Last night I went to the Indian/Scottish fusion event that was Mr Singh’s and Arisaig’s evening at the Glasgow Food Festival described as a Scottish/Indian feast on Arisaig’s website. It was my mother that first talked to me about this event because she really wanted to go, but, alas, she lives in England so couldn’t. I looked at the menu, which seemed lovely, so I put a shout out to see if anyone fancied it and even though it was a school night a few were up for it! This is my second trip to the Glasgow Food Festival this year, as I went to one of the secret dining days with my parents at the end of March (see my blog entry on Section 33 for a review). Again the ticket for the evening was £5 with an extra 50p booking fee, for this you got a welcome drink.
We sat down at our table in the lovely Spiegeltent, which was even more atmospheric with it being dark outside. The waitress soon came over and offered us all our welcome drink. The drinks menu was the same as the last time I visited but the welcome cocktail was a different one from the menu the Glasgow pomme grenade (gin, pomegranate, peach iced tea, bitters, citrus). Much nicer than the two I tried last time as it was sweeter which is more to my taste. It tasted like sherbet. Yummy!
We perused the menu while we slurped on our cocktails. It was a fixed price, £15 for two courses. We all liked the sound of lots of things so we decided to all get something different so we could have a taste of a bit more, although I’m not quite sure Luke was quite in to that idea. For anyone who ever watched Gavin and Stacey I think he is a bit of a Smithy/Nessa when it comes to sharing food. He did though.
A bowl of popadoms and spiced rhubarb and apple chutney arrived, the popadoms themselves were, well, popadoms and nice. The chutney was ok, but it was a little bland. I don’t know if I was just expecting something awesome to start off a meal that I was really excited about and had my expectations too high? Regardless is was demolished within a minute of arriving at the table. We eagerly awaited our starters.
In no particular order we had the scallop and prawn samosa with cheese and chilli dip (by Arisaig). We all commented on the pastry case. It was incredibly crisp, yet not at all greasy. The prawns and scallops inside were beautifully cooked and almost creamy and the sauce was cheesy but light with a hint of spice that went well with the delicate samosa filling. Lovely little starter.
The haggis pakora (Mr Singh’s) was crisp and tangy and tart with a nice level of heat. I loved biting through the crisp shell to get to the creamy haggis inside. We all liked them.
The vegetarian haggis and paneer tart with Arran mustard cream (Arisaig) was a cold tart and a little disappointing compared to the other starters. It just wasn’t as flavoursome. Although the mustard cream was really good. I think it might have been that I had a taste of this right after the haggis pakora which packed a punch and so I couldn’t really taste the tart.
My favourite starter was the chicken chaat with a whisky glaze (Arisaig). Although I can’t say that it tasted like any chicken chaat I have ever tasted. It was delicious, but tasted more like whisky bbq chicken as the glaze was a smokey, sticky sweet covering to the chicken with a slight kick of heat in the aftertaste.
We quickly scoffed the lot and sat for a while discussing pop culture, work, the world and after a while one of the waiters came over to apologise for the delay in the mains. To be honest we didn’t even notice it had been a wait. Too busy enjoying the company.
The mains arrived and there was definitely a difference in presentation between the Arisaig dishes and the Mr Singh’s dishes we ordered with the Arisaig dishes being much more attractive visually. On another note the menu said that all mains were served with rice and a naan bread but the Arisaig dishes lacked a naan and in the case of the Salmon dish not even rice.
The chicken chasni (Mr Singh’s) was probably my least favourite, although Luke liked it the best. Hailed as the new Chicken Tikka as it is apparently the most popular curry order in Scotland, this is a creamy mild dish with a slight tang. It reminded me of the really mild curry sauce you got a the chippy back home in Cheshire that we used to call the “baby food” curry when I was a teenager as that was the look and the texture of it. Although the baby food chip shop curry was spicier. I can understand though that if you are not in to spicy food this would be your choice. But also if you don’t like any heat at all why go for a curry??
The lamb Ambala (Mr Singh’s) was a different kettle of fish. The sauce was rich and thick and fragrant yet still had some freshness from a taste of tomato with a decent hit of heat from the spice. The lamb was succulent and went down a treat.
The crispy pork (Arisaig) was probably the hottest dish in terms of spice, but it also had some interesting flavours with its tangy tamarind sauce tasting almost like a spicy Chinese dish. I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it or not.
Last but by no means least was the tandoori salmon with crab bon bons (Arisaig). Iain and I both rated this as the nicest. I love tandoori spices. I think it makes everything taste amazing. A little heat with a LOT of flavour and a bit of tartness. A delicious coating to the moist creamy salmon and the crab bon bons were an added crispy bonus on the side. Wonderful.
I think the lack of rice with the last dish was due to the bon bons but I think the menu should have been more accurate. I also thought that the mains by Mr Singh lacked an element of fusion. I was maybe expecting something more innovative. The most disappointing thing was that there was no pudding option. Not that I was still hungry, but my second pudding stomach was itching to be filled. I really, really want to try dinner at Arisaig at some point soon. Shame I have so much work to do in the next few weeks I am going to have to pretty much hibernate. Another shame is that I am going to have to miss out on the festival night put on by 111 by Nico this coming Monday. Gutted as I still haven’t managed to get there to eat and his food looks amazing, but alas I have to work that evening. Stupid shifts!
Thanks for reading!
Feel free to follow me on twitter: @_foodie_uk, Facebook: facebook.com/UKFoodie or on Instagram via the link below