I quite like Indian food. I wouldn’t necessarily go miles out of my way for it, but I’m perfectly happy with it. If I’m quite honest, I’d choose Chinese food over Indian.
Not so John. John loves curry, and since he moved to Oxford just over a year ago, he has been in pursuit of a decent curry in Oxford. We’ve tried various places over the past 13 months but none have been right. They’ve ranged from the worst (“well cooked but essentially just a vegetable stew”) to the disappointing (“the starter was encouraging but the main just wasn’t hot enough”). He was growing despondent. Oxford itself, he loves, but they just couldn’t produce a decent curry.
Well, stop press. Last night we found it. Last night we went to an Indian restuarant that not only served the best curry he’s had in Oxford, but a curry that rivals any he had while he lived in Glasgow. Yes folks, that’s right. It was a great curry. And where was this holy bastion of Indian cuisine? Why, it was mere minutes from our front door. Behold! The Standard Tandoori!
The food was wonderful. John went for onion bhaji, followed by a paneer bhuna with paratha. I had a chicken frenzy with a starter of chicken pakora followed by chicken tikka and nan bread. We both, of course, had the wonderful Kingfisher lager. It was truly delicious.
And it wasn’t just the food. The place clearly hasn’t been decorated since about 1970 – this is a good thing. Flock wallpaper, dim lights, Indian music playing, slightly threadbare seats, flowery plates. It was perfect. John actually felt a bit emotional, bless him. And surely there can be no greater compliment to the restaurant than what he said to me and we started the slow walk home with full bellies:
“My,” said he, “it’s a long time since I did the curry waddle.”