Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Standard Balti House, Brick Lane, London

Chicken Phall and Rice

Once again I needed something more substantial to sit in my belly for dinner, so tonight I went back to Brick Lane to try to finally get that spicy phall. And oh yes, it was spicy. It was basically a habanero-based curry, with that distinctive habanero taste making it a delight to eat with rice. Admittedly the burning sensation got a bit old after I finished all of the cuts of chicken inside; by that point, I might as well have just poured habanero sauce over a bowl of rice, even though this was mildly richer to give it a bit more heft. I'm definitely going to feel this tomorrow morning on the other end, if you know what I mean.

To my surprise though, not many of these shops down here were offering phall (in case you're wondering, the name of the dish apparently comes from the word "phallic" in the spirit of the masculinity required to consume this beast). After having gone from shop to shop to glance at each menu, only these Standard Balti guys (71 Brick Lane, 020-7247-5855) and Aladin had it on their menus. Other than that, pretty much all of the shops on the street seemed to be offering nearly the same stuff - and perhaps more amusingly, all of them had some sign claiming to have won some curry of the year award, not to mention trying to tout you with what seemed to be an industry standard 20% discount.

Oh - and just to settle a discussion that I was having with a few people earlier: it was no problem eating out here tonight despite it being Deepavali. It was just business as usual, most likely since these guys were technically Bangladeshi rather than Indian. Either way, this phall was unique enough that I'll come back for it, perhaps after a night of heavy drinking...or maybe I'll take it down a notch and settle for the merely "very hot" vindaloo that pretty much every shop on this street seemed to offer. Either way, I'm glad I finally got the piece of English culture that I was looking for.

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