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Christmas Feast at Dishoom, London

Earlier this month I was very lucky to win the competition on Kavey Eats for a Christmas Feast for 2 at Dishoom (named from the comedy ‘dishoom’ punching noise you so often get in Bollywood fight scenes). I’ve seen lots of tweets about how great Dishoom is, and I have spent time drooling (and reminiscing) over the menu on their website. So I was really excited to win the prize, plus I never win anything!

The menu is a mixture of Christmassy items (turkey, mince pies, warm spiced pimms) and classic Indian dishes (bhel puri, roti and naan, dhal and chai). Everything was beautifully spiced, just the right amount of heat and lots of aromatic spices, and authentic too but with a little twist.

We started off with a Winter Pimms for me and a Mango and Fennel Lassi for Mr. Giraffe. The pimms was like Christmas in a glass – lightly spiced with a dash of calvados and apple juice. The fennel with the mango lassi was surprisingly excellent, not overpowering at all, it worked just right.

First up we were served a selection of chutneys to go with our meal. Tamarind chutney, a cooling yoghurt and mint raita and a very hot house made chilli chutney.

Next up, bhel puri. This is one of my favourite things to eat in the world ever, everyone should have this at least once in my life – either made by my Mum or at Dishoom – I get the pleasure of being able to try both! Bhel is a mixture of puffed rice, spiced chickpeas, onion, lots of coriander and tamarind chutney. Sometimes with potato as well. At Dishoom the bhel had roasted crunchy chickpeas (a nice alternative to the normal kind) and pomegranate seeds which gave a lovely sweet flavour and extra crunch. I wanted to lick the bowl clean but we were in a public place, so I didn’t.

The mains all came at once so at this point we definitely felt like we were feasting! The centrepiece was the ‘flaming turkey raan’. A whole turkey leg slow roasted with spices and then shredded, served with crispy crushed Bombay potatoes and charred chilli green beans. Everyone should cook turkey like this.
We also had a lovely vegetable biryani and an amazing deeply savoury and excellently spiced black dhal. . We were also given a selection of roti and naan, all house made, I could see the man at the other side of the restaurant shaping and cooking them fresh to order.

All the food is perfectly spiced, nothing is just pure heat, it is spiced too – quite a different thing and hard to achieve well.

Pudding was some chilli mince pies, lovely crumbly pastry with rich mincemeat and flecks of red chilli, served with spiced custard, yummy! We also had a passionfruit ‘gola ice’ which was lovely shards of fruity ice, perfect to cool off after the mains.

We finished up with chai, naturally. I had a Baileys chai which does an amazing job of warming you right through. Mr. Giraffe had an ordinary chai which was pretty authentic, and lovely.

We’ll definitely be coming back to Dishoom for their normal menu. The bhel puri and the house dhal are worth going back for alone.  The Christmas menu is served until the 24th December, so hurry!

Thanks so much for having us Dishoom, we had a great time trying your menu out!

The British Larder, Suffolk

The British Larder blog has been one of my favourites for a long time, I love the recipes and the focus on local food, as well as the stunning photography. When I heard they had opened a pub restaurant last year it was on my list of places to go.

It is about an hour and a half from Cambridge, two if you go the scenic route (and your sat nav diverts you through all the horrible bank holiday traffic in Ipswich), so we tied it in with a trip to Orford and Aldeburgh for foodie shopping and a walk on the coastline.

We ate in the bar and had a deli board each, which is a really good way to sample all the different flavours the British Larder has to offer. They are incredibly well thought out and everything is perfectly made, exceptional. And for £12 they are really reasonably priced.

I had the Dingley Dell Pork Tasting Board which featured the most impressive scotch egg I’ve ever seen and tasted. Shredded slow cooked pork with a perfectly cooked egg and crispy exterior. My platter also had a chicken and pork terrine, puy lentil and ham hock salad, the most beautiful celeriac remoulade (with whole mustard seeds in, something I am going to do next time I make it), a vibrant and sweet pea and ham soup, locally made bread (from the Pump Street Bakery) and a perfect green salad.

The husband had the vegetarian deli board which was also excellent. Aubergine and tomato cavair, pearl barley salad, gorgeous spiced sweetcorn fritters, Suffolk Gold cheddar straws, olives, broad bean and white bean hummus, homemade tomato mayonnaise (I didn’t let him call it burger sauce!) more local bread and that lovely green salad again.

The little additions like the mixture of different breads, soft creamy butter and perfectly cooked thinly sliced beetroot were lovely.

Naturally I had to opt for pudding, I always leave room. I picked what was hailed as their ‘famous’ treacle tart, and it was amazing. It was huge, just the thing for a pudding lover like me. Served with white chocolate ice cream and caramel sauce. The inside of it was lightly spiced, it reminded me of the Indian dessert ‘gulab jambu’ - which is a pretty impressive thing to achieve in a treacle tart.

We also had coffee and tea which was served with little cocoa dusted meringues.

We will definitely be going back, the Sunday roast looks fantastic, the British Larder hasn’t been open long and I think is still getting its name out there, so go and support them, everything is as local as possible and cooked perfectly. I can’t wait to go again!

We also visited Orford whilst we were there for bagels and doughnuts from the Pump Street Bakery and scallops from Pinneys of Orford. And then on to Aldeburgh for goodies from Lawsons Deli. A lovely day out! Suffolk has fantastic food.

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