In August, we find ourselves deep into silly season. Business emails are greeted with gleeful out-of-office auto-responses from those jammy sorts who’ve jetted off to far-flung destinations, the newspaper is wafer thin and its skimpy stories really scrape the bottom of the barrel, and the temperature veers queerly between ‘oven’ and ‘fridge’.
But don’t resent being left in London this summer – because there are enough Desi delights both in the city and within easy reach of it to see you through to September with spice and style. With Indian Independence Day mid-month, there’s even more excuse to get a culture fix. And, as the old proverb (almost) has it, ‘If the Londoner won’t come to India, India will come to the Londoner!’
Throughout summer: #CurryForChange Supperclub at YOUR OWN HOME
There’s still time to get involved with Find Your Feet as an at-home host, helping raise vital funds for the eponymous charity’s anti-food poverty campaign, #CurryForChange. The menu, venue and attendees are up to you – just make it a spicy supperclub to remember.
For supperclub hosting tips, click here
To sign up for a great event pack packed with goodies and inspiration, click here
Until 31st August – Tony Singh’s Road Trip at the Apex Hotel, Edinburgh
If you’re attending the Edinburgh festival, you’ll want food that’s as arresting as the entertainment. Tony Singh’s pop-up will keep you topped up with tip top, always ‘#Tasty‘ takes on global street food made with local, seasonal ingredients – don’t miss his haggis pakoras.
For a review of Tony’s ‘Tasty’ cookbook, click here
Until 30th September – Carom’s Spice Garden at Butlers Wharf Chophouse
Fittingly, Carom’s three-month Spice Garden pop-up is housed a former spice warehouse on the banks of the Thames. Chef Vishna Natarajan’s menu comprises signature tandoor dishes, tiffin tins and small plates – perfect accompanied by a few Indian-influenced cocktails and those river views.
Until Feb 2016 – Darjeeling Express at The Sun & 13 Cantons
If you come dine with Asma Khan, you’ll be in great company – the supperclub-host-turned-pop-up-purveyor was recently lauded by esteemed food critic Fay Maschler; her residency named ‘Restaurant of the Week’ in the Evening Standard. Arrive hungry, leave stuffed – and still wanting more.
Indian food, Indian drink and Indian street art – what more d’you want? The latter’s from the cities of Mumbai and Delhi, and the former’s from all over, with a healthy dose of innovation from the triple-C crew in items like rum’n’Baileys spiked mango lassi.
21st August – Inders Thali & Wines pop-up, Cambridge
A thali is the perfect platter for the greedy and indecisive diner, affording each guest their own perfectly-portioned, multi-dish meal. At Sticky Beaks Cafe, chef Inder (of her eponymous Kitchen) will create a feast of her favourites, paired with wines from across the world.
COOK & LEARN
1st, 19th & 30th August – Jenius Social’s Indian Street Food cookery class
Street food is social by its very nature, as are Jenius Social’s cooking classes. Led by the resident expert head chef, you’ll learn to handle knives (and yourself) in the kitchen, marinate meat like a master, and bring balance to your flavour combinations. The evening ends with a shared-feast-cum-spicy-social-mixer.
8th August – Ren’s Kitchen’s Curry In A Hurry cookery class
This intimate North London half-day crash course is small on numbers and big on hands-on participation. Starting with a Spice Masterclass, you’ll also cook kebabs, bhuna chicken, and Goan fish – and learn to make rice to really entice. Love what you’ve learned? Good, because you’ll head home with enough food for two.
Leicester’s National Space Centre is the interesting location for a spice-led evening of discovery. Part of the venue’s ‘A Taste of Science’ evening series, the event examines the history, mystery, and indeed science of spice – and That Hungry Chef Pratap Chahal will be on hand to facilitate new discovery and sell sauce.
To read more about That Hungry Chef, click here
15th August – Ren’s Kitchen’s Dinner Party Delights cookery class
Master the contents of a masala dabba with Ren’s renowned whistlestop tour through an Indian spice box before commencing the cooking part of this half-day course. Along with the host’s chicken-curry-with-the-most, you’ll get to savour saag aloo, vegetable pakoras, and chapattis – all created with your own fair hands and hard labour.
Until 6th September – Full of Spice at Kew Gardens
Phew – things are hotting up at Kew. The Gardens’ spice season has already seen Indian masterchefs Alfred Prasad and Atul Kochhar host piquant pop-ups, and things stay spicy with a programme from which masala-making workshops, plant tours, rickshaw rides and a gin garden are just a few highlights.
To read about cooking alongside Alfred, click here
1st & 21st August – Club Kali
The ‘World’s Biggest LGBT club’ celebrates summer in a typically fabulous manner twice this month, promising to tempt you onto the dancefloor to strut your stuff to all manner of music – from Bollywood to Bhangra and Arabic tunes, along with whatever else DJs Ritu and Dilz see fit to spin.
5th August – Indian Independence Day at The Bhavan Centre
If the anticipation of Indian Independence Day is getting too much, warm up with The Bhavan Centre’s celebrations, which occur ten days ahead of the actual date. The evening involves refreshments, music and dance, speeches and patriotic performances, with all welcome to partake in the occasion.
25-28th August – Ghulam Rasool: My Eyes Are Witness at Asia House
Pakistan’s diverse geography gives rise to some incredibly arresting landscapes, further shaped by diversity in its cultures and communities; flora and fauna. Ghulam Rasool’s photographic showcase offers an insight into the country’s most secret splendours.
28th August – Bollylicious Dinner & Dance at London Darbar
Expect to eat, drink, and make merry during this dinner’n’dance, billed as fun for all the family. The evening features a four course Indian veg meal, all-you-can-sip soft drinks, and lively live music and DJ sets that’ll make the refreshments very necessary.
29-30th August – Edinburgh Mela
Any Mela’s a great excuse to timpepass with friends and family, eat too much, dance until your limbs ache, and get a Desi culture fix. Edinburgh’s event is set to be an especially exciting knees-up, featuring world-class music acts, a Kidzone, global grub and stalls galore.
30th August – Bollywood Showdown at the O2
Love jolly good Bollywood bangers? Dance yourself in the direction of the O2 for a one-night stand with some of the industry’s hottest performers. For four hours, you’ll have your socks rocked by everyone who’s anyone – including Atif Aslam and Bolly Flex.
30th August – Bengal Sage pop-up at Graze Festival, Twyford
Not-for-profit organisation Graze Festival has curated a programme which uses music, food and arts to raise funds for local charities and causes. Miff Kayun’s Bengal Sage will bring both spicy fare and a fine flavour of its restaurant experience to the event.