Strange Times At The India Club
Posted 05 March 2002 - 03:50 AM
For those of you who donít know it The India club is the former canteen for the workers at the Indian Embassy and for the last 70 years has been offering authentic ( whatever the hell that means ) Indian food to an eclectic mix of students, lecturers, embassy workers and business people. I first discovered it when I was at King's College next door. The food was better and a good deal cheaper than the school refectory. I suspect that is still the case.
Accessed via the entrance of a rather grubby hotel called The Strand Continental on the south side of The Aldwych, the "Club" is actually a members club but you donít need to join nor pay a fee. I am not sure how that makes it a club but it does boast a bar which has not been decorated since Ghandi was a nipper and serves imported Cobra beer in impossibly large bottles.
The room is a perfect example of school dining room chic c1950 and like the bar, probably last saw a lick of paint by way of celebration of Indian independence in 1948. There was much outcry in 1987 when the plastic stackable chairs gave way to a job lot of Velour covered chairs which had been rescued from a village hall.
Like the decoration, the food hasnít really changed since it opened. It does some things very well ( Dosai, Chicken Do Piaza, Bhunaís) it does some things perfectly OK ( Dry Vegetable Curry, Dhals , Chapathi ) it does other things appallingly badly ( Nan bread ) but you know what you get when you walk in the door. A meal for two will set you back a paltry £30 and you will have tasted food which has a damn sight more to do with India than the slop at your local curry house
The real fun of The India Club is the service, always amiably chaotic, it excelled it self last night as the waiters (all of whom have been there for as long as I can remember ) struggled to get to grips with their new hand held electronic ordering pads , just like the ones they have in Rules. Now to understand the full meaning of such a change, an electronic ordering system at The India Club is like putting the rocket from an Apollo space shuttle in an Austin Maestro. It is like getting Sinatra to overdub Popstar, Willís first single, it is like the Gods giving man fire. Who knows what damage it will do.
We spent a good 20 minutes as the hapless waiter struggled with the thing. At other tables regulars and waiters alike were staring at these devices as if they were straight out of Star Trek, which indeed they might have been. In the cash office, the owner sat happily in front of the computer screen that received all the orders totally oblivious to the chaos around him.
In the end we got our food and it was what it always is, good and cheap, but it does go to prove that time waits for no man. Not even The India Club
Strange times indeed.
Posted 05 March 2002 - 04:37 AM
good curry, noodles, garlic chicken for under a fiver. i heard rumours the place was still running; shall have to check it out sometime...
Posted 05 March 2002 - 08:53 AM
Posted 05 March 2002 - 10:02 AM
Posted 05 March 2002 - 10:06 AM
"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.
"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."
Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM
Posted 05 March 2002 - 12:09 PM
Posted 06 March 2002 - 01:16 AM