A fine lunch

2. Reviews (Other UK)

Charcoals, Glasgow, Scotland

Lunchtime curries are always a bit of a treat and it certainly is a treat at Charcoals. This smallish curry house doesn’t look much from the outside but the food is cracking. It’s also just around the corner from The Horseshoe, one of Glasgow’s best known pubs, so you can have a nice post-curry pint if you plump for an early executive lunch.

At just £6.95 it’s particularly good value, although once you’ve added a during-curry pint (£3.60 for draught Tennent’s), some pickle (95p) and a tip it’ll be double that.

The food is exceptional and the Chicken Desi Karahi one of the best curries I’ve ever had. The first mouthful simply exploded in flavours. The sauce was sweetish, but spicy, and full of onion, peppers and juicy bits of meat. I had it with two chappatis but you can also chooose boiled rice or a naan if you prefer.

The deal also comes with a starter (you can choose from a small range) and the Chana Poori was nearly up there with the main in the flavour stakes. Super tastes all wrapped up in puffy, flaky bread.

There’s a small hatch near the door, which the chefs use to let out the heat, and as I was the table nearest this it was fascinating to watch them at work. I’d love to show you a pic of these great chefs but unfortunately I was told that taking a pic is “against the law, against company policy” by the slightly grumpy waiter. The hatch door was promptly shut and steamed up. Mmm.

Instead I will show you a pic of the fine lunch  this unassuming but quality little place dished up. If you don’t hear from me again it’s because the curry police have taken my camera and I’m hiding in the oven.

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Tasty karahi, pickles, chappati and a beer. A fine lunch…

Charcoals, 26a Renfield Street, Glasgow, Scotland, G2 1LU. Tel 0141 258 6482. Open: noon–late.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 9

Decor 6

Service and friendliness 6

Atmosphere 6 (Wednesday lunchtime)

Value 9

 

Charcoals on Urbanspoon

Style in the city

2. Reviews (Other UK)

Assam’s, Glasgow, Scotland

I’m thinking the relaxed style of the service in Assam’s is the way forward for curry houses. British people, after all, don’t really do “receiving service” very well. False, American-type “have a nice day” service makes us cringe, Snooty “I need to give you a look that makes you feel that we don’t want you here” service irritates us, while bowing and scraping “I’ll do anything for you sir and madam” makes us feel decidedly uncomfortable.

The latter two, of course, are peas from the same pod as we search for egalitarianism as we sit down to eat. We don’t want people to treat us as if we are not good enough for anywhere (our grandfathers told us about this sort of thing), and we don’t want anyone else to act subservient just because they are serving us (as our grandfathers wouldn’t accept that either). We are not “under” anyone and we are not “above” anyone either. Ah, the dilemmas of a class system.

And so the poor old people that serve us have to walk a tightrope of being efficient but not too attentive, friendly but not too friendly, fast but not too fast and on the list goes. An impossible job. Yet the two young lads at Assam’s seem to have got it just right, mixing up banter with efficiency. A job in training awaits you.

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Modern decor in an elegant setting

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Tandoori Chapati, ideal for scooping up tasty curry

Assam’s, situated in an elegant building in West Regent Street, in the centre of Glasgow, has been operating since 2009. The high ceilings, large windows and gold picture frames sit comfortably alongside the clean, contemporary lines of the modern furniture and smart bar. It’s a pretty cool place.

The menu is not huge (although the chef will cook other curries if you ask) so presumably they stick to what they know best. The Garlic Chilli Chicken (£9.95) was full of soft, whole garlic cloves, peppers and chilli, with the thick, sweet sauce coating the tender small chunks of chicken. The Tandoori Chapati (£1.20) was the size of London naan and the wafer-thin bread had been popped and singed by the searing oven heat in all the right places. It was ideal (after a quick chat with our waiters about how it was cooked) for scooping up the curry topped with a dab of homemade pickle (65p).

Sadly the Vegetable Curry (£8.50) did not receive such high praise from The Vegetarian despite the large chunks of fresh broccoli and cauliflower. The vegetables were declared too soft and the dish itself described as “more lightly spiced veg than veg curry.”

Elsewhere on the menu Spiced Haddock (£5.95) and Aubergine Fritters (£3.20) from the starters stood out, while the Karahi Garlic Lemon (£6.95 for lamb) has my mouth watering for a return visit.

Assam’s 57 West Regent Street, Glasgow, G2 2AE, Scotland. Tel: 0141 331 1980.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 7.5

Decor 9

Service and friendliness 9

Atmosphere 6 (late Monday night)

Value 7

Assam's on Urbanspoon

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