I look forward to an Indian meal more than I do Saturday, Christmas and the start of the football season combined. The wind up to it starts at about 1pm on Saturday afternoon after I get back from the shops and tell Mandy that I’m having a starter, probably Sheek kebab. Then I spend the rest of the afternoon deciding whether I’m going to have a Vindaloo or not, which I rarely do because I’ll change my mind at the precise moment the waiter looks up from his pad, Biro poised.
At around 5pm I’m pacing around the flat urging Mand to hurry with the makeup. During the football season this part of the day is even better because the results are on the TV and I’m walking around with a can of lager pretending to be a Man City fan. Great.
As we walk towards East Dulwich I can see the restaurant sign shining through the trees from a quarter of a mile away. Mirash Tandoori, in red an blue neon. Finally, at last, like Clark Griswald reaching Wally World, I’m actually there. But not quite, to prolong the experience a bit longer we’ll go for a few drinks in The Black Cherry where they serve cocktails and Austrian lager.
And so to the Mirash, greeted at the door like a friend, seated, the wine glasses removed without asking. And as the pints of chilled Cobra are placed on the stiff white tablecloth, Mand looks at me over the menu, smiles and looks back down again. “Am I allowed a starter?”