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Kismot has made national news!
That’s right, Newington’s finest curry house and home to the chocolate naan bread (epic btw) has found itself at the center of controversy. Two ambulances had to rush to the restaurant last Saturday during their annual killer curry contest, costing the NHS thousands of pounds. Oops.
Sweating, vomitting, two people taken to hospital, and ten people deciding that perhaps eating the hottest curry in the world isn’t the brightest move after all; it all served to remind me of last summer when a group of colleagues and I visited Kismot to try the Killer for ourselves…
*WARNING! Grampa Simpson style reminiscing coming up after the cut*
It all started on a hot summer’s day in Leith. We were in the park stoking up a disposable barbeque and lounging in the grass, when Oliver mentioned that he lived near a restaurant that claimed to be the home of the hottest curry in Britain. Quite a few people seemed interested in the concept and thought it would make for a fun night out, so when I got back to the office I sent an email round to get a group of adventurous foodies together.
After a few last minute cancellations, 15 intrepid curry munchers set off for the experience of a lifetime; on a Thursday night after 5-a-side football.
Of course, only two members of our group were actually foolish enough to order the Kismot Killer. The rest of us just wanted to watch. In the red corner we had Oliver, claiming that “everyone has a degree but only 2% of people that try can finish this curry” and in the blue corner was another lad of questionable mental stability.
People who can’t finish the curry have their photo taken at the end of the meal and added to Kismot’s Wall of Shame. But Oliver wasn’t going to end up on the wall of shame*. Oh no, dear readers, because Oliver had a strategy.
Milk, milk, and even more milk. Kismot, like many Indian restaurants, operate a BYOB policy. After checking it would be okay, we popped into a local supermarket for a 4 pinter of semi skimmed milk. “That should be enough to wash it down” he said, smugly.
We were sat at a long table, and told the waiter our intention. He warned us about the extreme heat; how many naga chillis his dad (Kismot is a family run restaurant) puts in the paste, and how the recipe is basically chilli, chilli and more chilli. We asked if he had ever tried it. “No,” he replied, “I’m not mental!”
Disclaimers were brought out to be signed, and our two contestents looked extremely smug and confident that they would be able to finish the Killer curry.
One of the conditions of the Kismot Killer is that if you can finish the curry you get it for free. Of course, you have to finish it by yourself; no one else can help you. A few people at the table wanted to try it but didn’t want to order a whole one. Oliver told them that they wouldn’t get any of his, because he was going to finish it and win.
Then after a few mouthfuls things started to go downhill.
Sweating, choking… gasping for air.
This video can explain things a lot better than I can (thanks Wendy!)
Soon there was very little milk left.
Soon they couldn’t walk in a straight line.
Soon they were both in the bathroom with their heads down the toilet.
This was after 4 spoonfuls.
Conceding defeat, Oliver walked around the table offering the bowl of curry to anyone brave enough to try some.
Local singer/songwriter Colin took a tiny bit. He remembers the experience as a grim one.
“I would compare the Kismot Killer to the Dementors in Harry Potter, who send people crazy by sucking out all of the happiness inside them.
I found myself feeling very much like the tiny morsel of the Kismot Killer had sucked out the happy memories of the rest of my meal; it put a dampener on my evening and completely obliterated any memory of the fantastic banquet that had come before I terrorised my mouth with this hideous attack.
You know a meal is bad when you find that you can’t enjoying drinking, or even breathing, for a long time afterwards.”
James (who some of you may know better as Regular Wino) also tried a little bit, and apparently regretted it.
“On the nose, burning tyres. On the mouth, pain and the desire to throw up. This curry packs quite a punch and has a long, painful finish. Only an idiot would take a second spoonful.”
It’s safe to say that the Kismot Killer didn’t give Links a foodgasm; he ran straight into the toilet and downed a pint of milk when he returned. When pressed for comment:
“The Kismot Killer is not a curry, its a heat recalibration mechanism. Before Kismot, my most exotic spice infused dream was to try a chilli burger. Now, everything falls under 2 categories; Kismot Killer and Not Kismot Killer.”
Even courageous world traveller Dave didn’t exactly relish the experience.
“It was like eating bloody Hell. Did they give us all the ingredients? I can’t remember. But whatever that thing was, it was pitch black. Even light couldn’t handle it.
The most alarming part was that, after we’d all come back from the bathroom 30 minutes later, those bowls were still hot. There was still some infernal chemistry going on in there.
I hope they go to prison for their crimes against humanity.”
Aside from the complaints about the Killer, Kismot is actually a brilliant wee Indian restaurant. The meals that were not of killer spice proportons were actually very carefully put together with perfect seasoning and a real eye for detail. Colin even went so far as to call it one of the best curries he’s ever tasted in Edinburgh- before his tastebuds were obliterated by the Kismot Killer, of course.
And it brought our little gang closer together; Links and James often say they first bonded as friends with their heads stuck under adjacent taps in the bathroom of Kismot.
Should you let the recent news about the Kismot Killer put you off a visit to this Newington institution? No. But perhaps think twice before going for the hottest curry on the menu (perhaps the world).
My personal recommendation is to go in a group, and convince someone else to put their bowels on the line for the sake of the Kismot Killer. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll leave with a 6 pack. Just make sure they put the toilet roll in the fridge the night before.
When I asked Oliver how it actually felt to eat four whole spoonfuls of curry, not just a tiny bit like everyone else, he provided me with the following insight.
“I don’t remember much from that night, I’m not sure if my brain has suppressed the memories or if the curry just had an intoxicating effect on me.
The main thing that comes to mind is the vicious cycle of the curry. Because it was insanely hot, my body just couldn’t cope with it so I had to bring it back up. Because the taste of vomit isn’t a great one, I wanted to wash that out. Because the milk brought more of the spice into my stomach, my body reacted badly and wanted me to bring it back up. Over and over again. As captioned in the video, I found it hard to breathe.
Food shouldn’t have that effect on people.”
I think I should point out that very few people have actually succeeded in this challenge; it’s not an easy thing at all. The Kismot Killer rated as nine-star for spiciness while their vindaloo, generally considered the hottest of the hot, only gets 5. There is a reason they make you sign a disclaimer, after all.
* He didn’t end up in the Hall of Shame anyway, as the owners didn’t put our photo up. Boo!