Glasgow curry house Green Chilli Café explores pot-style home cooking
- Jay Thundercliffe
- 19 January 2011
Succinct menu is dominated by Indian tapas or small plates
For all their claim to traditional roots and authenticity, curry houses are as susceptible to trends as any restaurants. Jay Thundercliffe tried out the latest so-called innovation: home cooking
Glasgow does love a curry. Recently crowned Curry Capital of Britain for a record fourth time, the city’s passion for the spice has yielded a long and illustrious history of curry houses. What began with Green Gates and Taj Mahal in the 1950s, exploded in the 70s with Gibson Street’s Shish Mahal and Koh-i-Nor, and the Ashoka chain started by Balbir Singh Sumal. The last decade has seen new levels of sophistication, as well as back-to-basics cooking, from the likes of the Mother India group and Balbir’s latest ventures.
The Ashoka name is, of course, these days most closely associated with Sanjay Majhu’s Harlequin Group. For his newest opening, the Green Chilli Café, Sanjay has found a different way to go retro, recalling the time when he lived at home and his mum did the cooking. The restaurant offers the pot-style cooking one might expect to enjoy at an Indian home thanks to Sanjay’s mum overseeing the menu, which features dishes her family has prepared for generations.
Previously Harlequin’s Tapas International, the venue has a downstairs bar area and three distinct dining areas upstairs, all decorated in warm tones and modern furnishings. Adorning the walls are various traditional items, many behind frames, such as children’s shoes, wedding headgear and Indian instruments.
The succinct menu is dominated by Indian tapas or small plates. These include familiar appetizers such as samosas and pakora, while more substantial dishes include prawn vindaloo, chicken korma, and lamb bhoona, which transcends the average with lean, tender meat in a deeply flavoured sauce. There are rare treats too, such as machi aur chana – white fish, subtly spiced and fried till crisp, with curried chickpeas, and chicken sharabi tapas with coconut and chianti.
The ten mains are a varied mix featuring chicken saag, tandoori halibut and Goan curry, and while there are no heavy naans, the light and airy ptoora is an uncommon deep-fried delight. For those taking the tapas concept further, there is a tasting menu offering six courses.
Pro: Rare and enticing dishes thanks to Mrs Majhu
Con: Interior more museum-style than home-style
Green Chilli Café
1293 Argyle Street, Glasgow, 0141 337 6378
Food served Tue–Sun 5–10.30pm. Closed Mon.
Ave. price two-course meal £17