The Viceroy

10, The Village, Charlton SE7 8UD

020 8319 3439

I have been trying to cut down on the number of takeaways I’ve been having – the Christmas pounds have taken their toll in both senses of the word. In fact this is only my second of the year (the first I have temporarily refrained writing about, as it’s an old establishment that I once enjoyed and it scored its second strike in the Phantom’s Black Book. One more and it’s out…)

I’ve had so many of you recommend the Viceroy in Charlton that it just had to be the next on the list.

First things first, the ordering. The phone was answered quickly, and the guy got me to spell the address and repeated it. He took the order, then repeated that. He didn’t give me the overall price without prompting, but had it ready when I asked.

It arrived within the time specified, and I was somewhat surprised to have a free bottle of Coke forced upon me. Nice – but unnecessary. The calories were already going to take me way over budget for the current quarter.

They are obviously keen to court custom in a shrinking market. We got several other little freebies too – mainly of the salad-variety – in a vain attempt to counteract the naughty main event, I guess.

The Viceroy serves what I call ‘retro-comfort curry.’ While many takeaways these days make a big deal about using vegetables you can actually recognise in the mix, no artificial flavours or colours and the odd show of herbs, (I’ve even seen organic ones) there was none of that wussy stuff here (though in a concession to quality they say they use ‘chicken breast only.’ I’m guessing it’s not organic breast meat…)

All the dishes in the Phantom Control Meal were bright neon orange and swimming in oil. So much so that we poured the run-off into a separate bowl for hygienic disposal, then soaked up the worst of the rest with kitchen towels before serving. The pilau part of the rice was like hundreds-and-thousands on a fairy cake, and, apart from some odd bits of spud, there wasn’t a recognisable item in the melange of dishes.

And it was bloody wonderful. Even as I ate it, I could feel my arteries furring-up, any antibodies I had left squaring-up for a punch-up with the E-numbers and my waist losing its battle to fit in my jeans. But what a way to go.

This is British curry of the 1980 and early 90s – exactly how I remember my first Indian food. It takes me back to times of carefree abandon, when I didn’t have to worry about what I put in my mouth.

I can’t eat this stuff every day – it’s for nostalgia purposes only. But as a trip down Memory Lane, as happy-food for cold winter nights, this is – what did they used to say in the playground then? Oh yes. Ace…

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