Summer’s finally, and officially, arrived. The temperature’s rising; (hopefully) the barometer’s not getting low; and according to most foodie sources, a pop-up’s the place to go.
And on solstice eve, not for the first time; at just about half past 10; not for the first time in history, Rajiv Kc and I fed hungry men…
I’ll stop with The Weathergirls parody now (although that music video is a must-watch), and explain that this was Rajiv’s Kitchen’s latest supperclub – and, before Mrs. Disgusted of Hackney Wick shouts ‘SEXIST’, say that Nepalese to Please also happily catered to a fair few females.
Nepalese might be new to you – but so, too, might be Mauritian, Sri Lankan, or Gujarati food. Pop-ups provide the perfect, perfectly convivial crash course in a cuisine and a happy homestyle vibe.
A certain supermarket is always urging us to ‘try something new’, but sorry, guys; any of these forthcoming feasts is a prospect more pleasing than a new gourmet global range of ready meals.
If you want to get a taste of the Western Ghats, you’ll need to get thee to East London for Nilanjani Pai’s ‘Bombay to Goa’ Damn Good Curry. The esoteric collection of edibles includes Bombay bites like ragda pattice and sev puri, moves on to mains from Kolhapur, Belgaum and Sawantwadi, and finishes with the Goan coconut-and-semolina baath that sells like the proverbial hot cakes.
Cambridge is hardly a hotbed for pop-up action; so Deepa’s Gujarati supperclub is spicing up the scene in more ways than one. She’ll be devoting all the profits from June’s three-course feast to Find Your Feet’s Curry For Change campaign – The menu should encourage guests to dig deep as they pig out, featuring crisp samosas, veggie curries with soft rotli, and a traditional Gujarati sweet with chai.
Excellent East African Indian eats are to be found at Loseley Park’s Do You Love Food? Festival courtesy of authentic Indian cookery school owner Anjula Devi and her pal Chintal Kakaya, who will be sharing the heritage recipes of their respective fathers. Expect fresh, fiery flavours and dishes including chicken ‘kuku paka’, red kidney bean ‘maharagwe ya nyazi’, and coconut rice.
Selina Periampillai’s perennially popular Taste Mauritius is holding a deliciously abundant lunch that will quite possibly write off dinner and breakfast the following morning. You couldn’t munch Mauritian gajaks without a rum cocktail to hand; or, for that matter, Selina’s stuffed dal puris, chicken curry and fish vindaye. And pudding? Probably as happily rum-sozzled as you will be.
5th & 6th July
The RK team promises to bring banging Bombay bites to North London. Snacky street eats are arguably what Bombay does best, so you can expect to stuff yourself quite stupid on pav bhaji, ragda pattice and the berry pullao popularised by the Parsis in the city’s iconic Irani cafes. Weekends are made for doing DIY, and build-your-own pani puri is this one’s proposed project.
You might argue that there are better breakfast items than those from South Indian states, but that won’t curry favour with me. Papi’s Pickles is shaking up your wake-up at Brixton Cornercopia with a brunch munch featuring fresh lassi, idlis, and egg dosas (or plain, but c’mon, Indian omelette’s on offer!), all served with the non-negotiable sambhar and Papi’s homemade chutneys.
Kei de Freitas’ Eurasian dishes are ingenious vegetarian adaptions of traditional items from a cuisine that arose from local appropriation of Portuguese preparations in conquered countries like Malacca, Macau, and Goa. Sip ‘Portonic’ and Portuguese wines as you dine on spiced cheese skewers, Eurasian rendang and a secret family pud including eggs, almonds, almond wine and chocolate.
Pratap Chahal is a rare example of pro turned pop-up; moving from Michelin restaurants to host his own supperclub. This 8-course experience mixes modern and classical techniques and ingredients from East and West; think applewood-smoked paneer with South Indian spices, spiced chicken liver pate with saffron flatbread, and chocolate, chilli, hot cocoa and milk fritters.
The description ‘Modern Indian/West Asian’ sort-of-but-not-quite nails the nosh this dynamic duo cooks. Rotiya’s recipes for this feast are twisted dishes inspired by ancient preparations by the Pindhs of the Bharat. Lost in translation? That translates to pepper’n’pistachio tarts with chilli jam, and rotis stuffed with herby lamb with tahini raita or tamarind aubergine with an almond crunch.
If you prefer to get hands-on in the making of your meal rather than merely having is made for you, Jeanius Social’s in-house Indian chef will guide you through a region-roving menu made up of Mumbai fishcakes, Punjabi samosas, lamb kofta curry, Mogul chicken curry and tadka dal. A feast follows… providing that you can bear to share with fellow classmates.
Ivor Peters and Indunil Sanchi embark on the London debut of the travelling Great Indian Food Feast that’s been touring the country. The ‘multi-experiental’ evening features storytelling from the Urban Rajah, a multi-regional menu, and a few tableside tricks from Indi as he prepares pud in front of eager- and eagle-eyed gourmets.
If Mauritian cuisine is hard to come by in the UK, it’s even rarer to get the chance to relish Reunion Island fare. Selina Periampillai’s supper starts with an Island-inspired cocktail and crunchy Creole snacks, and continues with chou chou gratin, Cilaos smoked sausage lentils, Reunion Island fish rougaille and green papaya salad. In short, a total triumph of totally tropical tastes.
Clever folks will sit themselves pretty and eat themselves stupid at Well Street Kitchen, where Papi’s Pickles is serving ‘South Indian Summer Eats’. The veggie-friendly feast starts with sweet lemon pickle and a canape collection. Then you’ll idle over the ideal combo of idli and masala dosa ‘with all the trimmings’, and chill out with the ‘cold queen of puds’ – choc-topped pal payasam.
Get your Sunday swinging with Aneesha’n’Ben’s menu, which kicks off with a gin-spiked nimbu pani and winds down with pistachio-rose teacakes, barfi and masala chai. In between there’s chana batata, jeera fried chicken’n’slaw, and a cheeky threesome of the duo’s trademark rotlis; all washed down with as much pomegranate and rose cordial as you could crave.
West London’s Mgeni is in the process of planning the menu for London’s inaugural Gujarati Afternoon Tea experience. All will be revealed, but all I can tell you thus far is that the £50 feast will feature an array of moreish morsels – showcasing the vibrant veggie fare that Gujarat is so good at.
One to watch:
Dates and details TBA…
The pickle purveyors are planning their first foray into the world of social suppers. The premise – nay, promise – is to ‘go beyond the notion of greasy curry & chicken tikka!’