To Coventry to hand over tickets for a Tindersticks gig and catch up with the eldest. We had snow, hail, rain and sun on the way to the excellent Twisted Barrel Alehouse and similar on our trek back to the other side of Coventry to Akbar’s in search of curry. And boy did we get it.
Reading Google reviews we had intended to purchase our own beer from TBA to take with us. This would have been a mistake (if we’d remembered to do it!) as Akbar’s is not a BYOB one room affair but a veritable curry palace just off the ring road and within stumbling distance of the station.
A couple of cold cobras and a brace of poppadoms arrived almost before we’d finished asking for them and then we consulted the menu. It has everything you would expect and a bit more. Lamb chops to start were good although not quite as pungently aromatic as those in Tayyab’s. But then nothing is like Tayyab’s lamb chops, which really ought to be Preserved for the Nation in some Museum of British Food. Onion bhaji was decent and then onto the main event.
A Rezalla for James and a Naga for me. The waiter did warn us that they would be hot to which we chuckled indulgently. Did he take us for hicks?! Yamma hamma, he had the last laugh! The sauce was rich, tasty and thick with generous hunks of lamb within swimming. At the first taste I recognised that this was going to be a memorable experience. I piled in a bit of rice to mitigate the heat.
For variety I scoffed down half of the sag paneer, which was very very good but only delayed the scaling of the Naga. A couple more mouthfuls and my forehead was sweaty damp and conversation confined to, ‘How’s yours?’ ‘Hot!’, ‘Good?’ ‘Yes!’ ‘Mine too’. Then I felt my eyeballs begin to sweat. ‘More Cobra, sir?’ I nodded furiously and carried on until I could take no more.
Crunchy smoky chapati helped a little and another dose of Cobra also helped to calm down the eyeball sweat enough to see the bill. After a wipe down with a hot towel it was back into the Coventry weather for a welcome dose of fresh April air before returning to London in the company of some charming West Ham fans.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).