The Village Curry House129 Nelson Street,
0141 429 4610
£ – inexpensive
££ – mid-price
£££ – expensive
££££ – very expensive
Bling the changes
Review published on 01/10/2012 © Sunday Herald
I can see why The Village occasionally gets into trouble for its service. They forget a starter, dont bother with replacement cutlery, and a whole jug of mango lassi is missing from the bill. OK, the last one is more their problem than mine. Add to that iPad-wielding waiters who dont make eye contact, a man in a little box beside the kitchen kind-of-but-not-really overseeing everything, and the occasional flash-fried shouting match among the chefs, and you may wonder how we managed to have a great time tonight. I dont know, but we did.
Is it the impact of arriving at a restaurant in, lets be frank, one of Glasgows more rundown areas to find it surprisingly huge and bursting at the seams with customers and staff? Mental is how the little Glaswegian Asian waitress described the past two weeks here. For those not in the know, The Village was one of Glasgows best-kept secrets. Lost but not lonely in deepest, grimmest Tradeston, serving curry by the kilo seriously above a takeaway counter where they occasionally finished off the naans with a full-size flame-thrower.
That was then. Now a full bhoona extension has been built alongside. From the outside, its long, low windows fill the street, but only vaguely hint at the mezzanines, lassi bars, huge kitchen and end-to-end marble tiling awaiting those who step inside.
The decor? I like it. Blingorama, with a slightly strange layout. In the extremely unlikely event that The Village doesnt succeed as a restaurant they could easily convert it into an upmarket car showroom. But somehow, despite its brash, loud fittings, its slidey floor, high ceilings and pale wood here and there, it is a triumph of substance over style. Tonight Matthew, as the young lady said, it is indeed mental.
The restaurant has filled up with Glasgow families with what looks like a 50:50 split between those of Asian background and those not. A stag night in cowboy clothing came marching in a few moments ago threatening the tone, but it turns out the place is vast enough to swallow them without trace. Considering there was significant eye-rolling from Debs and Luca as we left the car and saw that neon sign lit up outside, and even more as we passed the takeaway counter inside the front door, there are no complaints now.
The food? Yes. You can still buy curries by the half-kilo, the full kilo or even two-kilo dishes. But its not compulsory. Theres a machli haddock, all spiced and fried and crisp, with white, flaking fish inside. Excellent. The aubergine pakora, dark sweet fritters, come with a freshly made chutney of mint, lime and coriander. Even the minced chicken seekh kebab, glistening with little nuggets of green chilli, is full of flavour although fire-breathingly hot.
Due to a technical error the menus description of my main course is nothing like whats on the plate Im a bit disappointed. What should have been marinated cod turns out to be cod thats been treated like the machli in the starter good, but not good enough to sustain interest for two courses in a row.
The lamb lahori karahi on the bone should have been ordered by the half kilo because by the time the bones are dealt with there isnt a huge amount of meat. However, the dish is well spiced, with cardamom pods and fresh green chillies visible throughout, a light spoonful or so of yogurt in the flavour and not too oily.
Any food disappointments? That lassi wasnt great. Cold and iced, yes, but a bit sweet and synthetic tasting, and Ive still not tasted a lassi that comes anywhere close to Bombay Blues in the city centre. But hey ho. The Village is bigger, blingier and probably even better. Or it will be when they sort out the service.