DO you like curry? That’s how the email from my friend Andrew opened. It’s not an easy yes/no question for me, however.
I love the ideaof curry, especially on these cold winter nights (despite their origins in hot countries). But I’m not crazy about burny food. Wait – allow me to rephrase: I don’t like burny food at all, preferring my meal not to physically hurt me. I do love a bit of spiciness though, and I’m definitely a fan of lots of wonderful flavours. This means a lifetime of selecting “mild” over medium, or hot, and still shovelling a forkful into my mouth and feeling utterly betrayed. It leads to all sorts of trust issues.
Andrew’s story is that, together with his buddy Will, and partner number three Ronnie Pereira, they like curry so much, they opened a Punjabi delivery service with a wicked head chef, in the Cape Town City Bowl. “If you’d like to get some friends round, we’ll send you all a selection of scented dishes off the menu for you all to taste. Just let us know when, and we’ll send a driver round with supper for four,” he offered.
And so it came to pass that I headed over to Curry Club’s website to place an order. Something else in my life which has shaped the way I feel about ordering food were all those awful hungover Sundays, phoning Mr Delivery (as Mr D used to be), which almost always ended in tears of frustration. It didn’t matter if you knew what was actually available at McDonald’s (yes, a lot has changed), if there wasn’t a code in the system, you couldn’t get it. So the technological advances that allow me to order in my own sweet time without any human interaction are a gift from the gods. You can use the phone too, if you like, and collect instead of delivery (Curry Club is based in the German Club in Roodehek Terrace)
Curry Club does lunch and dinner, and delivery is free in the City Bowl and along the Atlantic Seaboard. The process is simple, and you have various payment options. An email system tracks your order, which can be booked for the time you choose. Part of the reason I took this leap of faith is the message on the site: “Curry Club’s purpose is flavour over fire-power, dishes are served medium chilli strength to allow the taste of the herbs and spices to flow through. Request hot or mild if you desire.”
Okay then. Let’s test this.
I chose two vegetarian dishes for my friend, and benefited from a special offer of a free Sunshine Dal with every order. If I were to turn vegetarian, I would eat a lot of Indian food, even lentils; this freebie was heavenly. I picked Mr Mushroom Matar (field mushrooms and soft garden peas swirled into fenugreek-based cream curry) and Bangain Mirchi Ka Salan, an aubergine dish steeped in curry leaf, coconut and mustard seed gravy. Curries can be turned vegan simply by leaving out the cream, so everyone wins.
For me, I ordered Chicken Sagwala – “London style, cubes of chicken off the tandoori oven with a sniff of bay leaves and ginger steeped in a number one luxurious creamy cumin spinach sauce.” The website has pics of all the dishes on the menu so you know what you’re getting. The fourth dish I picked was Lucknow Lamb Kastoori, “an ancient recipe twisting the fenugreek herb and cardamom pods into a deep-scented cream sauce…unexpected flavour abounds.” I know enough to stay well away from dishes with “lightning” and “gunpowder” in their names.
All dishes come with basmati rice but you can substitute cauli rice for R25, as well as add sides like naan (gluten-free option available), sambals, papadums, chutney and such. If you have an asbestos mouth, throw in a bottle of hot sauce, why not?
The verdict: everything was delicious, and more importantly, mild; I might even take it up a notch to medium next time I order. The meat was tender, the aubergine was smoky, and my friend licked her plate, literally. “Don’t judge me!” she squealed. Portions are not huge, but enough, especially once you dish up over your rice. Chicken dishes are R135, lamb is R155, vegetarian R130, and seafood R155-R170. Delivery arrived at three minutes to the appointed time. All in all, a very positive experience, which I recommend.
PS Given Andrew and Will’s background in the DJ world, it’s no surprise and a fun touch that the order-tracking email comes with an embedded Spotify link, saying “Enjoy these laid-back Indian delights on Spotify from Mr Singh at Curry Club.”
Tel number: (021) 300 3971
Lunch: 12.30pm – 4pm (orders delivered via Mr D, Orderin and Uber Eats)
Dinner: 5pm – 10pm (Mondays – Saturdays), Curry Club drivers kick in from 5pm
Last orders at 9.30pm