The word that sprang to mind was "yowsa". Not a particularly good word - it's certainly no "serendipity" for example - but I'm going with gut instinct. Besides, "yowsa" covers me in terms of value and cumulative spiciness.
The dish that inspired the involuntary "yowsa"? A lunchtime thali special from Meera's Xpress in Finchley. I'd often stopped in there for excellent and excellent value Indian snackage - I'm a bhel puri addict, me - and, indeed, have been discussing a nibbling meander through the menu with Celia and the knife-sharpening Will for a while. However, I wasn't aware until the rain forced me in today that they did the lunchtime thali thing.
It was a dangerous discovery. The thali includes a dumpling and some little paratha-style breads
a vegetarian curry, a generous spoonful of aloo, a scoop of rice
and a fine, if slightly runny, daal. It was, in a word, delicious. Or, in several words, utterly delicious, properly spicy and very satisfying. And I can't think of a word that suitably describes the value other than "yowsa": the whole thing set me back a princely £2.99.
Yeah. I know. I questioned it too. After a very average quick supper at Imli last night - did I get them on a bad night or are standards slipping? - which came in around £15 a head, the Meera's lunch was always going to look great value at one tenth of the cost. However, I wasn't expecting it to taste around ten times as good.
Basically there's only one downside here. I work from home and probably can't do a domestic lunch for much less than they're charging for the thali. I'm going to be on first name terms with them by the end of next week...