I’m afraid to revisit restaurants that I really like because I fear that it won’t be so good the second time. The first time you are enamored with the experience, and the second time you start to judge it critically and notice its flaws. And there usually isn’t a third.

I went back to Hot Stuff with a few of my friends in the hopes of eating well at a budget. The owner decided to take our order in his own hands and order us far too much food. He didn’t exactly take no for answer, particularly when I said two rotis are more than enough for two of us. It was interesting to try a variety of dishes, but the ones that seemed innovative, like mushroom rice and cabbage curry were a bit disappointing. A pilou with mushrooms and sliced cabbages with some masala, not bad, but not meh. Aubergine and potatoes was really good, but I was disappointed how much oil I saw at the bottom of our dish. I thought of Hot Stuff as replicating “home made” desi food and with a good dish, you can’t see the oil. In fact, you don’t really need more than a tablespoon to capture the flavor.

It was too much food, I’ll have to work that out for weeks, but it came out to a reasonable price. But I’m not sure that I can go again.

On another note, I’m really confused by items on the menu such as rojan josh and kormas and vindaloos. I’ve definitely never seen “vindaloos” in any American Indian restaurant. But these are meat dishes so its entirely possible I’ve skipped that section…yet vindaloos, kormas and josh’s are the hallmark of brown food in Britain. In fact, its only a tiny regional sampling of a vast and complicated cuisine. Especially chicken tiki masala, there is a world outside of that. I promise. Try a dahi vade, no even I’m locked into South Indian specialties. What about dishes from Orissa or Kerela, or the northeastern region of India? You won’t see much of them here because they are still in India!

Ah well, it’s a complaint typical of all immigrant-based dishes, especially Chinese which is even bigger than India. I will keep on the look out for other desi restaurants.

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