It can be reasonably argued that Indian cuisine began the transformation of the British palate from the drabness of the bread-rationing years to the all-corners-of-the-world flavour it is today. Liam and I love a bit of South Asian and Liam cooks up a mean curry (from a recipe, not a jar). Since our return to Blighty, we hadn’t actually stepped out for an Indian. Until recently. We decided to give the Merchants of Spice a go, a highly recommended eatery located in a fine old building on Colegate, a short stroll from our Weaver’s cottage. Did we enjoy the experience? Yes and no. Inside its antique shell, the restaurant was minimalist chic without a hint of the flock wallpaper and chintzy gilt of old and the mood was sophisticated and buzzy. The bhajis were disappointingly dry but the rest of the food was fine, plentiful and served up in elegant dishes. So why my reticence? Well, the set-price three course menu advertised on a board outside was off menu by the time we took our seats. But my main gripe was the service from the over-familiar waiters. They pestered us like wasps at a picnic, interrupting every conversation and force-filling our glasses. It brought back unhappy memories of certain Turkish restaurants we learned to avoid. The rapid-fire courses prevented us from making a meal of our meal and our gentle pleas to slow things down fell on deaf ears. If we’d wanted fast food, we’d have gone to McDonalds.
Jack Scott Imagine the absurdity of two openly gay, married, middle aged, middle class men escaping the liberal sanctuary of anonymous London to relocate to a Muslim country. I chronicled our exploits with the mad, the sad, the bad and the glad in a blog for the whole world to ignore. Then came the book which became a critically acclaimed best seller. Its success opened out a whole new career for me as an author. Who'd have thought it? Certainly not me. In June 2012, we ended our Anatolian affair and paddled back to Britain on the evening tide, washing up in Norwich, a surprising city in eastern England. I’m sometimes nostalgic for our encounters with the hopeless, the hapless and, yes, the happy go lucky. They gave me an unexpected tale to tell and for this I thank them. Act Two, Turkey Street, is out now in print and digital editions.