If you were planning on juicing it up and detoxing in June, forget it. London Food Month, the UK’s largest food festival and a mega-celebration of our city as the hottest culinary capital on the planet, kicked off a couple of days ago and is all set to take us by storm.
London’s status as culinary powerhouse resides in the diversity of cuisines it offers – a gift of the diverse communities that call it home. With a momentous election looming, it’s hard not to feel politically about it (make sure you vote!). I’m not alone – co-curator of London Food Month, food writer Tom Parker Bowles, said at the opening night:
“Food brings us together. Its unifying power is immense. In London, this great and glorious monument to immigration, we have all the world in one place. Immigration makes London great and it also makes it the best place in the world to eat.”
And so, over the month of June, a vibrant food market and over 400 events curated by the Evening Standard, will mark London’s unique food culture. There will be one-off events by some of the best chefs in Britain and beyond – Fergus Henderson, Angela Hartnett, David Thompson – and intimate supperclubs, free community events, and masterclasses. While some events are certainly at a high price point, many are accessible especially given the value that they offer. Th full schedule is here.
Needless to say, Londoners are going to be truly spoilt for choice this month. Fret not though, we’ve honed in on the best that’s South Asian, so you don’t have to.
High Chai at Chit Chaat Chai
We featured Chit Chaat Chai earlier this year in our top desi haunts to check out in 2017. If you still haven’t been, what better opportunity than their offering of that most desi of pastimes – a chatpatta high tea. You can spice up your afternoon with street food staples such as samosa chaat, bhel, qeema sloppy joe and tandoori chicken bites, as well as intriguing sweet creations such as chai-spiced brownies.
Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June 2017, 1pm – 5pm (the table is yours for up to 1.5 hours). 356 Old York Road, SW18 1SS, 020 8480 2364, chitchaatchai.com/high-chai-afternoon-tea-weekend-june-1516. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your spot.
Hotbox Smokes Curry
You wouldn’t normally associate an American BBQ spot with Pakistani food but Hotbox are planning on just that. For one night only, co-founder Basit Nasim will be combining his passion for smoked BBQ and the Pakistani flavours he grew up with to create a feast. What’s more, Basit’s mother will be supervising in the kitchen to bring you that all-important ghar ka khaana experience. The menu includes smoked goat biryani (swoon-worthy!), Karachi style soft shell crab fry, mooli parathas and lots more mouth-watering goodness.
Iftar at Dishoom
Dishoom continue their lovely tradition of offering an iftar menu every year and, in keeping with the essence of Ramzaan, they now donate one meal to charity for every guest who dines with them. This Ramzaan the man behind Dishoom’s culinary brilliance Executive Chef Naved Nasir is hosting an iftar on the 21st of June at the King’s Cross branch. He’ll share his stories about Ramadan alongside dishes from the subcontinent’s hallowed iftar repertoire – dahi vada, nihari, and hearty haleem.
Guests are asked to make a minimum donation of £30 towards Seeds of Peace, a charity helping teenagers from regions of conflict.
While you digest all of that, have a look at Chef Naved’s illuminating piece on the historical and cultural significance of haleem here.
Wednesday 21 June 2017. 5 Stable Street N1 4AB 020 7420 923, www.dishoom.com. Email email@example.com to book your spot
Jamavar’s South Indian Tasting Menu
Jamavar, the jewel of the Leela Palace and Hotels that has embellished the London Indian food scene since the beginning of this year, is offering a 4-course South Indian tasting menu for lunch throughout June. Typically, the menu at Jamavar is tilted more towards North Indian cuisine so this is a unique opportunity to sample South Indian fare that will feature hot and heady notes from Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, and the fiery Chettinad cooking of Tamil Nadu.
8 Mount Street, London W1K 3NF, 020 7499 1800, www.jamavarrestaurants.com. Lunch only throughout June except Sundays.
Mother-daughter duo Aaliyah and Siddika are dishing up a 6-course tasting menu of East African Indian flavours from Zanzibar at the MzuriKhana supperclub. The menu hasn’t yet been disclosed and will be presented to guests on the night. A due diligence peak at some of their previous supperclubs reveals an array of East African classics such as mandazi and kuku paka as well as more familiar Indian dishes such as khichra, samosas and falooda. What’s not to like?
By Rida Bilgrami.
Posted on 3 June 2017