I wasn’t expecting much from Tandoori Express. Partly, it was the name, but the bain-maries glimpsed through the window didn’t hold out much hope either. On the other hand, Jim and Matt were quite keen to accompany us and I should have known that it wasn’t just the promise of our sparkling company. Those two are fairly discerning diners – they do their research before they commit. There is no way we would have got them along to the unlamented Simply Noodles for instance.
It’s a Friday night outing again, the best kind. The week over and the weekend starting early. A quiet beer in a pub first – bring it on.
Inside, Tandoori Express is surprisingly welcoming. It smells great and there are cushions, and even table cloths. Sure there is a bain-marie, but I was expecting a takeaway joint with a few laminex tables. Now I’m getting my hopes up. Matt and Strop are sent off to fetch beers. More beers, as far as Jim and I are concerned. We have taken the time to give ourselves a head start.
A quick perusal of the menus reveals a tendency towards alliteration. This is something I can relate to, a harmless way to entertain yourself while quietly annoying others. What better fun is there? So we have Chicken Creations, Blissful Beef, Legendary Lamb and Sensational Seafood. For starters we order a mixed entree platter to share. This comes to the table sizzling and requires a little bit of delicate surgery to divide it up evenly. But it is well worth the effort, there are chicken bits, a kebab thing and onion bhajis. Just out of interest, has anyone ever heard of any other type of bhaji? Just curious.
“This is quite good,” is the mildly surprised verdict, as the food rapidly vanishes.
Beers are consumed. Words are discussed. Why is everything curated these days. Or triaged? What did we used to do? Organise things? Prioritise things? Is it a sign of the times or just that there are more thesauruses about? (Thesauri? Fucked if I know.) Can I please have another of those excellent beers.
For mains we have gone with the Bhoona Beef, in deference to the alliterative imperative, Prawn Malabari Jheenga, and Chicken Dopiaza. And naan, lots of naan. And rice. Yum.
Double yum in fact. The food is excellent.
While we are stuffing our faces, Jim informs us that he has successfully persuaded his school to purchase xylophones for his Year One students, so they can all do music together. He is planning to teach them to play Highway to Hell at next month’s assembly – I think that was what he said. Anyway the kids are loving it, and it is great to see our young minds in such enthusiastic hands. And it great to see someone with so much to offer make the transition from a retrenchment-track academic to a primary school teacher. Well done, old son.
When we had eaten just enough so that we could hardly move, we paid up and tottered out into the night, leaving Tandoori Express to a deliver up terrific takeaways to the blokes making their way home from the pubs.
God, it’s getting to be a long way home these days.