Two posts out at the weekend in the FT and Times speculate on how the Indian restaurant industry (largely run by Bangladeshis) is feeling the pinch in the face of the credit crisis. It seems a long way from 10 years ago when the late Robin Cook declared that the popularity of chicken tikka masala over fish and chips had made it the national dish. Rising prices of foodstuffs (which was big news in Bangladesh when I was there recently), tightened immigration legislation and more discerning national eating habits are all factors. Bright red tandoori chicken seems just a tad out of step with a world in which “no artificial colours and preservatives” is supposed to be a recommendation.
The latter piece includes the following which is amusing, if a bit harsh:
My parents are from that part of the world and I can tell you that my Mum has never sat me down in front of a balti or a chicken tikka masala and a pint of Cobra. These dishes were invented in Britain for a British market and perpetuate the myth that all curries are hot, greasy and cause flatulence. “Balti” actually means “bucket”, which says everything you need to know about the quality of the slop being served up.
In the meantime it’s ages since I recall any politician described as having “fire in their belly”. It was commonly said of Neil Kinnock who coincidentally had some scrapes at local curry houses in his time (mentioned in passing here). Those were the days. Can’t see a discreet dinner at the now defunt Granita having the same effect myself.