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Crazy Dave's and mondays always get me down


Dave The Fat Cunt
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Having spent the New Year suffering from a combination of alcohol fatigue, bronchitis and the sort of festive shits that remind you of the celebratory chocolate fountains you find at five-star hotel buffets. I awoke this morning at 6am feeling refreshed, clear-headed, calm-gutted and, finally able to breathe without a respirator, jumped in the car and went to find food.

Pattaya is not a place for early risers. There are too many remnants from the night before clinging to the streets, too much warm stale beer and too many cold stale drinkers blearily staring you down. Food is thin on the ground too. There’s Foodland of course but Thai bacon, wobbly eggs and drunken Scandinavians in Red Bull vests are not my idea of breakfast so I headed down Soi Chaiaphum (sp) sure in the knowledge that something there would be open.

Crazy Dave’s was.

I was hoping to find that the Canterbury Tales was too as these days the place just gets better and better but, it was far too early so, reasoning that location would dictate that Crazy Dave’s must be a similar sort of place, I decided to eat there.

There were, surprisingly, a few people in, still running from the night before if their red-tinged eyes and hunched shoulders were anything to go by, so I sat down, called over a waitress and ordered the fat bastards breakfast at 100 baht.

On paper it looked good: eggs; sausages; bacon slices; black pudding; mushrooms; beans; tomatoes; toast; fried bread and tea. On paper it looked very good indeed; on the plate it was an entirely different matter.

An English breakfast is a simple, if substantial, meal and quite hard to get wrong but boy, did they try. Deep fried bacon, soggy bread, half-raw eggs, small dry sausages and black pudding you could have safely paved the troubled runways at Suavabhumi with.

I just couldn’t eat it.

Really.

I tried but just couldn’t.

That seldom happens to me as I can eat just about anything but much as I tried I found it all just sticking in my throat. I concentrated on the eggs but they had a thousand-yard stare in their rheumy yellow eyes that kept me turning my head away in fear, the bacon was doused in more grease than a self-immulising Buddhist monk and one bite of the dust-filled sausage was enough to convince me that whatever had died to make it was probably the chef.

Shamefully, I moved the food around on my plate for a while then paid and left, the waitress looking at me in sorrow.

Perhaps she was used to drunken early-morning diners having large appetites but small capacities for food or the need for sleep overtaking hungry revellers. Perhaps she realised that a full mal on a stomach full of beer is a hard thing to handle.

Perhaps she just knew it was shite.

I consoled myself with three things: the HP sauce was the real thing, I’d spotted a curry house across the road and, thankfully, it was too early for Crazy Dave’s to be playing ‘Only Fools and Horses’.

Crazy Dave’s: you don’t have to be crazy to eat here; but it helps.

Now some people think that curries are a British invention. The long-gone, halcyon days of the Raj when the bhurra sahib spent his days dispensing the white-man’s justice to his little brown charges before taking tiffin at the club with a chota peg of brandy or two to aid the digestion of his dinner of mulligatawny and a country captain may be long gone but England remains home to excellent Indian food and Bradford, in the north of England, is home to some of its finest.

Bradford hosts one of the largest Indian communities in the Uk and there, amongst the madrassas, sari shops, Bollywood award ceremonies and terrorist training camps can be found innumerable small family run dhabas offering excellent, cheap Indian food.

Leaving Crazy Daves I looked across the street at Neeroy’s Bradford Curries and thought, that’s what I need; a proper lunch.

I spent the morning doing the chores I’d neglected over New Years: washing, shaving, being polite, then returned to Soi Chaiaphum for a Bradford curry.

Why don’t I ever learn?

I understand food.

I understand how it looks, how it tastes and how it feels. I can cook it, make it, eat it and write about it. I know you can sometimes compare apples and oranges and occasionally even apples and apples. Food is my love, my passion, my hobby and possibly my downfall but what I don’t understand is how people can call any old shit food and get away with it.

Here is an universal truth:

If you want a Bradford curry go to Bradford not some crappy little shop-house on a Pattaya backstreet. If you want a bowl of luke-warm congealed glutenous slop topped with soggy fried onions then, step right up, lads: Neeroy’s is for you.

I can’t begin to describe my disappointment in Neeroy’s. I’d heard that the English food was good but also that the place was owned by a chap whose wife had cooked in a Bradford takeaway and who specialised in great curries. I went expecting the same sort of rich, oily curry I’d been brought up with at home, and I mean brought up with.

Most people talk of their mother’s home cooking with fondness. Friends become misty eyed at their recollections of festive roasts and home-baked bread. My mother, God rest her, had many fine qualities and passed some of them (sarcasm, duplicity and vicious passive-aggression spring readily to mind) on to me but, with the best will in the world, she could not cook.

She looked the part: jolly, plump and smiling. You would have thought that baked goods would have tumbled from her floury arms and pot roasts from her fingers but in her hands packet sponge mixes would become as thin and crisp as a Neapolitan pizza base, eggs would shrivel and shuffle off in embarrassment and her attempt at bread making became the stuff of family legend.

I still have the loaves she baked in 1973; I keep my tools in them.

Brought up in a home where food consisted of black crispy fried things, boiled khaki vegetables and ketchup sandwiches the day that the first Indian takeaway opened in my small town was a religious experience for me.

I can remember the day as if it was yesterday. The place was called the ‘Take and Bake’ for some unknowable reason and for weeks we all thought it was a bread shop. We’d never had Indians in the place before and I rather think the one black family and two Chinese ones were a little put out by all the excitement. When they opened it was mostly a chip shop but they also did a few home cooked curries and onion bajees. A plump, red, deep-fried onion bajee was the first piece of foreign food I ever ate and it sticks in my memory like my first shag, hell it was better. My first shag was a fat little bespeckled girl who smelled of sweat and desperation; my first bite of a bajee was sublime.

This was a bajee, this was food. It was foreign, exciting and exotic and had been cooked by someone who had loved it and brought it thousands of miles just for me.

For the first time I experienced flavoursome, well-cooked food (hell, it was the first time I’d experienced rice that didn’t come in a can of milk) and it started a love affair with Indian food that has seen me take a two-day detour on a train just to eat in a particular Gujeratti restaurant.

My Indian food is excellent; I’ve worked at making it so. I’ve read books, sat in kitchens, watched it being prepared by experienced chefs and practiced and practiced. I know how to make Punjabi dishes as they would at home, how to hand-make breads and how to prepare meat dishes as you would in India but, most importantly, I know how commercial takeaways and restaurants prepare food in the UK. The secret is in the universal sauce base that is the main ingredient of every curry. Using this sauce curries can be quickly prepared and just a few subtle alterations to the spices, herbs and food colourings makes the difference to all the curries we, as Brits, know and love.

Neeroy’s was not the rich, spicy food with which I was familiar. Instead I was served a bland, yellow, gelatinous mass topped with lank fried onions and peppers. The taste was vaguely salty and the texture a disturbing thick slime. Good curries must be suspended in an emulsion of oil in order to allow the flavours to work, this was just a cloying mass of gloop which filled the palate with bland volume: like salty shaving foam squirted into your mouth by a naughty child.

The quality of the chicken in this regrettable sauce was good, however and, surprisingly, it was cooked well. Indian restaurant chefs cook their chicken in a mixture of the universal gravy and oil allowing the spices to soak into the chicken and you could taste that Neeroy’s had done this, what it hadn’t done was make a sauce anything like good enough to eat. I had also ordered a side of nan bread and chips and the nan, considering it was wrong in virtually every way, was quite a passable imitation. The chips, real it must be said, suffered a little from having been fried several times by the time they were served to me but were acceptable enough and certainly preferable to anything frozen that comes in a packet.

I scraped the sauce off the chicken, ate the chips and bread and contemplated a little.

A question had arisen in the morning as I had gagged whilst trying to choose between a runny egg white and a shard of black pudding and now, prompted by a sauce that had rendered the rest of the food inedible I thought again: don’t the people who own and run these places ever eat their own food?

Surely they must know when it’s crap?

Gordon Ramsey, the British chef (a man so far up his own arse that it takes a team of slate miners and a male voice choir to enable him to shit), always says that you can’t understand your food unless you taste it as you prepare it.

I wouldn’t expect that level of detail from a greasy spoon or a little takeaway but I would expect that somewhere along the line the owner would just have a look at it and say, ‘hang on lads, down tools, we’ve messed up here; this is supposed to be food’.

There is a list as you enter Neeroy’s of persons who are unwelcome on the premises. The list states that persons wearing turbans are not welcome; I’d widen it to include the chef.

I rather like the irony of an Indian-style restaurant that bans Indians but then Indians do seem to create a rather ambivalent attitude towards themselves. The Thais have a proverb of sorts: if you see a snake and an Indian in your path and only have one bullet in your gun; shoot the Indian.

Thais are not always wrong.

As you know I love Indian food, I’m British after all, and having spent quite some time travelling and working on the subcontinent my favourite type of Indian food is the cheap, vegetable based, home-style cooking you find in Dhaba huts.

Dhaba huts are the Indian equivalent of the Thai noodle stall: cheap, filling, tasty and aimed at your typical working-class market. The good ones are always full and the food is often excellent. There is a particularly good one on New Bazzar in Delhi, not far from the railway station. Run by an enormous Sikh, it offers a refillable vegetarian thali for 15 rupees that can keep you going for days. You can find good dhaba places n Bangkok too: Phaharrat, the Indian district, is full of them. Small, not-too-clean places of just a few inexpensive tables offering ‘ tasty meals’ where a vegetable and rice dish will set you back around 15 baht and a feast of dhall, sabji, bread and rice around 40 baht.

Last week whilst making my way home from Janese’s Bar (the home of the cheap bastard) in the Pattaya New Plaza bar complex I was delighted to see that a small dhaba had been set up as a street stall with a few tables and chairs and promised myself lunch there as soon as I could.

The Maharajah Dhaba is set somewhat back from the road on Soi Bukhao opposite the back entrance to Pattaya New Plaza. It has a few formica tables and some stools and there are a couple of Indian girls cooking the food. There were quite a few Indian men of the sweat-ridden-beige-polyester-shirts-and-slacks variety eating there so it was with quite high hopes that I asked for a menu.

The menus are comprehensive but not marked with prices. I asked the price of a standard vegetable dish, aloo ghobi (potato with cauliflower, a Punjabi standard), and was told it was, wait for it, 120 baht.

I smiled and said that I thought I was in a street-side dhaba and not a restaurant and the girl replied:

How much you want give me?

How much you pay?

I sometimes complain about the Thais being venal and rapacious when they deal with Westeners but Indian shop owners would take the smell off your shit. I’ve never met a Thai noodle seller who would bargain over the price of a cooked meal or try to sell you a bowl of soup for 6 times the cost; not even in Phuket, but for the Indian shop owner every transaction is an opportunity for gain, every exchange a possibility for profit and every profit so much sweeter when spiced with the smell of a rip-off.

I left the place without eating. If I wanted a 120 baht bowl of vegetables I could get one at any Indian restaurant in Pattaya, hell, I can have a full Indian buffet for that in South Pattaya any night of the week.

I wish them luck with their street stall but I won’t eat there.

Ever.

I have many Indian friends and have experienced acts of great generosity and kindness in their country. I’ve had Indian girlfriends in the past and spent many hours with their families and in their homes, however, should I one day pass an Indian shop owner on a lonely road walking with a snake, well, let’s just say that the snake would be perfectly safe from me.

Even if my gun was full.

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Good report, I went in there twice this trip, he was extremely rude twice, I'm not going in there again, its depressing

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Bloody Hell, what an epic ... watch out Ben Hur! Excellent report mate. I've read quite a few comments that say Crazy Dave's used to be good, but is now s***. I won't set foot in there, you've just confirmed the wisdom of that decision.

 

It is amazing how many people set up business with absolutely no idea what they're doing. It's like they wake up one day and think they'll open a restaurant/bar/etc, without any evaluation of whether they have the necessary qualities required. It is difficult (make that impossible?) to find any restaurant in Pattaya that could be considered of an international standard, places that are supposed to be great, like 'Mata Hari', are pitiful. There are a handful that offer good food at good value scattered around, it is even difficult to find reasonable Thai food, at any price, the best usually being the occasional roadside gem.

 

Look forward to more of your posts.

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Good report. I was browsing the books in Canterbury Tales the other day but couldn't believe the food prices on display...... how on earth does owner Dave make a living? If the food is as good as the prices it must be about the best place in Pattaya to eat. (Not Jomtien...... that's the Ace Cafe!)

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I don't think Dave at canterbury dales is getting rich, but he always seems to be busy, its ashame hes not open 24 hours, maybe one day he will be!

 

 

Crazy Dave said the internet is shite and we're all a bunch of wankers lol

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I'm staying at Canterbury Tales and the breakfast is excellent. I had to switch to the healthy breakfast here, though, because my cholesterol is high, so I'll leave the English breakfast to you all.

 

Dave is a great guy and the place is always busy...

 

All the best,

 

jH

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top writing excellent keep em cumin

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Good report - actually quite funny! Pattaya isn't known as a gourmet's delight though, despite what many say. Unless the restaurant owner cooks it, it's bound to be shite.

'Fools rush in where angels fear to tread' - TiT

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Great report Dave i have ate in a few indian restaurants in pattaya and 2 worth mentioning one is the OMAR KHAYAM in the Arab quarter in the soi opposite VC hotel and the best one is for their food service is a bit slow sometimes the ALI BABA on central road. I don't know why some of the addicts knock it they must be used to eating the artificial junk in the bangladeshi run indian restaurants in england! Even the indian masala tea in ALI baba is better than 95% of the places i have had tea in the sub continent.

Edited by dudebrah
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  • 2 weeks later...

From one fat Bugga to another Dave although my eyes were going wider and wider at the lenght of your post, well you should write a book, Pattaya articles or saomething like that, I will put it on my shelves in the bookshop, crackin mate.

As for me making money, well if I did I would only spend it, just happy to live here, even with staff being what they are.

 

Thanx guys fort the kind words without creepin, as for Curry, not that I am an expert but in my opinion, Tikka centre is nice, not pricey, very tasty, opposite soi Honey on Soi Bauhkow.

 

Look forward to the next review, and Dave, pop in and say hello sometime.

Cheers Dave

Canterbury Tales Guesthouse ... email; canterburytalescafe@hotmail.com

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wanted to add - great writing! Really enjoyed your insights.

 

Can I also add a few comments?

 

I've found one great Indian restaurant on my visits. Totally forgotten the name (and, sorry, can't be bothered to do the google research) but it's something like Ahchaar. Not to be confused with another better known place with a very similar name. This one is right next door to the Bodega Bar and opposite Malibu bar on 2nd road, just as you turn into the Soi. Put it this way, it's as good as any really top class High Street Indian restaurant in the UK. Which is pretty good. Nicely spiced and cooked, decent ingredients, not too greasy, albeit a very "safe" menu with all the usual suspects.

 

Lots of Thai people say they don't like Indian food. One night in Bodega we were having this very debate with a few English mates and a large gaggle of Thai bar girls. So I shot next door to the restaurant (I'd eaten there before) and ordered a takeaway of about 10 different curries, both meat and vegetarian, and a big pile of buttery naans. Took them back to the bar, laid them out on the table and invited everyone to dip in - and the Thais really loved them. There wasn't a scrap left. Not only that, the two Thai waitresses in the restaurant, sensing that a party and some sanuk was in the offing and anyway it was near restaurant closing time, invited themselves along, bringing a few more curries with them. Only in LOS!

 

As for international standards of cooking - and speaking as a commited foody like Dave, who loves to eat and knows how to cook - I think it#s fair to say that a couple of places are there or thereabouts. I'd recommend trying Patrick's Belgian Restaurant, in the arcade on 2nd Road near Tims Bar Beer. The chef does make concessions to economics and dumb farang taste, like for instance he serves ready made frozen potato croquettes - although, of all ready made frozen foods, I think they're one of the most delicious. But his Belgian stews are spot on. Try the rabbit with beer and prunes. That guy could make a living and a name for himself in any city with a serious restaurant scene.

 

One place I've always wanted to try is Casa Pascale on 2nd Road. The guys I usually go to Pattaya with think that eating takes away the valuable time they could be spending on drinking and other pursuits, and live on occasional fuel stops for a hot dog or Mcshitburger. So even though we've planned it a few times, we've never been. But the menu looks great. Anyone been? Dave? How about a review?

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I really like your use of words ! How about a couple of places a week that you go to. Thanks...samuijim

Avatar...Hillary says to Bill, let's name her Monica

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Neeroys - agree completely with review of their curries - I think they must use "HomePride Cook in Sauces" because thats what it tastes like - and the bloke (Roy I presume) is a miserable C**T.

However, the Fish & chips for 99bht with Mushy Peas 25Bht extra are excellent.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last March I saw Dave swear at customers, he then fell of his bike and acted demented in the road.

 

I am not sure if he does it to attract custom or as he is a nut job :Bravo1:

Not for me Ronnie

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Last March I saw Dave swear at customers, he then fell of his bike and acted demented in the road.

 

I am not sure if he does it to attract custom or as he is a nut job :Bravo1:

 

Watch his adverts on TV then I think you'll answer your question :Hit_Self:

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Dave

 

Excellently written post and very entertaining.

 

You are right about Bradford: a friend of mine used to live in Pudsey and we would often go into Bradford for a curry. Typical low key type places that are BYO and where the food is flavoursome and cheap. Used to eat often in a place on the hill going up from the museum of film (or whatever its called) towards the University..just on the left if my memory serves me right and down in a basement. Awesome food.

 

Crazy Daves - well watching 'Bob' drink Beer Chang all day on Pattaya People Television is enough I think to deter me from ever eating there.

 

What's this about chips with your curry though?? That's even worse than having chips with your fry up!!!! :Hit_Self:

 

Looking forward to reading your future reviews.

 

:Bravo1:

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  • 1 month later...

Ha, Crazy Daves.

 

I was recommended to try this breakfast by a (former) friend of mine.

 

I went with the mrs, what a nightmare. After about 5 minutes some washed out farang staggered out from the back (could have been Dave, not sure), closely followed by a horrible haggard fishwife wearing only a pair of pants screaming at him and punching him.

 

Can't remember what the food was like.

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  • 1 month later...
Ha, Crazy Daves.

 

I was recommended to try this breakfast by a (former) friend of mine.

 

I went with the mrs, what a nightmare. After about 5 minutes some washed out farang staggered out from the back (could have been Dave, not sure), closely followed by a horrible haggard fishwife wearing only a pair of pants screaming at him and punching him.

 

Can't remember what the food was like.

 

Haha Thats Dave and Lynda, both drunks! I've always liked Lynda, but one day Dave was rude to me, so i never returned.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Actually He's off the booze now, its a much better Soi because of it, as for the cats, :):wub:

Canterbury Tales Guesthouse ... email; canterburytalescafe@hotmail.com

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

great review, please keep them coming. after a few trips here from hawaii, i've finally made the move and am on the hunt for good restaurants. one recommendation is toscana (or trattoria toscana i think) on beach road, conveniently near Soi 6. i have to say its the best italian food i've found = though not many italian restaurants in hawaii. particularly good gnocchi and the steak isn't bad.

 

how about a good, quality cheeseburger, preferably where they show football on the televisions? any recommendations are apopreciated...

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how about a good, quality cheeseburger, preferably where they show football on the televisions? any recommendations are apopreciated...

 

Have you tried Bob's BBQ on Soi LK Metro for the cheeseburger? Don't know about the football though.

probe

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Lots of Thai people say they don't like Indian food.

 

I don't think its the food that they dislike, it is the people who cook it. Thais think Indians are unclean.

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