BY NOW I should have gathered enough life experience to know the elementary pitfalls of making the most of a rare night out on the town.
On page one of the guide to planning going on the lash, rule one should say: “Do not eat a curry early doors.”
The reason is simple, a good Indian feast should leave you full to groaning and looking for the first train home.
Well, when Mrs B and I hit the mean streets of Aberdeen we managed to resist for a couple of beers, but then the siren call of spice overcame us.
Cue a walk up to Light Of Bengal, a spot we haven’t visited in the longest time, certainly not since it came top dog in the city in Aberdeen’s Best Curry Awards.
It has had a facelift since last we visited, all very cool, dark and mysterious these days.
The one thing that hadn’t changed is the friendly service.
We were ushered straight to a table, offered drinks and popadums even before a menu and then looked after superbly well.
We particularly liked waiter’s cheeky chappy banter as he offered to steer us around the menu.
We declined, though, because we knew where we were heading.
On the starters front, Mrs B and I were in synch on choosing the functional sounding non-vegetarian platter.
For a dish with such a bland name, it offered a massive flavour punch with it’s melange of sheek kebab, chicken kebab, lamb tikka, chicken tikka and tandoori king prawn.
This was a beautifully presented dish – starters as haute cuisine – as easy on the eye as it was on the palate.
The various kebabs served up a zing for the tastebuds, leaving the tough decision as to which morsel to savour last.
The only downside was the king prawn tending to the tougher side of the spectrum – and I had two of them, as Mrs B is no fan of seafood.
Our dishes were whisked away and we had time to chat, look around and generally be impressed at the way the place was filling up on a Thursday night.
A groaning trolley of food heralded the arrival of our main courses, placed on our table with a flourish.
With the bar set high by the starters, we were looking forward to what we were about to received.
Only problem was, Mrs B’s choice was less of an oh wow, more of an okay.
She had opted for the chicken Rajahstani bhoona, drawn by the billing of an exquisite taste made with spinach, ginger, spring onions, fresh coriander and garlic.
That should have been a riot of flavour, but the overall effect was to deliver an earthy first note, a big ginger hit and an afterburn of chilli, but all of it muted by a heavy hand with the salt in the kitchen.
Not to say that this was a bad dish, it just wasn’t terrific.
However, on the good news front, my jafloni mirchi was simply superb.
This is one of those mixed meat dishes with a bit of chicken, lamb and king prawn. It’s the kind of thing I normally avoid because I prefer a singular theme to my dish.
But the prospect of all that with some pepper, onion “special spices” – whatever they might be – and a garlic and ginger sauce was too tempting.
This was a warming dish, that was both sweet and tangy.
I could have stood more of an oomph on the heat factor, but it was still a treat that had me “mmmm-ing” till the last mouthful was mopped up with the last morsel of pilau rice and scrap of garlic naan.
Eating done, it was time to carry on with our night on the tiles in the big city. Yeah, that’s right.
We got the first train home.