Goodness I do love the food of India. From the dosa & lentil-y more-ishness of South Indian vegetarian cooking to the coconutty goodness of Keralan cuisine, I have yet to meet a plate of Indian food that didn’t make me want to chirp with happiness.
So imagine the happy noises that emanated from our table at Hix at Selfridges on Tuesday night, when we read the menu for Ravinder Bhogal’s one night only Punjabi feast that she cooked in memory of her father. Ravinder is more often known as Cook in Boots, the name of her lovely cookbook, and is hands down one of the most utterly delightful food people I know.*
The restaurant normally takes seventy bookings, but there were a hundred in the packed sell out room, including lots of food-minded people, all lured in by Ravinder’s cooking. We spotted John Torode, eating with Masterchef winners Dhruv Baker & Lisa Faulkner, Wahaca’s Tommi Miers, Gizzi Erskine and, quietly tucking in, in a corner, Yotam Ottolenghi (swoon).
There were Punjabi Papad Scotch eggs and tamarind & jaggery quails, served with masala chips at the beginning. The biryani was mutton, which Ravinder told us she cooked for seven hours, (I had a special lentil biryiani rice instead). There was also monkfish cooked with spinach and a turnip saag dish, a recipe handed down from Ravinder’s great grandmother which had us contemplating licking the bowl out. (And I didn’t even think I liked turnips). And a wonderful pomegranate raita.
The star for me was the green spiced paneer, which I could happily have eaten all evening, and there was also a delicious moong dahl and wondrous flatbreads:
And we finished with a pistachio kulfi scattered with rose petals which shut me up for a full thirty seconds.
*(Interests of disclosure – we are both repped by the same agency).