December has dawned and the first window of the advent calendar has been prized open with only slight sadness that the surprise inside was not mithai. The time when un-seasonal Scrooges were allowed to moan at every mention of the ‘C’ word has officially passed. Christmas presents are not far in the future, but you won’t have to wait a single second longer for my gift to you – this great big guide to the ritziest, glitziest, tastiest Indian events to make party season supremely spicy…
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, London
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.
Ongoing Eat at Snigdha’s Table pop-up at the WB Yeats, London
Various dates throughout Dec Spice Angel’s Cookery Classes, Surrey
‘They tried to make me eat a nut roast, I said no, no no.’ If that’s a familiar Christmas cry, check out The Spice Angel’s suggestions for a meat-free menu: Batata Vada with Spouts, Moti Pulao, and Shahi Vegetable Kadhai. At this class, you’ll learn to cook it all – and take it all home with you afterwards.
2nd Dec Jenius Social’s Indian Street Food cookery class, London
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.
2nd, 9th & 19th Dec That Hungry Chef’s A Maharajah Christmas supperclub, London
Yes, yes, of course, Michelin-trained Mr. Chahal’s events always sell out many months in advance – particularly his legendary royal repasts, now in their third year. But it’s always worth keeping your eye out for last-minute cancellations for the chance to devour decadent dishes from palaces all over India.
4th Dec Rotli Crew at #TottenhamSocial, London
A fine final 2016 outing for the Rotli Crew two sees Ben France and Aneesha Noonan catering Craving Coffee cafe’s regular Friday night of ‘bites and brews’. Stuff yourself silly on trademark quirky Indian street eats, then wash it all down with punchy cocktails, boutique wines, and a fair few brews.
5th Dec Pop-Up Dosa’s Kerala Thali Cooking Class, Birmingham
For three blissful hours, Pop-Up Dosa will share the secrets of Keralite cooking with Birmingham’s vegans, vegetarians, and anyone else who cares to savour the fine flavours of this irresistible cuisine. Preparing a thali means you’ll master lots of different dishes, heading home full of both food and knowledge.
5th Dec Beb’s Bites’ Low-Calorie High-Taste Veg Curries, Essex
It’s always handy to have a few healthy crowd-pleasing recipes up your sleeve over the festive period, at a time when most of us are getting fatter faster than the turkey. In Beb’s Woodford home, you’ll say hello to aloo tikku, dal, paneer and peas, and garlic rice. No-fry poppadoms are the icing on the (Christmas) cake.
5th Dec Ren’s Kitchen’s Dinner Party Delights cookery class, London
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.
5th Dec Ren’s Kitchen’s Dinner Curry In A Hurry cookery class, London
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.
17th Dec Rajiv’s Kitchen’s Nepalese Christmas supperclub, London
Host Rajiv Kc is perpetually in party mood, and knows how to throw a cracking Christmas bash. He’s also a generously-spirited soul, and will be donating 20% of his takings to a cancer charity – even more of a reason to make a date with momos, meatballs, mutton curry and much more.
23rd Dec Cafe Spice Namaste’s Khaadraas Club, London
If you’ve yet to get to Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala’s family-style supperclubs, there’s no better time to discover their delights than this December. Christmas Eve eve marks the 50th anniversary of the monthly gastronomic gatherings whose warm hosts and authentic Parsi cuisine draws foodies from far and wide.
- To read more about Rajiv’s Kitchen, click here
- To read more about That Hungry Chef, click here
- To read more about Pervin Todiwala, click here
- To read more about Parsi cuisine, click here