Mark Daniels: Leave the Papadums to the experts

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Related tags: Indian cuisine

I love a good curry. If I get the chance to have a night out, and friends say where shall we go tonight, I'll undoubtedly cry "Newmarket Indian...

I love a good curry. If I get the chance to have a night out, and friends say where shall we go tonight, I'll undoubtedly cry "Newmarket Indian Cuisine!" (my favouritest Indian restaurant, I must confess).

More often than not, though, we'll end up in a pub somewhere and it can't have escaped anybody's attention that pubs have cottoned on to the idea of curry nights in recent years.

*Wednesday Night is Curry Night* they'll cry on giant posters and blackboards. Get a pint and a curry, with naan bread and papadums and some onion relish, for a ridiculously cheap amount of money.

Sounds tempting, doesn't it? And why not? Curries are great. My wife makes a splendid Tikka Massala for me quite regularly - and then she ruins it by accompanying it with a papadum and some naan bread.

And this seems to be the trait whenever you go to a pub for a 'curry'. In fact, I'm put off having curries in pubs because, whilst the cook undoubtedly puts together a lovely Dhansak, I have yet to visit any establishment that isn't an Indian restaurant that can serve me up a curry without using a Tesco Value microwave papadum and some mango chutney in a paper cup.

I was contemplating this a couple of weeks ago as my life flashed before my eyes while I choked on a piece of naan that had all the consistency and flavour of the hay in my children's rabbit hutch.

Indian restaurants can make beautiful naan breads and papadums that are crisp and flavoursome and come with onion relish and mango chutney and that rather violent red stuff that looks like it was scraped from the surface of Mars, all nicely presented in little chrome dishes that never quite hold enough for a table of four.

Pubs can't.

It's not that long ago we were complaining that all the pubs closing down were being turned in to Indian restaurants and branches of Tesco Metro, and now there isn't a pub you can go into where they don't offer a curry with a supermarket naan bread microwaved within an inch of its very existence.

We should stick to what we do best: steak & chips and scampi & chips, carveries and home-cooked Sunday lunches. And we should leave the papadums to those who know how to make them.

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