Garden of Gulab
Sector: 130-134 Wokingham Road
Stardate: Friday 19 October 2001 (Second encounter)
Event: Starship curry supplies running dangerously low
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We were forced to make an unscheduled landing here, and feared the
worst when we discovered that the planet had been taken over by Miah's Empire sometime in the 1.5
earth years since our last mission
here. Fortunately the indigenous culture was still intact, and in
addition to the cuisine that we had all enjoyed last time, there were
a multitude of new and exotic-sounding dishes to wave our tricorders
Please bring back your old CD|
Decor: Dubous "Golden sands" yellow and "David Icke" turquoise
colour scheme. Subtle lighting provided by "art deco" lamps, but
let down a little by Granny's curtains.
Music: Dismal. We were exposed to the full gamut of bad
curry-house music. First there were a few pseudo-nostalgic "Clayderman
plays sitar" numbers, followed by what sounded like electronic pan
pipes. The next one was so awful we actually inquired its name -
apparently we had been enduring "Indian tunes on piano". The final
insult was an Indian version of Wham's "Last Christmas". At least it
wasn't very loud.
- Real flowers on the table.
Time to get served: 20 minutes.
Favourite menu description: "Expertly scooped potato barrels
packed with royal cumin-spiced milkcake, paneer and fresh pomegranate
seeds. Then soaked overnight in rosewater and bathed in yoghurt and
saffron gravy" (on "Miah's Aloo Ka Qorma"). I just had to have it.
- Extremely friendly waiters. Regular members of the away team were
recognised and welcomed.
- The new-look menu is split into the "Traditional Menu" with all
the old Gulab dishes and specials, and the "Contemporary Menu"
containing a generous selection of new items, all with mouth-watering
descriptions - what they're serving in Delhi apparently.
- Delay to get extra water.
Popadums and Chutneys: Crispy. Great choice of six different
Lime pickle: "Strong and tasty".
Onion bagees (£1.95): "Flavoursome and delicious" - crispy edge
goes all the way to the middle.
MAIN COURSES ||Some
very interesting new dishes in the Contemporary Menu|
Maih's Aloo Ka Qorma (£5.95): "Linda McCartney sausages in a
korma sauce" (Hogan).
Khas Murgh Khajana (£6.95): "Escalopes of chicken" - a mild
sauce, but "really really nice" (Osbourne).
Lazzate-Omar (£5.95): Somewhat mild korma sauce, but "hard bits
Dorbare-Subzee Bahar (£6.95): "Exceptional! But tastes like
Christmas pudding" (Pocock). Comes with two separate sauces, but both
citrus tasting. Also, food is served in a rather unstable vessel
heated by a candle - "totally unsuitable for a drunk person".
Vegetable Kofta Malai (£6.50): "Great balls of curry" (Dixon).
Chicken Madras (£4.95): "Fairly gentle, weak even"
(Woollings). Seemed like a whole chicken.
- Garlic naan was very doughy, but equally garlicy. "Not as good as
it used to be" (Johnson).
- Kingfisher on tap, £2.70 a pint.
- Numbering of dishes - evidence of the influence of the Borg?
- Challinor preferred the Khukuri.
||Sweets with bill
|| Too drunk to remember
- The french brandy coffee was topped with cold cream that was
difficult to penetrate, but it tasted slurptastically delicious when
homogenised, much to the disgust of Challinor: "Robin is evil".
- Women get a rose at the end of the meal.
- "Kleenex hot towels" (Dixon).
- Mints with the bill, plus aniseed "droppings".
Our previous away mission to the Garden of
Gulab, was so good that it resulted in the awarding of the
prestigious 5-Cobra Ring Stinger award. A number of reconnaissance
missions since then have reported back that conditions had
deteriorated somewhat, and were confirmed on this mission, particularly in
regard to the awful music. However, the exotic new dishes on the
Contemporary Menu (8 new starters and 11 new main courses) were a
unusual and enjoyable, although in the most part they were a little
too mild. We look forward to follow-up missions in which more of them
can be sampled. The scores of the individual away team members ranged
between 3.5 and 5, and the consensus rating was 4 Cobras: