Thursday 3rd October 2016 – Vinn Goute, Kerb @ Quay, Canary Wharf, London
So, another working in the office day, another weekly trip to Kerb on the Quay for lunch. This time my plan was to investigate Vinn Goute, who claim to be turning out Seychelles cooking for the masses. It was the word “goat” that got my attention, as my previously declared enthusiasm for the meat would probably suggest. Anyway, on a freezing cold Thursday lunchtime I headed out from the office, purse and “point-and-click” camera in hand to see what the fuss was about.
This time there was a queue, though not especially long. I joined it (once I’d figured out which was the Order queue and which the queue for already ordered food) and put in my request for the goat curry. The enthusiastic server took the order and I settled down to wait for my food.
It was soon ready, and handed over so I headed for the seats by the former warehouse buildings that line the side of West India Quay and prepared to eat.
And what did I find. Well, the box was nicely filled with saffron rice, some salad, a reasonable quantity of goat curry (very brown, but then, it would be) and several potatoes, presumably also infused with saffron (or at the very least turmeric) going by the gentle shade of yellow. The curry and potatoes were very hot, temperature wise, which I appreciated sitting out there. The rice was not so hot, which was a bit of a shame.
Ah but how did it taste? That’s the main question, isn’t it? Especially after you hand over the best part of a tenner for your lunch, you want it to be tasty. Well let’s look at the good first. The potatoes were beautifully cooked, flavour running right through them, the interior soft and fluffy, a good thing in any potato if you ask me. I could find no fault with them. The salad was salad. In other words, a distraction, possibly intended to enable the diner to say “but of course it was healthy, it had salad!” Not really convincing admittedly but I ate it to get it out of the way and to get to the curry underneath.
Now to the rice and curry, the main attractions as it were. The rice was undercooked I’m afraid. It was bordering on the gritty, and cold, and while I like my risottos al dente I don’t approve of it in rice served with curry. It was tasty enough, but it wasn’t exactly fluffy and capable of soaking up the curry sauce, which is for me the point of rice. Here it came across as a way of keeping costs down and filling the box.
However, it’s the curry with which I have my main quibble. Flavour-wise I can’t fault it. It was rich, deep, with just the right amount of heat so it didn’t overwhelm your taste-buds but did produce an all over glow. It was also tender and had quite obviously benefitted from long, intense simmering somewhere at least a day before. However, what looked like a reasonable sized portion turned out to be more bone than meat once I got to it. And although it fell off the bone easily I did feel I’d been somewhat short-changed by the quantity. There was certainly a lot of cartiledge and bone left in the box after I finished.
Will I eat there again? In all honesty probably not although it might rather depend on what other stalls show up. I’m delighted to hear this week that Kerb will be sticking with us poor benighted souls out in Docklands for the rest of the year this year as at least it means we don’t have to rely solely on the identikit chains that blight the shopping area, or the couple of more interesting stalls on Reuters Plaza for sustenance even if it does include the rather wonderful Simply Duck, of whom more on another occasion.