When you think of curry, Scotland may not be the first country that comes to mind, but as long ago as 1798, under the reign of George III, curry powder was being sold from the Edinburgh grocer shop, John Caird.
In fact, Glasgow lays claim to inventing the UK’s most popular curry, chicken tikka masala, but the people of the Punjab region may have a few things to say about that.
Regardless of the origin of the orange-coloured curry, Scottish people love Indian
food, with as many as 50,000 curries being eaten each day – that’s one in every hundred people, which isn’t bad for a country a fraction of the size of the Indian subcontinent.
So it should come as no surprise that on a recent visit to Al Ain, I sought out an Indian restaurant to put to the test with my Scottish taste buds.
Located in Danat Al Ain Resort, Tanjore is somewhat understated on the outside, hidden behind a large golden door. But on the inside it’s a welcoming and relaxed place to enjoy a meal.
Subtly decorated, it’s interesting to note that the name of the restaurant is the anglicised word for Thanjavur, a town in South India famed for its unique style of painting.
The food, mirroring the restaurant’s namesake artistic style, is bold, rich and authentically South Indian, with dishes like Hyderabadi mutton biryani and chicken chettinad alongside other Indian favourites such as onion bhajiya, murgh tandoor and of course, chicken tikka masala.
The shaakahari kebab platter is full of tasty morsels including mild potato and chickpea cakes, smoky chargrilled paneer kebabs and the incredibly moreish spinach and potato patties, which go perfectly with the punchy pickle sauce on the side.
But this is just the warm-up act. The main event, koh-e-awadh, that’s a lamb rogan josh to you and me, is stunning. Falling off the bone, the tender meat is a delight, soaked in a rich tomato gravy packed with a buzz of garlic, fiery ginger, hot chilli and the aromatic spices of cardamom and clove.
Soaked up with a crisp, garlic naan and fluffy saffron rice, the curry is complex in flavour and sophisticatedly put together. It’s an absolute joy to eat with every mouthful as good as the last.
With a variety of dishes, fantastic service and a chilled atmosphere, Tanjore certainly caters to my Scottish appetite for curry.
Need to know:
- Location: Danat Al Ain Resort, Al Salam Street, Al Ain
- We say: Bursting with big beautiful flavours
- Cost: AED 170 for two
- Opening times: Tue-Sun 12.30pm-3pm and 7.30pm-11pm
- Contact: 03 704 6000, alain.danathotels.com
WORDS Colin Armstrong