Wednesday, 14 December 2011

christmas with a dishoom

love the stick-on christmas hats on this picture
o's birthday was gluttony personified. after our grand breakfast at hawksmoor guildhall we were due at dishoom in the evening for a christmas tweet-up. we therefore imposed a period of fasting upon ourselves for the remainder of the day, drinking copious amounts of cardamom laced jasmine tea to create space. 

i love dishoom tweet-ups not just because of the food but also because dishoom wallah's always bring together an eclectic bunch of people from food lovers to literature lovers, journalists and so forth. on this monday we met a couple one of whom worked at bbc radio and the other who writes for wired and has recently completed her own book. the dishoom (bar) wallah was good company and o and i had much conversation about mixology with him. as always it is a pleasure to be in the company of one of the founding dishoom wallah's shamil thakrar. i think the highlight of my evening was rather animated discussion that i had with his wife on public health, the state of the nhs and medicare in the us. 

bailey's chai and naughty chocolate chai
the christmas tweet-up was all about the naughty chai's, the four of which are rich, creamy and alcohol spiked concoctions. lacing the subcontinental version of tea with alcohol along with the customary spice is the best cure for winter blues and chills. the bailey's, naughty chocolate and egg nog chai's are desserts in liquid form. they are thick in texture and  flavour. the bailey's chai is half tea and half bailey's with a crown of cream served like the foam on a latte. when you sip the chai you get a match of creamy flavours. i am not a fan of bourbon at all but in the chocolate chai a dark chocolate syrup of subdued sweetness blunts the edges of the bourbon. i absolutely love it! chai egg nog is akin to a thin custard spiked with rum and brightened with nutmeg and cinnamon. the cognac chai is quite distinct both in terms of flavour and thinness. i didn't really take to this one but only because i'm not a fan of cognac. i recall trying the winter pimm's and desi mulled wine but by then my palette was chai fatigued and i feel i need to revisit these two to tell you what they are like. 

turkey raan, bombay potatoes, masala greens and cranberry chutney
as for the food. i am so glad somebody came and told me that it was turkey raan otherwise i would have never ended up trying it. see, despite being a pakistani i'm not a fan of lamb. i am very well aware that lamb raan is a real delicacy but it just doesn't cut it for me. it's the smell of the fatty meat that makes me queasy. but turkey raan, turkey raan is something i'd have any day. turkey has a propensity to go dry unless it is given attention and care. at dishoom the turkey undergoes a rigorous marinading, dry rubbing and braising procedure which delivers it to the us in tender strips with bombay potatoes and masala green beans on the side. there is also a cranberry chutney with a chili led warmth on the side.  

chili mince pies with spiced custard
for dessert, dishoom gave us mince pies with some added chili to kick up the heat. there was a lovely rich custard heavy with vanilla and a little spice with it. my only gripe on this one is that there isn't enough mincemeat. the ratio between the pastry and mince-meat needs to be jigged a little bit with a less thick pastry to more mince-meat.  

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