October ~ Eating Out LONDON

Recently I would say I’ve fallen into the trap of eating out a lot as my time to cook for myself is more limited, a blatant excuse but it’s lead me to 2 indulgences.

First was my first visit to POP BRIXTON, the shipping container hamlet which I’d been dying to go to for months – because it’s where all the cool kids congregate.  I wasn’t disappointed, East London met West but with a bit more diversity, less gourmet burgers more Ghanaian stews and Indian inspired nachos.

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I opted for a Vietnamese bruschetta from Viet Box, which was only explained to me afterwards that the bruschetta bit was not bread but a kind of rice cake.  If I’m explaining it wrong I’m sorry, but it soon didn’t matter because I embraced it and it was excellent, possibly one of the best preparations of squid I’ve had, in a simple dressing sprinkled wiith crispy onion.  Reminiscent of the rice box I’d had in Kingston from What da Pho, I’m becoming a big fan of this cuisine, even if this scene from Modern Family always comes to mind when I think about it.

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Whilst in the POP complex my friends and I also sampled the delectable Supercute choux buns, oreo and peanut butter, both were delicious, going down well with a Federation coffee from the market next door.  We also had some great tandoori chips that I am struggling to find the vendor name of (thanks Google!) but they’re hard to miss when you’re there.

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My other food adventure was a home visit to a supper club nearby me.  It came to my attention when I went for an Asian #fdbloggers event about a month back and met a group of lovely ladies, mostly Indian, all very knowledgeable.  It’s weird as I was scheduled to move to Delhi after my course to do an internship but fate had it that I was to stay at home, where now I’ve met more Indian cooks than I’d ever expected and am learning more about the different regions and most importantly tasting the food.

So the supper club I attended was an intimate, lunchtime affair, a #chaiparty hosted by bloggers Gayathri and Suchi (and usually Nisha too but she was in India).  They often host large afternoon teas (chai parties) but since the summer have been doing a monthly regional supper club in SW London for fewer guests with more dishes.  I attended the Nawabi Dawat, Hyderabadi Royals themed lunch, offering vegetarian and omnivorous sharing dishes, though I obviously tried everything!

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I learned a lot in that afternoon (and not just the elasticity of my new leggings) from the curry leaf infused buttermilk upon arrival to the Osmania biscuits to take away, I was trying things you just don’t get in Indian restaurants in England.  As much as you might think we’ve exhausted Indian cuisine in the UK, authenticity seems a million miles away at a restaurant when you get the opportunity to taste actual Indian food in places like the chai party home. I, myself have Indian friends and I’ve subconsciously pigeon-holed their Gujarati cuisine into defining Indian cuisine but the great thing about these hosts is they’re from three different regions so offer the diversity of all.  Food in Kerala may bear more resemblance to Sri Lankan food than the Hyderabadi food further central but often the differences are overlooked because it’s all in India and all is curry.

You may all be aware of this already so I’ll get back to the food and by far the best biriyani I’ve ever eaten. tender pieced of lamb, fluffy rice, nothing claggy or bland about it.  As hosts, they’re typically Asian, there’s plenty of food and you’re very well looked after, superb hosts and I can’t wait for the next one so I can bring along some guests too.

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Haleem, lamb and lentils slow-cooked

Nargisi kebab, remind you of anything?

Nargisi kebab, remind you of anything?

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Osmania biscuits

Osmania biscuits

For the full menu from the event and details of the next #chaiparty, click here.

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