sauce. Another couple of lamb dishes – including a spicy Masa Koondhapur – felt like enough to around, and as well as ordering up the Pathram selection of ground rice and lentil pancakes – among them Chinna Dosa, Sanna Uttapam and Appam – there was also a demand for some boiled rice. And, of course, there was no way the table was not ordering one of the incredible, drainpipe-y paper dosas.
|Lime Pickle in typically pensive, thoughtful pose|
With just one course, Trampy hoped that the food wouldn't be so filling as to cause mobility problems at the gig, and had vowed not to gorge himself. When the dishes arrived though, the aromas were so inviting it was a challenge not to simply guzzle one of the curries in one spicy slurp. The sizzling lamb chunks were unbelievably tasty, deeply marinated and with a pleasing kick of spice. The lamb curries were also delicious, and while the paper dosa was enduring talking point, the practicalities of using it to scoop up saucy curry weren't entirely reliable. The various dishes were passed around politely – no-one wants to be a Greedy Gordon and nick all the food when sharing in these circumstances – but Trampy did his best to make sure "his" lamb chunks didn't progress too far up the table; he just wanted to keep them within arm's reach, is all. With a London visitor noted for his gustatory enjoyment and food-hoovering skills, every morsel was eventually devoured, and while there wasn't the usual crammed feeling of a classic Curry Club, everyone certainly felt sated when it came to tastiness.
With showtime fast approaching, the bill was finalised and it approached around £20 each – more than acceptable considering the range of flavours on display. Trampy made a mental note that there was 50% of the a la carte menu when ordering during certain times; he was sure the Tramp would fancy a bit of this. In April, Dakhin are also gearing up for Vishu, the South Indian New Year in accordance with the Malayalam calendar. So on Sunday April 14, you can head along for a feast of 10 different traditional dishes, served over a three-course thali-style meal, which sounds amazing. And how were My Bloody Valentine? They got five stars too.
Trampy and his entourage visited Dakhin in March 2013
89 Candleriggs, G1 1NP
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