The newest Indian restaurant in Colchester – already attracting fans all over town – today lays claim to a title contested across the world: producing the world’s hottest curry.
The Ivory Scorcher contains 10 Naga Viper chillies, and owner Syful Alam says, “Anyone who can clear their plate will get their meal free and have their photo taken with me and the chef and posted on our website. We’ll also give them a certificate. The first customer who manages it will get their next meal free, too.”
Previous claims on the ‘hottest curry’ title have come from London’s Cinnamon Club, the Brick Lane Curry House in Manhattan and the Rupali Restaurant in Newcastle. All make use of Naga chillies, which score a searing million-plus on the Scoville scale, which is used to measure the heat in a chilli. Syful says, “Bird’s eye chillies come in at up to 100,000 on the scale, but Naga chillies score between 850,000 and 1,359,000. They’re seriously hot!”
The restaurant usually offers traditional and tandoori dishes with a modern twist from chef, Albert Gomez, who’s worked in five star hotels in India and Bangladesh. Syful says, “the Ivory Scorcher is just a bit of fun, really. We’ll still provide biryani dishes and chicken tikka massalas, of course, but Albert fancied the challenge, and we thought an army town might have a few guys who want to show us what they’re made of!”
Ivory Spice is at 14 Magdalen Street, and offers traditional biriyani, chef’s specials and a huge range of starters and side dishes – as well as English dishes like sirloin steak. Takeaways are delivered free within a five-mile radius. The Cinnamon Club is in Westminster and produced a curry called the Bollywood Burner after being commissioned by Richard Branson’s company Virgin Media. Executive chef Vivek Singh doesn’t include the dish on his regular menu, and only produces it when customers specifically request it.
Curry Hell is on the menu at the Rupali Restaurant in the city of Newcastle. Introduced by original owner Abdul Latif in 1987, it also claims to be the world’s hottest curry. Current owner Rukon Latif claims on the restaurant’s website that “Vindaloo tastes like ice cream in comparison and chef Gordon Ramsey has declared it as the hottest curry he’s ever tasted”. Customers who manage to eat the dish get it for free and receive a signed certificate.
The Brick Lane Curry House in Manhattan offers a Phaal Curry Challenge containing 10 Naga or bhut jolokia chillies, and says its chefs have to wear gas masks when preparing it. The Scoville scale for measuring the heat of chillies was devised by American chemist Wilbur Scoville in 1912. On the scale, Tabasco sauce measures between 2,500 and 5,000, while Cayenne pepper comes in at 30–50,000. The only substance hotter than Naga peppers on the scale is law enforcement-grade pepper spray (around 5 million), although the active components in chillies – capsaicinoids and capsaicin itself – measure from 8-15 million.