The Desi Digest – Hot Indian food finds for September

Don’t just use the term ‘Indian summer’ to refer to a last-minute sizzling spell: this September, use it to describe a Desi-cated calendar month that’s laden with an abundant harvest of South Asian spice and all things nice. The holidays might be over, but the fun’s just beginning…

The gossip: Kricket moves central

Kricket Soho Denman Street new opening London Will Bowlby Brixton Indian restaurant

If it’s tricky for you to pop to POP Brixton but you’re a fan of what YBF-nominated Will Bowlby’s up to at Kricket, you’ll be delighted to know that the innovative Indian joint has a rather more central second site in the offing. If Denman Street isn’t already on your radar from trips to much-loved Thai barbecue venue, Smoking Goat, then prepare to meet Soho’s hottest street when Kricket opens the doors to its shiny new two-floor, 70-cover restaurant this November.

And it’s not just the space that’s more sizeable – the menu already expands on the Brixton site’s capsule collection of dishes, with an in-house tandoor and robata grill at the chefs’ disposal. You’ll be able to reserve a table and drink at a dedicated bar, all the while admiring award-winning interiors guru Run for the Hills’ slick design.

In the interim, you might like to know that the original Kricket is currently serving up a host of seasonal specials ideal for an Indian summer: think Cornish crab moilee, torched mackerel with puffed brown rice and gooseberry chutney, and cracking cocktails like the star anise-spiced Chakra Phool and the absinthe-based Yellow Fairy.

  • Kricket Soho will open at 12 Denman Street, London 7HH by the end of 2016Follow @kricketbrixton on Twitter for the latest news.
  • Kricket is at POP Brixton,  49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ. For more information, click here

The celebration: Veeraswamy’s 90th Anniversary

Veeraswamy London's oldest Indian restaurant Piccadilly

In case you missed the memo, 2016 marks the year that London’s oldest surviving Indian restaurant enters its 10th decade. Veeraswamy was initially owned by General William Palmer’s great grandson, Edward Palmer, and the venue’s 90th birthday celebrations see a royal repast recreated. Items on the anniversary menu include rich dishes like Asafjahi lamb pasanda, shahi raan, and Shahjahani badami chicken. Expect old-fashioned hospitality… and to require rolling out post-feast.

  • Veeraswamy, Victory House, 99 Regent Street, London W1B 4RS. For menus, more information, and to book, click here

The performance: Darbar Festival 2016

Darbar music festival Indian South Asian Southbank Centre London

They say music is the food of love, so prepare to fall head over feels for the sensory feast that is the Southbank’s annual Darbar festival. An array of Indian classical artists including Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Aruna Sairam, and Vishal Jain come together with the likes of Matthew Barley and the Philharmonia Orchestra for your aural enjoyment, whilst a fabulous fringe programme includes film screenings and Yogabliss sessions.


Book early for your chance to snag a seat on the festival f-row amongst the featured musicians and VIPs.

  • Darbar Festival 2016 takes place at the Southbank Centre from 12-18 September, various prices. For more information and to book, click here

The knowledge: Indian Tapas & Craft Beer Pairing

London Chaiparty Indian tapas and craft beer ale pairing Islington pub pop-up supperclub

Many bemoan the way it’s so difficult to combine wine with Indian food; and, with so many delicious craft ales around, my view is, why bother? Beer is sensational with spice – as you’ll discover with winsome pairings curated by pop-upists London Chaiparty and the experts from The Joker, Islington. Half-a-dozen Desi dishes take you from Kolkata to Kochi, with accompanying ales spanning the spectrum from pale blonde to darkest brunette.

  • ‘Indian Tapas & Craft Beer Pairing’ takes place on 15 September from 7pm and costs £55. For more information and to book via Table, click here

The new venue: New Delis

New Delis bowl food Indian Grays Inn Road London restaurant Clerkenwell healthy

This new Clerkenwell eaterie wants to make it known that it’s not just cricket where India excels at bowling. Centred around ‘bowl food’, New Deli’s menu invites diners to create a custom one-dish curry or stir-fry by selecting a sauce or grain, plus a protein and a heat level. from the indulgent to the saintly, you’ll be ‘bowled’ over by choice.

Whet your appetite

Slow-cooked, hot-spiced DHABA-WALLA LAMB CURRY

Orissa-style DETOX DALMA lentil & mixed vegetable curry

Northeast Indian fusion MIZO CURRY RAMEN spiced chicken noodle soup

MUM’S POWER BOWL combining rice, mixed lentils, potato mash, onion salad & papad

Spiced SEAFOOD STIR-FRY with brown rice, Basmati or noodles


Beyond the bowls, you can choose from  chaats, grills and snacks like Bombay sliders, Hakka chilli chicken, and superfood-packed bhajia.

  • New Delis, 35 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8PG. For more information, follow @newdelis on Twitter and visit the website here

The product: Northern Monk’s Mango Lassi Heathen IPA

northern_monk_heathen Mango Lassi IPA beer lager

I was put onto this fruity beauty when The Bear BBQ – aka walking ale encyclopaedia Keith Burrowes –  brought it along to a Darjeeling Express pop-up, where we supped it up alongside a Calcutta supper. Intriguingly including lactose along with real mango, it not only smells and tastes totally tropical but has a thick, slightly-lassi-like mouthfeel. It’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly interesting.

Why not try…

Freezing the IPA in ice lolly moulds for a boozy finale to your next takeaway night

The supperclub: Caramel Kitchen’s Indian Summer Afternoon Tea

Caramel Kitchen Bombay burger sliders Indian Summer afternoon tea pop-up supperclub London

Afternoon teas are 10 a rupee these days, so go for one with that’s both a little different and decidedly Desi. Although you’ll get to whet your whistle with mango and cardamom lassi, masala and chocolate chais, and nimbu pani with elderflower ice cubes, Caramel Kitchen’s bring-your-own-bottle policy means you can lubricate the afternoon however you please. However, you’ll need to ensure you leave ample space to sample the myriad morsels that are guaranteed to leave table and belt groaning under the strain.

What’s on the menu?

Masala popcorn
Mini achari chicken pies
Paneer & caramelised onion wrap
Tiny Bombay potato pies
Mum’s famous South African bhajias
Mini sweetcorn & coriander quiches
Prawn, tomato & cumin puris

Saffron & pistachio madeleines
Cardamom & chocolate cheesecake
Dark chocolate, orange & pistachio brownies
Mini pavlovas with passion fruit curd
Rose & pistachio loaf cake
Scones with rose & raspberry jam

  • Caramel Kitchen’s Indian Summer Afternoon Tea takes place on 25 September from 2-6pm in Vauxhall and costs £35.64 per person. For more information and to book, click here

The cookbook: The Art of Parsi Cooking

he Art of Parsi Cooking cookbook Niloufer Mavalvala Austin Macauley

If you adore the food of Parsi food purveyor Cyrus Todiwala, you’ll no doubt relish the opportunity to get up close and personal with this fascinating food culture courtesy of author Niloufer Mavalvala. A cracking confluence of Persian and Indian traditions, Parsi cuisine is distinctive, delicious, and every bit as easy to gobble up as the stories of how it came about.

Cook the book: Parsi-style comfort Sunday lunch

FEAST ON: Roast gos – Sunday lamb roast
SERVE WITH: Paapri – Parsi field beans & potatoes & Tamater per eedu – Eggs on tomtoes
SWEET FINALE: Doodh pak – Milky almost & rice pudding

  • To read more about Parsi food, click here
  • To read about #MyLondonSupperclubs in September, click here
  • For more Indian afternoon tea inspiration and recipes, click here

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