In order to get a full flavour of the capital’s cuisine, one must include Indian food. Accordingly, Taste of London’s Winter edition features Desi delights courtesy of some of the industry’s finest possible purveyors; from Michelin-starred chefs to a top chocolatier. If you’re visiting the festival’s festive instalment this week, here’s a handy guide to when and where to meet ’em, greet ’em, and eat with ’em…
The restaurant empire-owning chef, MBE, OBE, charity campaigner, cookbook author and all-round legend that is Cyrus will be celebrating Cafe Spice Namaste‘s 20th year of booming business, sharing Bombay-Goan bites, Parsi delights and quite probably much more besides. While his Incredible Spicemen colleague Tony Singh might be absent, he’ll have sterling support in the form of incredible spicewoman Pervin – the chef’s wife and partner in business and every other aspect of life.
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Cafe Spice Namaste will be serving typically fine fare all festival long, with something on offer to suit all eaters – from complex chickpea xacutti to to proper Parsi dhaansaak, via fiery fish curry from Goa and an unusual venison kati roll stuffed full of especially well-bred meat from Denham Estates.
Still hungry? On Saturday, see the chef cooking up a spice-fuelled storm in the AEG Taste Theatre at noon. Sunday will be spent answering your most burning queries in A Question of Taste session at 12.30, then bringing the heat to The Fire Pit winter barbecue at 4pm.
Obsessed with simultaneously honouring and reimagining regional, traditional food from all over the subcontinent, Alfred had cooked for spice-lovers all over the world – in restaurant kitchens, at cookery schools and festivals, on cruise ships, in high-class hotels, and even at Kew Gardens. At the age of 29, he became the youngest Indian chef to earn a Michelin star whilst at Tamarind of Mayfair; thirteen years later, Alfred’s first solo venue shimmers on London’s horizon and his debut cookbook is in the pipeline.
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Indo-Chinese cuisine isn’t rather little-known in the UK, and that’s a great big shame. From Hakka noodles through to chilli paneer and gobi Manchurian, it’s a lip-smacking fusion of two country’s culinary cultures; blending techniques, textures, flavours and ingredients to incredible effect.
At Taste of London, Alfred’s paired up with School of Wok founder and cookbook author Jeremy Pang to show just how pleasing Indo-Chinese food can be – check the duo’s demo out at 2pm on Sunday at the AEG Taste Theatre.
For well over a decade, Rakesh has ensured that The Cinnamon Club has remained one of the country’s best-known and loved modern Indian restaurants. Having begun as Chef de Partie then rising through the ranks as Sous Chef, then Senior Sous, then finally head chef, Drake’s Started from the Bottom could well be his theme song; except that this chef is quietly committed to his craft and doesn’t make much of a song and dance about his superior skills. That job is left to the delighted diners who’ve eaten his fine fare.
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On the festival’s first evening, Rakesh will be getting Taste of London-ers all hot and bothered with a 7pm cooking demonstration at The Fire Pit, and will no doubt make a stellar case for the notion that barbecues are for life and not just for the few weeks of sort-of summer we get in the UK.
With three fine Indian diners under his belt and in his empire, and his face familiar from both television and food festivals the world over, Vivek needs little introduction. From masterminding a menu of haute and spicy fare at The Cinnamon Club to creating city-slick cuisine in the city at Cinnamon Kitchen and serving Sohoites urban, playful food at Cinnamon Soho, he’s endlessly adept at creating a concept that not only woos his intended audience, but keeps them captivated and coming back for more.
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See just what that Singh thing is all about at Taste of London’s AEG Taste Theatre, where Vivek will be cooking for a crowd at 7pm on Thursday… Or get a pre-festival flavour with this recipe for The Cinnamon Club’s Tandoori-style sandalwood chicken breasts with cucumber yogurt.
Ask any of the chefs – as The Chocolatier, Aneesh fits out many Michelin establishments with his wonderful wares. Yet to hit thirty, he’s clocked up more industry accolades than years on earth, and creates some out-of-this-world chocolate; often with an Indian accent. Try truffles that taste of kulfi; spiced, dairy-free water ganaches; mukwas-strewn chocolate bars; chai tea almonds; and cherry, chocolate and cardamom jam.
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Aneesh will be selling a plethora of his products throughout Taste of London. Catch him in the producer’s market – he might even slip you a sample if you ask nicely.
- Taste of London – 19-22th Nov at Tobacco Dock. For more information click here.
- Read more about Cyrus’s wife Pervin Todiwala here
- Read more about Parsi cuisine here
- Read more about Alfred Prasad here
- Read more about Indo-Chinese cuisine here
- Read an interview with Vivek Singh here
- Read more about The Chocolatier here
Main image: Cyrus Todiwala’s modern Goan cuisine at Assado Waterloo