Like night follows day (and like sardines follow the trawler, if you’re Eric Cantona), there’s an inevitability to certain things in life. And after a very pleasant evening spent in the pub putting the world to rights with The Best Man and Brit Out Of Water Sr, there was only going to be one way that the evening would finish. After all, the world always feels like a better place after you’ve had a curry.
Maybe it’s the heady mix of spices, or maybe it’s the carb-loading effects of a nan bread, but there’s just something about a curry that ensures you always feel in relatively tip-top shape the day after a night of committed drinking. Admittedly the people around me on the flight I’m taking back to New York in an hour or so may not be so pleased at last night’s choice of cuisine – but for this Brit Out Of Water, there are definitely times when only a curry will do.
The problem with living in New York isn’t that you can’t get good Indian food. After all, you can get good food of any type as long as you know where to look, and there’s certainly a number of gourmet Indian restaurants to choose from. But when it comes down to it, who wants gourmet from their late-night post-pub curry? Forget delicately spiced haute cuisine – what I want is a good old-fashioned lamb dhansak or a chicken madras, with an enormous nan bread that could conceivably cover the hole in the ozone layer. Preferably after some similarly large popadoms to kick proceedings off. I want to be smacked square in the face by the spice of the curry, and almost certainly be tasting the after-effects of the dish for a good three weeks afterwards.
When it comes down to it, America just doesn’t do your everyday curry particularly well. Takeaway curry in the US is about as spicy as Joan Rivers in a negligee, and marginally less appetizing. Once you’ve removed the spice from a curry, all you’re left with is dodgy chicken in gravy. And frankly I can get that at any number of places – all of which I’d rather avoid if humanly possible.
So after one night sampling curry nirvana, it’s back to my self-imposed balti ban until the next time I’m back in the UK. Thankfully the after-effects of last night will be with me for some time to come. Apologies in advance to British Airways passengers.