I’m sour that it’s already October, but autumn’s onset has been made a little sweeter by a box of Oxford-made mithai from Delhish – an artisan Indian emporium-slash-Aladdin’s Cave that’s brimful not of Asha but of Desi delights. And thankfully, there’s lots more subcontinental stuff to savour this month. The weather might be cooling off, but these events are hotting things up nicely.
Until 17th Oct The Game Is On at Cinnamon Culture
If you’re game for (just about) leaving London and you’re wild about meats like partridge, venison and rabbit, check out Cinnamon Culture’s latest food festival, where the game is most definitely on. Regional flavours are as diverse as the species; from Kashmiri red deer through to Parsee-style wild boar jardaloo.
Until 25th Oct Papi’s Pickles x A Grape Night In at Unwined, London
South Indian snacks and Sri Lankan short eats with wine? It can be a fine combination, as Papi’s Pickles and A Grape Night In will prove through a month-long Thursday-Sunday collaboration at Unwined in Tooting. Profits are all ploughed into employing South Asian women – all the more reason to eat, drink and be merry.
Until 29th Nov Rotli Crew at The King & Co., London
The King & Co.’s rolling roster of residencies welcomes Rotli Crew to dish up great plates filled with modern Indian fodder with an emphasis on flavoursome, homestyle fare. Authentic regional eats join decadent Desi-fied puds and spiced up Sunday lunches, with a host of specials keeping things fresher still.
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.
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th & 10th Oct Raastawala Dhaba at Stage 3, London
Yabba-dhaba-doo – Raastawala is hitting Hackney for six slick nights celebrating the cuisine of India’s road-side diners; from dahi bora to luchi and kosha mangsho. The final night’s menu moves you to Southeast Asia’s Mamaks; establishments hawking a hybrid cuisine which blends Indian, Chinese, and Malay influences.
East meets West when chefs Bruno Loubet and Cyrus Todiwala join forces to bring guests a very special seasonal supper. Harvesting autumn’s finest produce, the meal commences with a cocktail and comprises four gloriously culture clashing courses like beetroot & coconut rasam with shredded confit of mallard chazaan.
Pints, peanuts and pork scratchings go hand-in-hand but Pop-Up Dosa’s kitchen residency means pub grub equates to authentic Keralite fare. Book in advance for an evening whose veggie menu encompasses both soft and crispy vadas; dosas with all the trimmings; and aluva – a sticky, cashew-studded sweetmeat.
9th & 16th Oct Shared City’s Temple & Tasting Tour of South India, London
Did you know that East Ham is home to an ornate South Indian temple? Shared City’s guide Manju will reveal all as she introduces you to the area’s street life. The tour includes plenty of snacking and shopping stops and culminates in a traditional thali feast at one of the host’s favourite local restaurants.
Asma’s never averse to cooking with a cause. Pubs and afternoon tea aren’t natural bedfellows, but you’d be a food to miss this feast at Soho’s Sun & 13 Cantons. The menu features over a dozen dishes, with savouries by Asma and sweets by My Little Cake Tin, and profits go to Curry For Change.
Dig deep if you’re attending Cyrus and Pervin’s charity dinner – last year’s fundraiser brought in £12,000 and the couple are looking to top this total this time round. As with every event at Cafe Spice Namaste, diners should expect cool company, a very warm welcome, hot gossip, and great food.
Take a right royal appetite to Chaiparty’s noble feast, where the lavish lunch menu comprises dishes drawn from the kitchens that catered to India’s kings and queens. Expect deftly-spiced yet delicate fare which employs decadent dairy, luxurious spices like saffron and cardamom, and sweet, luscious dry fruits.
12-18th Oct National Curry Week, Nationwide
Curry, curry, step right up! The concept of ‘curry’ might be closer to British hearts than Indian ones, but nomenclature aside, NCW marks seven days of lighthearted activities celebrating the food of the subcontinent – a cause that’s surely close to your heart if you’re reading this post.
Cyrus is on a real mission to make a difference this month; on this occasion, he’ll be serving five courses of fine fare in the on-site restaurant at HMP Brixton. As if you needed an excuse to enjoy South Indian beetroot & coconut soup, Parsee lamb, gajar halwa and more, the feast funds The Clink Charity’s work.
15-24th Oct Kothu Kothu at Stage 3, London
If you’ve sampled street eats on the Southbank or other London food markets, you might be familiar with Kothu Kothu – purveyors of the same-named Sri Lankan dish which is best likened to a bread-based hash. Following Raastawala’s residency, find the team popping up at Hackney’s Stage 3.
Flavour perception is largely down to smell, an idea which enticed Pratap Chahal to build a supperclub around scent. Intriguing eats from a fragrant-oils-and-essences-infused menu include mushroom & hemp seed bread, white onion & oud soup, and carrot, patchouli & Atlas cedar wood tart with cassia ice cream
Indian Summer’s tasty autumn lunch is a bit of a triple whammy – serving as a celebration of National Curry Week, a fundraiser for Curry For Change, and reinforcement of Brighton’s bid to become Curry Capital of Britain. Swap your standard Sunday roast for something spicier; tandoori lamb or South Indian-style beef.
Teaming up with the inimitable Angus Denoon of Jhalmuri Express, Shrimoyee Chakraborty brings a bit of Bengali bhojon to Hackney with this edible celebration of the state’s Durga Pujo festival. Accompanying a mega-meal made up of all sorts of traditional street-y eats will be live Indian classical music.
If you love her ‘Indian Kitchen’ cookbook, you’ll no doubt go gaga for the chance to learn from Maunika at a masterclass. After a drink and a demo, you’ll have a hand in creating the feast that will latterly become the dinner you’ll eat alongside the author as you sup a well-earned glass of wine.
Indo-Chinese food isn’t well-known enough in the UK, especially given our national fondness for the two cuisines it combines. Alfred and Jeremy’s class gives a glimpse into all things ‘Szechuan’, ‘Manchurian’, ‘Hakka’ and many more dishes that are products of the historic Chinese migration to Kolkata.