Of all my friends in London, Lisa reminds me the most of the mates that I have left behind in Bombay owing to the stimulating ‘intellectual’ conversations that we always have when we meet for dinner. Try this: when we met at the Indian Orchid, North Finchley for dinner this week we discussed – reviews of Lisa’s poetry book, Bloodhound; our middle-aged ailments; my academic ambitions; our middle-aged ailments; our views on the “little Miss Geek” project; our middle-aged ailments; our views on how girls of a certain age are dumbing down to meet media expectations of blonde, skinny, beautiful… and thick; our mid… (what? this is intellectual, we are becoming very familiar with medical terminology) . Lisa’s got a great sense of humour and is responsible for the soft-focus, OK slightly blurred, photograph above. I won’t tell you what was happening when the photo was taken as I want you to believe that Lisa and I are very intellectual.
Anyhoo – the restaurant of choice this time was Indian Orchid, North Finchley – a hardcore Indian restaurant complete with bleak pictures of scary scenery and a voluptuous marble sculpture of a semi-nude lady namasteing us at the entrance. The waitress was very very friendly – leading Lisa to believe that I was now famous as the biryani babe and my picture was being circulated to all self-respecting Indian restaurants . Not. The waitress had attached herself to us to escape from two raucous, demanding Indian families on the other tables.
She foisted some free papad on us (always a good sign) and approved of our order: Tandoori Tilapia fish, chicken biryani, Tadka Dal and Bhindi (okra) bhaji with butter naan. The food was delicious especially the tandoori Tilapia and the biryani was not bad at all. It was slightly on the dryish side but was accompanied by a mint raita which complemented it perfectly. In short, perfect food for our animated discussions – we probably overstayed our welcome a bit as the owner thanked the departing raucous Indian families for their custom a bit too loudly possibly trying to tell us that it was time to go home to bed.
Here is how the biryani scored on the biryanometer:
Rice grain separation – 5/5
Meat/veg harmony –4/5 – the chicken pieces were very tender but lacking a bit in masala
Spice blend perfection – 4/5 – Good!
Potatoes – No!
Fried Onion Finish – Nice
Wet/Dry Index – A bit on the dry side but the accompanying raita alleviated that.
Overall – 4/5
So quite good and we took loads of left overs home. The son gobbled the biryani the next evening and pronounced it delicious.
Like all objective Indian mothers I believe in the maxim, if my son likes it, it must be good. So go to Indian Orchid and enjoy.