Curry as social engineering

Two events this week are united by the common uses of i) the internet as the catalytic medium and ii) curry as a focal point for social interaction.

On Thursday evening, I met three of those who also post regularly to the UFDI newsgroup, serving those with a burning desire for the food of the Indian subcontinent and its restaurant equivalent around the world. We all met in a great pub, The Good Samaritan, that keeps good beers properly and mostly serves the medicos and nurses of the Royal London Hospital and curryholics heading for Brick Lane. After a couple of foaming ales, we headed off, away from Brick Lane to my favourite Pakistani kebab house, The Lahore in Umberston Street, E1, There we ate heartily of the reknown lamb chops, sheek kebabs, masala fish, chicken and mutton tikka, chana, dhal, rice and roti, choosing to drink water as no-one remembered to bring their own booze – The Lahore has no drinks licence. This blowout, which can be witnessed here, cost us just £12.50 each. If anyone knows of a place which can match the quality and the value, I’d love to hear about it.

Tonight, after ending a stressful week with a quiet night off yesterday, I am back out again tonight. I’m off to a small but select reunion of folks that I went to acting school with twenty two years ago. When I say select I am talking about folks that I want to see again rather than those I’d rather not bump. Reunions are usually the work of the Devil, where one has to swap life stories with folks who, it transpires only half way through their monologue, you recall you didn’t particularly like back then. Tales of broken arms (“We do Val d’Isere every year”), broken dreams (“That Senior Deputy Assistant Manager job was mine until she came along with her Nino Cerruti suits”) and broken marriages (“We’d been together since the third year school trip to Wales – funny that, cos now she’s living with a vegan in Rhyll”) abound at such events so I usually steer clear – but I digress. Tonight will see me supping more ale in the Queen’s Head in Denman Street, which has an excellent comedy club upstairs, before moving a few doors down to Chowki, for ‘home style’ food from India. I haven’t been to Chowki before so I had a look at diner’s reviews on the web and found that they range from the rave to the grave. Far from being a put-off, this is a good sign for me, because The Lahore gets similar love/hate reviews. Should I survive the beer and the balti, I will report back.

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