Throwback: Hagrid AKA Robbie Coltrane Was Fan Of Curry, Made Lamb Desi At A UK Restaurant With Chef

by Rachna Srivastava
Throwback: Hagrid AKA Robbie Coltrane Was Fan Of Curry, Made Lamb Desi At A UK Restaurant With Chef

The Keeper of the Keys and Grounds (a Harry Potter reference, of course), our old Rubeus Hagrid is no more. Veteran Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane passed away at the age of 72 but will live in our hearts forever. Fans worldwide are paying tributes to the actor who gave memorable performances.

Born Anthony McMillan in Rutherglen in Lanarkshire, Robbie Coltrane was his screen name. He had studied at the Glasgow School of Art and Moray House College of Education. To his name he has films and TV shows like Cracker, Tutti Frutti, Alfresco, James Bond series and of course, the Harry Potter series, to name a few.

Robbie Was A Singer, Comedian And A Documentary Host

For his services to drama, in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List, he was awarded the OBE.

But did you know he was also a singer and that he had hosted and starred in a number of documentaries? His Coltrane’s Planes and Automobiles and B-Road Britain were quite popular. And, he was an ace comedian too!

Talking about B-Road Britain, Robbie meandered through the roads of Britain in search of adventure to discover people, history and even food! He did so without a map! In his quest to discover the real Britain, Robbie Coltrane jumped into a vintage Carmen red drophead Jaguar and toured Britain’s scenic back roads (that’s the B in B-road).

Robbie Coltrane's B-Road Britain
Image Courtesy: The Movie DB

The documentary aired in 2007 and in 2008 a book on the same, titled Robbie Coltrane’s B-Road Britain, came out. You can find a hardcover copy online and in select countries.

I did some digging, and found out from the free preview of the book on Google Books, that Robbie loved curry since his early days. Yes, Indians, the same curry we savour like a cup of tea!

Also Read: Kashmir To Kanyakumari, Indian Curries That Are A Must-Try

Robbie Loved Indian Curries

In the book Robbie Coltrane’s B-Road Britain, Robbie recalls, “I remember going to London in my teens and seeking a curry, only to find that there was not much on offer outside the notice ably Asian areas, and even their curries didn’t taste as good as the curries in Glasgow.”

Indian Curry
Image for representation.
Courtesy: Flickr/Sonia Goyal

An insight by him on the reason for that was, “Maybe it’s because most Glasgow Indian restaurants are Punjabi, whereas those in Manchester and Bradford are mainly Pakistani, and in Birmingham mainly Kashmiri. Punjabi curries tend to have more powerful, fruity, rich and pungent sauces that appeal particularly to the Glasgow taste buds.”

Well, that is true! Punjabi curries do stand out in terms of flavours and taste. But, we do love some Kashmiri curries and Pakistani curries on our plate too!

He Cooked Curry & Naan At UK”s India Quay Restaurant

Further in the book, Coltrane visits India Quay – an Indian restaurant located in Finneiston on the banks of Clyde. Glasgow has won the Curry Capital of Great Britain a number of times. It is because of restaurants like India Quay. It is run by an Indian family and Robbie along with Head Chef Sanjeev Sanghera – who is the second generation in the business and now is the-Founder & MD at Döner Haus & Döner Shack.

Robbie describes India Quay as, “With whitewashed walls, lots of glass and wood, his cosmopolitan new restaurant is more like restaurants in India and nothing like the British stereotype of flock wallpaper, dark carpet and sitar music. Unlike the Indian restaurants of old, India Quay strives to have a menu in which every dish is very distinctive, not just differently coloured.”

Robbie Coltrane At India Quay
Image Courtesy: India Quay YouTube Channel

Robbie excitedly mentions how he is keen on learning how to make Chef Sanjeev’s famous lamb desi but cites why the day he headed there was not exactly ideal to learn the ropes. Robbie writes, “As part of the Curry Capital contest each restaurant in the competing cities has to run a charity dinner. And you guessed it, that’s exactly what’s on at India Quay tonight.”

A Short Clip That Shows Robbie Making Indian Food

Robbie helped in the kitchen and added, “Once in the kitchen, I soon discover the scale of the pressure we are under to make the evening’s service a success. With nearly a hundred invited guests attending, it’s not the best time to learn the ropes. Sanjeev puts me to work, but I see that he’s not as mild-mannered in the kitchen as he seemed earlier when we were sitting having a chat in the restaurant.”

Well, after some more digging, I did come across Chef Sanjeev’s LinkedIn and bingo – the video of Robbie in the kitchen making curry and naan is here.

With his unique sense of humour and wits, Robbie fries onions, prepares a curry and even attempts to make naan! But, he ended up burning his hand!

Also Read: I Booked A Seat On Harry Potter’s ‘Real Hogwarts Express’ And It Doesn’t Start From London

Watch Robbie’s B-Road Britain

I tried scouring the Internet for more information, and at the time of writing this couldn’t get my hands on the hard copy of the book. But what I did find was a YouTube channel that uploaded two episodes of the docu-series. The channel “Preservation of Media – Documentaries” is what I am hooked to at the moment. If you are a fan of documentaries, then this is certainly your day to Docu & Chill!

This is Episode 1:

And, this is Episode 2:

It is a three-part series. I wonder when are they uploading the last one!

But one thing’s certain, Robbie Coltrane shall live on-screen forever and his body of work will continue to win more adulation and praise. We hope he rests easy.

If you wish to read the free preview of the book, then head here.

Cover Image Courtesy: India Quay and TMDB