Many years ago, when one of our numbers was to emigrate with his entire family to Malaysia, he threw a huge three course dinner at his home in East London. He and his wife worked very hard to buy this house and then many months working to renovate it from its initial state. Now they were going to say goodbye to a house they had made a beautiful home for themselves and their children. So Richie gets to work in the kitchen. All I can say, was that you had to be there. It had such an impact that meal, the gathering of brothers, the banter, jokes and laughs, that it was decided that every Friday night would be a boys night out for a munch; even after Richie had left the country. Of course, the easiest thing to do was just to go out and eat rather than try and attempt to cook up something to share with one another.
A year or so went by, by which time we had tried a variety of restaurants, spent many nights at the famous Snooker & Pool Club in Manor Park, late night desert outlets, until finally we remained with the tried and tested, always decent Karahi. Lamb Lahori Karahi being the favourite. Out of all the not so many establishments, we again began to narrow our choice to one restaurant on Romford Road, that provided regularly okay Karahi. Now, Karahi is not cheap. It would usually be upwards of £10 per person. Also, being spent enough time now at these establishments, we got to assess over time the cleanliness and general quality of food that we were paying for. One of our numbers, Bugsy Mian, decided he could do better. In fact, he could.
So one of these Friday nights, straight after the fasting month of Ramadan, it was decided that we would eat in and try out his Karahi. Did he serve us well. We had three different dishes to try out. Though it cost us £10 per person, as he didn’t go cheap on ingredients, it was much worth it. We also realised that the restaurants kilo of lamb karahi looked and weighed a lot less than our home-made kilo of lamb karahi. So now we knew we were being ripped off essentially by amount and quality.
Then the legendary Richie returned for the Summer holiday with his family. Our Richie loves to try out new things and also loves a bit of competition. So him and his mate Darren had a go. Now they were able to get the price a bit lower at around £7 per person, yet the taste wasn’t as good as Bugsy’s Karahi. So they took some feedback and got some good advice, so when the next week came round and they tried again. BOOM! It was a phenomenon! The taste was soo good! I and pretty much everyone else who tasted it, could say hand on their heart, that this was the best Karahi ever bar none. Bugsy gave in and humbly conceded defeat in the home-made Karahi competition. Being beaten on price and quality. Quite a feat, considering Karahi is part of Bugsy’s rich cultural heritage and this was Richie and Darren’s second attempt at such a lavish dish.
Take home lesson
Anything you spend money on regularly to eat out, just go online and search for recipes for that same thing. You’d be surprised how it doesn’t take much to create something for cheaper and tasting better at home. Plus, its nicer to eat in with friends, than eating out with all manner of things distracting you from each other’s company. Me and my wife loved the Nando’s Haloumi Pitta meal. So we just bought our own pitta breads, haloumi cheese, plus whatever we wanted in them. We saved loads of money and created ones that tasted better than the Nando’s version. Another friend of mine used to work at Cafe Nero long ago. She now with her husband buys their own coffee beans, roasts them at home and produces the best coffee I’ve ever had in England. Try it yourself, you’d be surprised at what you are capable of.