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Ashoka, what A Shocker.

Customer Care: 3.5 Service: 3.2 Value: 1.9 Quality: 1.6 Atmosphere: 2.2

Never in the history of the OCC has a restaurant received such an abysmal score. Aside from Spider Steve, who raved about the food, Ashoka was universally despised by the men of the OCC. And sadly, for good reason.

Starting this review is akin to a Vietnam war veteran being asked to revisit the graveless remains of his fallen GIs in the fields of Khe Sanh. As I write, the PTSD rushes through me like a shot of heroin in the arm. Beware, dear reader, for the below review reads like an uncensored Brothers’ Grimm tale, filled with disappointment, pain and anguish.

We begin our tale at the Ashoka restaurant that the Punisher had dutifully booked, after being steered away from choosing Daarukhana by Spider Steve. When the men of the OCC arrived in merriment at those fateful doors, like the Virgin Mary they were turned away. “We have no room big enough for you in this here inn”, declared the manager, “Ye must trek to our sister restaurant yonder”, which was around the corner. Arriving at the sister restaurant summoned in us a feeling that any barn would be better than this. The interior of the restaurant reminded those foolish or brave enough to enter of the innards of a French abattoir. Yet it wasn’t just the animals put to the slaughter on this foreboding night. It was the hopes and euphoria and the taste buds of the men of the OCC that were also put under the knife.

Poppadums were duly ordered, as is tradition. There’s not a curry house in the world that would claim these as poppadums. Poppadoms are crispy and tasty and fresh and served with an abundance of diverse sauces intended to dance on the tongue of the taster, are they not my dear reader? These were bendy and cold. More like the skin of a dead and shaved deer than a precursor to curry.

Samosas and chicken tikka were then ordered, as is tradition. It should be the tradition of the curry house to serve the food requested within a decent and socially acceptable time. Not so in A Shocker. Twenty minutes went by and still...nothing. The only food in sight was a cockroach scurrying under the floorboard, about to be eaten a rat. If only, when the samosas and tikka arrived, they had tasted as good as a cockroach or a rat. Samosas should not be deep-charred balls of filling-less dough. And chicken tikka should not have the consistency of under-smoked sashimi. Only Spider Steve, to the incredulity of his peers, seemed to enjoy Hades-born starters.

While we contaminated our bowls with the miserable and dreadful and cancerous starters, we foolhardily ordered our mains. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. Oh, like shipwrecked men driven to raging and unquenchable thirst did we wait. And then we waited some more. Eons then passed in that hell. What felt like an eternity aged us all irrevocably. In real terms hours passed. Fretfully for us, the main courses then arrived. Every curry was overwhelmed with hundreds of frozen peas, seemingly in tandem with the kitchen and a cockroach infestation. The curry sauces had less taste than an IKEA showroom, the meat was fattier than an intemperate Spanish Duke from the 1500s, and contained more salt than Poseidon’s ejaculate. The saving grace (if there could be such a thing) was the lamb chops, which were delicate and sumptuous. Alas, the accumulated disaster of the evening could not be saved by one dish, as if the Holocaust could be counted as a success by the actions Liam Neeson alone.

A trainwreck would have been preferable.


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