Too many Indians

     A few years ago, the Indian government declared that I was an undesirable and as such would not grant me an extension to my Visa. I thought of just staying on, but the local “Fixer” was heard to say” Oh No Sir, not a good idea Sir, Mother in law end up in Jail Sir” so needless to say. not fancying my chances in the largest prison in South Asia, I was persuaded it best to leave!

As a compensation we dined in a restaurant called “Indian Accents” and what Himself described as the best meal he had ever eaten. Indian Accents is a restaurant in a boutique Hotel, called the Manor. This in turn is owned by an Indian run company that runs more than 40 hotels and a few restaurants. Among them is Chor Bizarre ( chor =thief and Bizarre= well Bizarre!) Chor Bizarre is to be found in Connaught Place, New Delhi in a building which is typical of Luytens Delhi and is quite frankly BIZARRE, but the food is great! And more to come as there is a branch of this restaurant in London!! So I must put it on my “must try” list.

So onto another Indian restaurant in Central London, called Banares. And it has a Michelin Star! I first went there with ” The Ladies Who Lunch”. 

Lunch time is always affordable and we were not disappointed. However this weekend, was another dining experience, a private event, hosted by the chef/owner of Benares and his team. Atul Kochhar, started his career in New Delhi  working for the Oberoi group of hotels ( and I have to say that breakfast in the Oberoi was always good). So in London, he runs Benares and has recently opened Sindhu in Marlow. He is also involved with some cruise lines and a coup for Marks and Spencer, he is their consultant for their Indian Range of foods.

So we were wined and dined and the evening started with a cocktail called, Mumbai Sling, a drink made with gin, lime juice, palm sugar and ice. I have to say it tasted much like my own version of a Citron Presse ( fortified that is) pressed lemons sugar and gin, so good you think you are just drinking lemonade, how wrong can you be?? 

So onto our dinner. For the amuse bouche we were served Aloo Chaat Anarkali ( potato salad with sweet yoghurt foam and pomegranite sauce). For the starter it was Thandi Jal Murghi, ( Duck terrine with Bakarh bread and tamarind chutney). 

I have eaten Aloo Chat several times whilst in India, this was a much more refined version.The duck terrine was lovely and so was the bread, a sort of glazed and crisp naan, hoever the swish of sauce on the plate is never my favourite,  and this was no exception, it looked pretty but by the time it arrived on the table, and as the plates were warm, it had dried and hence no sauce, a shame really. 

The fish course was Meen Moilee, Sea Bass with coconut gravy and beetroot mash, a lovely contrast of a creamy yellow sauce and deep red/burgundy of the beetroot. The main course was equaly delicious and consisted of Chaampan Da Saag Gosht, Rack of Lamb with Polenta and spinach puree.

Indian meals do not usually have a great selction of desserts, but this time we were in for a treat, it was something called Rangeela, which was Cardamon and orange sponge with three different types of Ice Cream, Raspberry, Pistachio and ginger. along wth some softe berries on the side.

So Atul has written another book, and I think it is already on my Wish list, after all, what makes for better bedtime reading, than another cook book. It has been said that Britian has become obsessed with cooking shows on TV and the purchase of cookery books. The average home has a dozen books but only cooks from 9 recipes!, not in this household, my mother onced remarked that she never knew what she was going to be given for dinner in my house! And that is surely true, just ask Himself ! 

Accentuate the positive

Eating our way around Mexico ( again) or Accentuate the positive!

In London towers, we had another significant event, well not actually London Towers, and not even close by. But wherever it was, it was a good reason to try yet another nice restaurant.

Biko is in Polanço, Mexico City, is listed as one of the best restaurants in the world and stands at # 30! A couple of years ago we tried another in Polanço, Pujol, with which I was not duly impressed. Having eaten now widely in Mexico, attended a couple of cooking classes, been on street food tours, I feel I have a good understanding of Mexican cuisine, and Tex Mex it is not.

So to Biko, a Wednesday evening in November , the temperature warmish, the traffic as usual in this part of town, dreadful. Biko is located just off President Mazaryke , which is the main road in this part of town, and where one can find most of the smarter shops and cafes., that is when it is not being dug up, which seems to be most of the time.
So let us start with the positives, we were warmly welcomed, our chief waiter introduced himself and explained how their menu worked. Nickinlaw ( family joke) duly explained, the girls had Kir Royal ( more Kir than royal, which had to be diluted with more champagne, of course) whilst the boys had a deconstructed Bloody Mary, in this case, Tequila with spicy tomato juice on the side. Interesting!

We chose the tasting Menu, which consisted of 7 courses, albeit they were small. And here comes the negatives, Grey seems to have been the colour theme of the evening, ( in Pujol it was beige), almost everything was various shades of Grey ( and not, I add 50 Shades of Grey, might have been more exciting if it had been!) The fois gras was grey, the tuna, grey/pink and the pork grey / white. And the restaurant it self was Grey, or beige or Dull. Food tasted OK service was Ok, atmosphere, not Ok. Reading various comments on Trip Advisor ( not always the best source of information, I must admit) others too were underwhelmed.Pricey? Yes, worth a second visit, No, there are too many very good restaurants, to go to one that we think mediocre. I wonder sometimes, who actually ranks the restaurants, and the criteria used for the rankings.

Meanwhile back at London Towers, we had a first! A First was a take-away! We have had in the past, I must admit had en Famille a Pizza Movie Night, especially confined in the Snowy Mountains of France, where we drive down 7 hair-raising hairpin bends, slip-sliding to the original Pizza Hut……. La Cabane, a little wooden hut, which night after night just makes Pizza, to go, and whilst you wait serves either a Vin Chaud or a soupçon of vin rouge.all over the French Alps it is possible to find these small, Take Aways, usually Pizza, but sometimes Pasta.
But this was a real, live delivered to your front door, take away. And I have to confess, that after being out all day, it was a great meal. Might just do it again! Watch this space!!