Posted by: Chris Wright | April 16, 2008

Some Like It Hot

Wednesdays come and go, but, springing up the steps of Fleshmarket Close, hot foot from the Aberdeen train, harboring visions of Fetuccini washed down with copious amounts of fine Pinot Grigio, my day was plunged into disarray by the sight of a gaggle of youngsters of forbidding aspect loitering with malign intent in the doorway of the splendid Pizza Express on North Bridge. With mounting dread and a sense of overwhelming despondency I turned and stumbled back to the Royal Mile.

Shamoli is not an Italian Restaurant and the Wine List, though painstakingly set out, is poor. Wine does not generally benefit from being teamed with spicy Indian food and tonight’s Cabernet Sauvignon was no exception. Bland and odorless, it left no trace on the glass and less on my palate – served up at a temperature more suited to a Beaujolais, it failed to excite in any way. The wine was redolent of Eastern Europe under Russian rule – cold, characterless and cruelly disappointing.

The food was ideally matched to the wine – for an indian restaurant, the use of the microwave and the deep fat fryer represent an innovative approach to food preparation, delivering fare to the table that once bitten, flash fries the palate. Perhaps this was in preparation for the main course – microwaved to within an inch of its life, the bullet hard peas and runner beans resembled nothing more than a supermarket bag of mixed vegetables, while the chicken was, I would hazard a guess, a stranger to the tandoori oven.

The second glass of wine was, if anything even grimmer than the first and so, hoisting the white flag I paid the kings ransom and trudged dejectedly back to my hotel.

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