Old Fire Station Bar: Brentford

Old.

That is perhaps the keyword.

But then that would be an insult to all things old.

They do not know how to make a Vodka Martini (which I tasted, but did not have) and they definitely did not know how to make a Bloody Mary. They have this “special” horseradish flavour in a Bloody Mary that they make.

Side Note: Talking about a restaurant or a bar is always difficult and unfair really, because a lot of it boils down to personal taste. I know of a person who met his current girlfriend teaching a bartender (at some other bar) how to mix the perfect Vodka Martini. Was it the perfect Martini? Or was it to their taste?

In any case, I will pass the Old Fire Station at Brentford, for a Bloody Mary — definitely. The mix was watery to say the least and the horseradish taste was a big mystery that was to be solved till you finished the drink. And I didn’t find any clinical evidence of horseradish till the impoverished ice cubes made clinking sounds in the glass. You may agree, that the horseradish taste is one that is not easily missed.

I was hoping to give the link to the website for this award-winning bar (not the drinks – just the bar team), if you still wanted to check it out. In recent times, I have come to dislike people who do not design web sites for the Mac and its browsers. If you feel compelled, visit http://www.the-firestation.co.uk/

And, no, after just one round, when we left, the “award-winning-team” didn’t quite bother to check out why we left with such a sour taste in our mouth.

The pub nearby is a better alternative, if not for anything, then the friendly atmosphere.

Pesarettu Pilgrimage

Salaam, Namaste!

No, not the same as mushy-peas-like movie but a small corner eatery in Southall in West London. I am intrigued that a movie title can inspire a restaurant’s name. Especially a movie like this one. Yes, the banner imitates the colours and all.

It’s Friday evening, and a friend who we haven’t seen for nearly a year calls, “What are you up to tomorrow?” I’d have liked to say I was busy making millions, but then I believe in work-life balance, so I said, “Not much, why?”

“You want to have Indian Chinese tomorrow?”

“Sounds good.” I hate Chinese. The food, I mean. Better half loves it, which works for me, because I can always make her eat half of whatever I eat. So she eats one and a half and I eat half. Better. Better half.

“Southall, Salaam Namaste, how about lunch there, tomorrow?”

“Sounds good.”

“Oneish.”

“Will be there.”

I realised after I had put down the phone that, other than the fact that I knew that I was to go to place in Southall tomorrow, called Salaam Namaste, which was a ten-minute walk from Southall station, I had no idea what I had agreed too. But nowadays, I don’t hyper-tense myself with such things. As long as my Internet connection is working, i.e. Google. “Salaam Namste Southall”

God comes before Google. Even in a dictionary.

The place we are supposed to go to is a Hyderabadi joint! I reaffirm my faith and tell him that I do believe, when I said I didn’t, those were the usual tiffs, you know… No hard feelings, believe me.

Armed with the knowledge that I don’t necessarily have to eat Indian Chinese or British Chinese or any Chinese for that matter, we happily changed two buses and got there in good time, thanks to Google Maps UK. (The post code system used in the UK is one legacy, I wish they had left behind in our districts)

I haven’t had pesarettu for about 15-odd years.

Imagine my eyes were salivating (oh, come on you get the idea) when I see the laminated menu, like a typical Udipi in Mumbai:

Veg, This
Veg. That
Veg Something
Veg. Salaam
Veg. Namaste.

And then the next Section:

Non-Veg This
Non-Veg. That
Non-Veg Something
Non-Veg. Salaam
Non-Veg. Namaste.

A Vision of India!

And while my friends are going though the Chilly Chicken section, I spot Pesaretu. God exists in Southall, apart from Hyderabad, i.e.. I’ll leave it to your fertile imagination, our orders for the day. Lest, you have runaway imagination, suffice it to say I did eat Egg Fried Rice with Chicken Schezwan.

Small place, but Salaam | Namaste is full of love and good food, appealing to the salt and spice sensitive tastes that most of us have.

If you aren’t a snob for the ambience and décor of a place, this is true-blue Indian food! Even, Indian Chinese, just like the Chinese-impersonating-Nepali-cooking-Indian-Chinese-food-on-a-“thela” in Mumbai.

The Idli is fab and the Pesarettu was blessed by Himself.