AFTER a few drinks to bid a fond farewell to an old colleague, my friend suggested we round off the evening with a nice meal.
Helen loves Indian food so off we went to her favourite – the Light of Bengal.
From the moment we stepped in, we were made to feel welcome.
Our friendly waiter Ali introduced himself as he escorted us to our seats.
It’s been a fair few years since my last visit to the restaurant – which claims to be “Aberdeen’s favourite” Indian dining place. But would it be mine?
A very quick scan of the impressive menu had me all at sixes and sevens. So much to choose from for someone whose only three previous Indian dishes of choice have been korma, bhuna and latterly, prawn vindaloo!
Helen suggested we forego a starter and instead share some popadums and pickles.
We settled in and ordered a bottle of Pinot Grigio, then went back to perusing the menu.
I felt adventurous and – after a quick chat with Ali – I opted for the Shagorana king prawns – guaranteed to keep the vampires at bay. In a nutshell, “affa garlicky”.
Helen opted for one of her old favourites tandoori king prawn.
And she was right about the popadums and pickles being enough for us both. We happily tucked in to the five large portions which were accompanied by spiced onions, special onion salad, mango chutney and lime pickle.
Once our plates were removed, a charming well-suited gent stopped by our table to say hello.
He revealed he has been at the helm since the restaurant opened in 1978 – the same year Helen and I both started secondary school.
Our main courses arrived, and I swear I could smell my dish from the other end of the room, such was the delicious aroma of the garlic. The portion was extremely generous, I thought, and the prawns were fat and succulent, swimming in a thick, tomato and onion sauce you could easily stand a spoon in. Going all out on the garlic overload, I was pleased to see the garlic naan I ordered was crispy as opposed to stodgy. It was simply divine dipped in the tomato sauce.
Helen’s tandoori king prawn dish – one of the restaurant’s most popular – was succulent and had a lovely, creamy, almond flavour. She happily tucked in, and judging by her empty plate, she was a happy customer too.
We had no room for dessert, but we sat back and started to fondly reminisce about 1978.
Happy memories, indeed.
As we said cheerio to the waiters, we both agreed there is little doubt the Light of Bengal will continue to be Aberdeen’s favourite Indian restaurant for another 34 years.