Monday, 5 March 2012

Apologies to Boak and Bailey

I had planned this post Saturday night. Honest. Not exactly like this, but more or less. I am not copying you or jumping on your rolling bandwagon. Cross my heart.

Did you know I have another blog? Bet you didn't. It isn't open and was started way before this one. This one started on 26/11/2007 and the other one started on 21/2/2007. It inspired Tandleman's Beer Blog, but is really just a personal diary, not about beer. Why am I telling you this? Well here is an extract from a couple of weeks ago:

"The weekend was good, though it did start off with a long lecture from E about how, as we aren't getting any younger, there has arisen an urgent need to visit expensive restaurants. I haven't felt this need, though mortality is always at the back of my mind. So unreceptive was I, that it took quite a lot of time to knock the idea into my head to an extent that allowed me to go to bed - albeit at half past bloody two. I am not saying an excess of wine afflicted E, but in the morning, it somehow seemed less important to her."

Nonetheless the idea wasn't completely abandoned. Thus it was we booked one of London's top Indian restaurants, Cafe Spice Namaste.  It is rather convenient for our flat and falls into E's definition (albeit at the bottom end of her expectations.)  We have been before, but were vaguely disappointed and it was some time ago, so we duly reported, had highs and not so highs and left full up, but feeling perhaps it lacks the precision of cooking, particularly in spicing and sauces, that is so important in Indian food and that you will get in say, Mother India's Cafe in Glasgow. But this isn't about the grub.

 Of course before choosing a tasting menu so we'd get the full gamut of the kitchen, we wondered what to drink. There was quite an extensive wine list, but wine doesn't really go with curry in my view. The beer list was one in number. Cobra - in big or small bottles. I remarked to E at the time, that while Cobra was perfectly decent  (though pretty neutral in taste) that an IPA would have been nice, or maybe a wheat  beer of some sort would have been worth a go, to complement what was a pretty diverse set of flavours. Alas no, it was Cobra or nothing.  This is where we come back to Boak and Bailey. They've said what I wanted to about the subject in generic terms. In this actual example, Cafe Spice Namaste has a menu that is very well put together, diverse and thoughtful and clearly chosen with care. The beer list though was a cliché. A single cliché at that.

This isn't a go at this particular restaurant. They are doing what most do, as B&B point out. But is that really good enough? I don't eat out in "proper" restaurants all that much and when I do, I'd like a decent choice of beer. Please.

Many years ago in Edinburgh I enjoyed a beautiful bottle of Deuchar's IPA in a Leith Curry House. That would be a contender. Or White Shield, or a Schneider Weisse.


Bailey said...

As you say, Cobra's fine with curry, but it's hard to imagine a wine list in a restaurant with any reputation whatsoever featuring just one brand-name mass-produced wine.

Brew Wales said...

I once found King Cobra in an Indian restaurant. Excellent RAIB to go with curry, although the staff had problems opening and pouring the bottles

Curmudgeon said...

If you're not getting any younger, maybe the need to drink those expensive special beers becomes more urgent too ;-)

"Eddie Rowles" said...

We persuaded one of our local curry houses in Darlington to stock a few bottled beers - Old Peculier and Wells Banana Bread beer both went down surprisingly well.

Having said that I prefer to have a mango lassi.


Cooking Lager said...

Link to the other blog tand?

Erlangernick said...

Yes, please get this sorted before the squeeze and I make our next visit. The proper beer in restaurants bit, not your getting older bit.

Or we'll just have to stick to gastro-pubs, I guess.

Tandleman said...

No Mudgie. I need that money for E's ambitious programme.

Nick. It is a redeeming feature of gastropubs

Cookie; It is closed to anyone but me. Sorry.

Tandleman said...

No Mudgie. I need that money for E's ambitious programme.

Nick. It is a redeeming feature of gastropubs

Cookie; It is closed to anyone but me. Sorry.

Tandleman said...

Eddie. We all love a lassi when we can get one.

Anonymous said...

Had a curry last night at the restaurant nearest my house. It had just been refurb'd so I thought I'd give it a go. To my surprise, along with Cobra on tap and bottles of Kingfisher, they had botlles of Vedett which was great spicy food.

Has anyone ever tried or seen Kingfisher Strong? I had it in Mumbai a couple of years ago. It comes with a blue rather than red label and was about 7-8% if I remember correctly. I quite liked it at the time but then again there wasn't much choice with regard to Indian lager out there.

beerfortheweekend said...

Lal Toofan in our local indian - which is a bit different I suppose, but would like to see some attempts at matching beers with currys - that would be a draw in

Cooking Lager said...

I formally object.

It is one thing sitting in beer geek 20 hand pump palaces paying 6quid for a third of undrinkable 10% muck and listening to some bearded twonk match it with an overpriced sausage or bit of cheddar, all from "local" farms or some such rubbish.

Stay out of the curry house, beer geeks. There will be no beer and food matching here. There will be lamb madras and cobra lager and nothing for you here.

Think of it like pub based TV football or darts games. There are places a beard must never tread.

Darren T said...

Our fave curry house - the Lime Tree in Prestwich - serves Black Sheep, which goes very well indeed with their rather excellent curry dishes and seems to hold its flavour really well, even a bit chilled. Or it has the last dozen or so times we've been, anyhow.