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Monday, March 19, 2007




IT’S FUN TO EAT AT THE INDIAN YMCA
There are very few places in London where you can eat for under £6. Go on try to think of a few.

If you go to Pret (and why the Hell would you? Their sandwiches all taste the same to me whatever they say on the packaging) and buy a butty, a drink and a bag of crisps, you will spend more than that. If you were dumb enough to go to one of the fast food places, you would spend even more.

That’s where The Indian YMCA in Fitzrovia comes into its own. For as many years as you care to remember, it has been dishing out dirt cheap canteen style Indian grub to a motley assortment of tourists, students and Indian businessmen.

Lined with communal Formica topped tables, the system has remained unchanged for as long as I can recall. You collect your cutlery, your tray, a glass and a few paper napkins, you walk passed the large open serving area where polite staff spoon out rice and breads and tell you what different dishes are on offer,you help your self to small bowls of what you fancy and you walk to the pay counter where you realise it is going to cost about half what you expected.

Today, a big mound of pilau rice, a fiery mackerel curry, some restorative dahl and a few pakora came to a grand total of £5.60. Just the job on a day that was turning increasingly chilly.

Unknown by many, but one of the great treasures of London dining and well worth searching out for lunch or supper when you want a change from the bog standard curry houses that litter this part of town.
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