I came across Rice n Spicy through the wonderful world of Twitter. They are a small company, focussing on the creation of authentic Punjab meals. All meals are made from scratch & contain no artifical ingredients or preservatives.
Partial to a good curry, I decided to venture across the city to the Clarkston Farmers Market where they have a stall on the fourth Saturday of every month. Having spoken over Twitter, I introduced myself & asked which curries they recommend.
I was advised that the slow cooked lamb curry was one of the best they have but as I’m not much of a lamb fan, I decided to pass on it. I did, however, decide to branch out & try two curries I’ve never had before – Punjab Kofta & Tarka Daal along with much anticipated Stornoway Black Pudding pakora & their namesake Spicy Rice.
On opening the packets, I noticed that the curry was a lot more fragrant & didn’t have that standard curry smell you normally find from your local takeaway. We tried the black pudding pakora first & it was divine! The black pudding was soft yet somehow still in a perfectly shaped ball & went well with the additional spices in the pakora batter. Al questioned how they managed to get the black pudding to stay in shape considering how delicate it is (Rash – one you could answer??). It came with a pakora sauce & raita. I have to say, the raita was the better of the two, very light & the taste was perfect. The pakora sauce on the other hand was very light & different from the usual pakora sauce. It was lacking a bit of a kick that you would normally expect.
The punjab kofta which is a tomato based curry with small beef meatballs was very tasty. I am not a fan of meatballs so I wasn’t sure if I would like this curry but the texture was more like lamb koftas you get at barbecues – soft & fall apart quite easily. The sauce wasn’t much to my liking as I could really taste the tomatoes (I can’t stand tomatoes!) but Al who isn’t a fan of tomatoes either couldn’t taste it & he loved it. The tarka daal was different from what I had expected. As it’s made mainly of lentils, I had expected a thick, stodgy curry. Instead this tarka daal was light & spicy yet filling. A total treat! The spicy rice was different from your bog standard pilau rice as it was mixed with peas & chickpeas & you could taste some other spices it had been mixed with. It didn’t have the big kick I was expecting giving the name but it went well with the curries.
I would definitely recommend that you check out Rice n Spicy & their range of products. They do packs for home delivery & are present at several markets during the month. If you’re a curry lover, you won’t be let down & as you can see, they are a sell out!
For our last meal out of 2012, we decided to go somewhere we hadn’t been before. As I had the choice, I opted for Central Market, a recently opened restaurant in the Merchant City of Glasgow.
We went along & were seated upstairs in the balcony area which I was quite happy with as you could see everything that was going on. It isn’t the largest of restaurants but they can easily accommodate large parties as a table of around 12 with children were next to us. A couple of nice touches Central Market has is to have their oysters on display at the front of the bar, proving that they are fresh & also having a relatively open plan kitchen, allowing you to see exactly where your food is coming from. The toilets are unisex which is quite unusual! Another mention is that a pint of Bierra Moretti is only £4, much cheaper than Italian restaurants in the city – this was a big tick for Al.
Central Market’s menu can’t really be describe as run of the mill. They offer a lot of brunch items, with a range of sandwiches for lunchtime. Their main menu has the usual items such as terrine, mussels, steak & burgers but they also offer more unusual items like sardines, steak tartare & pork shoulder steak. Part of the reason for choosing the Central Market was that they served oysters & I had been wanting them since The Grill On The Corner had run out the night we were in. For starters we opted for 6 Oysters & Sardines to share and for mains I went for the Spatchcock Poussain & Al went for the 6oz Burger.
We managed to get the last portion of sardines available & I have to say I wasn’t too sure about them when they arrived as they came whole which meant fish bones!! I have to admit, my first thoughts were soon set aside after tucking into them. They were excellent! The meat fell off the bones & any bones that were left over were big enough for you to notice them. The sardines came with a lime & chorizo oil which really complimented the fish. The lime was a good contrast. We soon tucked into the oysters which came with 3 accompaniments – tabasco (yay!), soy sauce & a red onion viniagrette type sauce. I tried all 3 & they all went very well, with only the red onion one maybe being a bit too tart for my liking.
There wasn’t a long wait between our starter & main. The spatchcock poussain was delicious! I don’t know what seasoning they had put on the chicken skin but it was slightly crunchy with a salty taste to it, really nice. It was accompanied by roast anya potatoes & a sprout salad. It tasted a bit like coleslaw as it was quite creamy but it went really well with the spatchcock & I wish they had a deli section so I could go & get a tub of it to take home!! Neither myself or Al are big tomato fans so when I noticed him tucking into the burger without taking the tomato out I asked him if he’d forgotten. He pointed to the bottom of the burger where the tomato was mushed up & he said it actually didn’t taste like a tomato, it was more of a smokey flavour. I had a taste of the burger & to me it tasted a bit like a hot dog! Not that it was unpleasant, just a bit different from the usual strong beef flavour you would expect. The french fries were also nice & crispy & not overly pre-salted.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to Central Market. I’ve since recommended it to a few people & intend on going back to try Steak Tartare for the first time!
On Friday it was one of my close friend’s 30th & I took it upon myself to sort out a surprise dinner for him. As he’s a bit of a meat lover, I decided on Grill on the Corner – a no brainer, they do the best steaks in town! I did not expect to have such a hassle to not only book the meal but also be seated at our table on the night. Booking a table for 11 was such a travesty – it took me 5 days, 5 phonecalls (despite being promised to be called back) & deposit of £10 each before it was finally confirmed.
We arrived at 8pm sharp to be greeted by the fire alarm which was going off. We had to stand at the bar area & watch whilst 3 fire engines turned up to figure out how to turn off a faulty fire alarm. 30 mins later (I kid you not!), the whining finally stopped & I was straight over asking to be seated at our table only to be told it would take another couple of minutes as they were pushing the tables together. It wasn’t until 8:45 that we were finally seated at our table!! Not only did it take ages but I had dropped off a balloon before we arrived & they had failed to put it on the table before seating us. Not exactly rocket science to put a balloon on a table!! I’ve been to the Grill a couple of times before so knew that a steak is the only way to go. We finally had our order taken after 9pm – 1 whole hour after we had originally booked the table for!
For starters, I ordered the sharing platter (salt & pepper chicken skewers, thai fishcakes, duck springrolls & calarmari) with my fiance to share. It arrived & it looked pretty appetising. One thing I loved was that the calamari came with tentacles! Never ever had that before. Overall the platter was very tasty – good calamari, the chicken skewers had a nice kick to them & the fishcakes had a nice thai flavour to them. The duck springrolls weren’t exactly to my taste & the garlic mayo wasn’t lacking in garlic flavour – my only complaints about the starter.
Now it was time for the main event! I had been looking forward to this steak since I had booked the meal. I ordered a medium sirloin with champ potatoes & a side of green beans & shallots. I’ve had the sirloin once before & it was melt in the mouth deliciousness! The steak arrived & first bite was a big disappointment – it hadn’t been seasoned!! Of all the things I would never expect from a restaurant that specialises in steak is for them to forget to put some salt & pepper on it. The cut itself was not as good as I had before but not as bad as other cuts that have been passed off as steak in other places. The champ potatoes had also been drowned in butter which took away from any taste the spring onion would have given them. One other member of the party was extremely disappointed with his rump steak which was so fatty despite being described as the leanest cut on the menu!
For the prices you pay in a restaurant like the Grill on the Corner, you expect first class service, no need to ask to make an order, an amazing steak & a card machine that works!!! However, we didn’t get this at all & my feeling is they can’t handle large parties on a Friday/Saturday night. My friend enjoyed his steak which was the main thing as it was his birthday & the reason we had gone there but I couldn’t help but mention my views to the manager. All I was told was that they were sorry & next time I come to ask for the manager & he’ll make sure that we get the best table & best service – not sure if we will be back to take them up on that offer!!