Restaurants & Bars 3

85% of the u.k. "indian" restaurants are bangladeshi - now what?

howler | Aug 16, 200203:15 PM

this figure is from my morning financial times. actually, i bet the figure is in the high nineties from my own experience. the ft's figures are for the members of the bangladeshi catering association; there must certainly plenty of bangladeshi restaurants who aren't members of this august association.

if it weren't so endemic it would be comical - imagine if 85% of the 'french haute cuisine' restaurants in london were being run by hungarians to get a sense of how ridiculous the situation is.

so allright, what do you do when you get a craving for the good stuff, the right stuff, the soul satisfying stuff? keep hunting for the missing few percent, thats what. they'll be in relatively out of the way places like southall; given distances in london, and the sheer hassle involved getting there, it'll have to be on weekends with the family co-operating. but i'll explore those areas with more diligence and report back here - in september, as i'm headed stateswards for a much needed two week break. i've been discouraged as i haven't found anything sensational yet - for eg. chetana (the gujarathi thali place) is just o.k. and not really worth the trek.

the real problem is, of course, the kway tiow issue: the british are so used to the execrable bangla stuff that a 'real' restaurant risks alienating a sizeable potential british audience. but the paradigm can be beaten, albeit at the high end of the range: witness bombay brasserie, for example. there are a couple i should mention that dare to be different, are not all that expensive and seem to be thrive anyway: cafe spice namaste and parsi.

and heres a tip for you londoners: cafe spice is on the room service menu, so for a miserable five pounds they'll deliver from cafe spice to your house. get the mutton dhansaak, the daal, and the potato (alu) bhaji - its almost bombay quality and very much worth it.

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