We had lunch at the XL Hotel in Fort Kochi yesterday. Don ordered butter chicken, I ordered a local dish – nadan chicken. Don had two beers, I had a Pepsi. We chatted about our morning exploring Mattancherry.
Then our meals arrived, and the conversation somehow became completely one-sided.
“Oh,” Don moaned when he tasted his dish. “Oh, this is good.”
“The flavour!” he exclaimed before I could speak. “It’s like it’s just that little bit more. A little bit over. It just goes over. You know what I’m trying to say?”
I opened my mouth to answer but apparently it wasn’t an actual question.
“Oh my,” he continued, “oh wow. I mean, you think you’re having lime pickle, but no, THIS is lime pickle. And THIS is butter chicken. It just is the thing. The real thing. THIS is butter chicken.”
I nodded. Yes, this was indeed butter chicken.
“So good. Is this the best meal we’ve ever had? It could be the best. I think it’s the best. This is the best butter chicken I’ve ever had,” he went on as he dipped his parathas into my curry. “Oh my God, yours is amazing too!”
He sat chewing, deep in thought, lost in contemplation of the amazing flavour that was my lunch. “So good,” he repeated, then back to his own.
He continued talking and groaning and working his way through the food in front of him until he finally leant back in his seat.
I opened my mouth to speak.
“No, no, I’m not finished yet,” he lurched back up, “I can fit more in. Wait,” he said to nobody in particular, and started scooping more rice onto his plate.
“We don’t cook rice like this. Do we?” he asked. “Do we cook rice the wrong way? We need to learn how to cook rice like this. I don’t even like rice. The carrots, the carrots in this rice are amazing!”
“Oh my God, that was so good. Ok, that’s it, I’m officially done,” he finally said, pushing his plate away and picking up the last scrap of parathas and dipping it again into the remains of my curry. “Except for this. Hey, are you going to finish that?” he asked, reaching for one of my chicken bones.
Finally he truly was finished.
“Well, that was one of the finest meals I’ve had in my entire life. Can you take a photo? No, no,” he waved me down and pulled his phone out, “I’ll take a photo. That was magnificent.”
He snapped a quick pic, then reviewed his work.
“You bet your arse that’s a good photo,” he was now definitely just talking to himself. “This will remind me how good that meal was.”
Yep, that plus this blog post.