It was a sad year last year for four time winners Glasgow, after Bradford and their beast of a Bahji proved too much to compete with, pushing them to second place position.
This year things are heating up, and Glasgow is ready to do whatever it takes to regain the title. Will there be a giant Dhal swimming pool? A naan frisbee competition? So many questions!
We interviewed Lord Provost Sadie Docherty from Glasgow City Council – themselves winners of the hungryhouse Scottish Curry Awards for “Curry Lover of the Year” – to hear about Glasgow’s bid.
‘There’s a Drive to Win Here’- Restaurants Smell Success
KoolBa Restaurant has represented Glasgow in the Curry Capital of Britain Awards three times in a row, and they’re confident 2012 will see the city winning for the fifth time, proving that Glasgow truly is the number one city for curry. Owner Fattah Haddad spoke to hungryhouse about his restaurant’s dedication to serving the community, and their plans for curry domination.
What will winning back the Curry Capital of Britain title mean for Glasgow, and the Indian restaurants of the city?
I think it will mean a lot to the city. Glasgow really has adopted Indian cuisine as its own and a love for curry is deeply ingrained in the people. We missed out on winning last year so we’ve got a desire to bring it back to the city in 2012. If we do win it will help show that Glasgow is the greatest curry capital in Britain since we will be the only city to win five times. It really is exciting and winning it this year will only help to boost the reputation of the Indian restaurants in the city.
Why does Glasgow deserve to win?
Glasgow discovered Tikka Masala – one of the most popular Indian dishes the world over. We know what we are doing when it comes to keeping the cuisine fresh and innovative. Plus Glasgow is full of curry connoisseurs and it always feels like everyone in the city gets behind us during these awards.
What will you be doing for your Curry Capital bid?
We’ll continue making some pretty good curry and are planning to do a charity night that we will release further details on soon via our social media channels and our newsletter.
You have represented Glasgow in the Curry Capital of Britain Awards in the past, what has that involved?
It’s always an honour to be chosen to represent the city. We are the only restaurant to represent Glasgow three years in a row. We are work very closely with Glasgow City council to preparer & design the city profile by taking images of the food, the restaurant and also by interviewing the staff, the management and as I mentioned previously, the charity event. It’s really all go! There’s a drive to win here, a real buzz.
As a representing restaurant you will be judged on a number of things – standard of food, service, hygiene, cleanliness and how you serve the community. How does KoolBa’s serve the community of Glasgow?
We have been serving the community of Glasgow and beyond since 2003 which we are very proud of. We have also won a Visit Scotland Sliver award for the last three years running which shows we go that extra mile in our service to Glasgow. Our ethos is on traditional cooking methods, everything made to order, the freshest and often best ingredients, the friendliest and professional service, not to mention carefully sourced wines to go with the food. We wholeheartedly believe in quality.
Does KoolBa’s have a signature style/ what makes you unique?
We like to think there are many things that make us unique but in particular our attention to quality and detail. We combine the Best Indian together with best Grill, beer from the world over (from Tasmania to Munich to Arran to Buenos Aires) and hand pick boutique wines to match our indian cuisine (where matching is very, very hard, but we strove to make it possible) all in all in beautiful surrounding of real stone walls and Scottish oak furniture.
What will you be doing to celebrate if Glasgow wins Curry Capital?
We hope to do a big charity event with the other restaurants representing Glasgow and of course have ourselves a curry!
Glasgow Curry Quote
It’s got to be Glasgow.
Hot to Cold, Thick to Thin
Never mind the weather as long as we’re together.
There is a curry and a curry experience at every street corner in Glasgow.
Curry Capital Award Winners in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2010
Yes Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and third most populated in the UK, but what else has the four time Curry Capital winning city have in its closet, apart from spices.
The oldest international football stadium in the world is located at Hampton Park, dating back to October 1903 – although there’s not much left that resembles the original structure today. It was also the largest in the world until the Maracana was built in Rio in 1950.
The first ever international football watch was also played in Glasgow, between Scotland and England in 1872. As this pre-dated the Hampton Park football stadium, the match was played at West of Scotland’s Cricket Club’s ground in Patrick.
4,000 spectators turned out for a 0-0 draw… seems like not much has changed in the world of football.
Music and funny men
One of the world’s most famous comedians, Billy Connolly is from Glasgow. When asked by the BBC about the big steel mural of himself which was unveiled in Anderson last year, he had some very lovely things to say about his hometown.
“I consider myself a citizen of the world, but I was born and raised in Glasgow – it is where my first children were born – where I learnt to play the banjo – where I served my apprenticeship as a welder, and where I first performed in public.
“My heart beats to the rhythm of Glasgow – it is in my blood.”
A number of musicians also started tuning their talents in the Scottish city – ACDC guitarist Angus Young, 80s alternative rockers Primal Scream, and more recently Mogwai and Franz Ferdinand all came out of Glasgow.
Cooking up controversy
As we mentioned in our curry city map (link to infographic) Britain’s favourite curry, Chicken Tikka Masala was ‘invented’ in Glasgow.
This is a slightly controversial claim, as Chicken Tikka has existed for centuries, but when the dish rose to popularity in the UK in the 50s, thanks to the influx of Indian migrants, there was a desire for an extra component. The sauce! Thus making the dish the Chicken Tikka Masala so commonly made today.
Many restaurants in Glasgow claim the sauce was their creation, but as there was so many variations which evolved over time, it’s hard to pinpoint who was responsible for the offshoot dish.