Monday, April 18, 2005

Masala night

Spent a chilled evening catching up with friends after work. We met in Soho's Alphabet Bar for mohitos and caipirinhas, then walked round the corner for an Indian (as opposed to a Bangladeshi) at the modern, open-plan and split-level Masala Zone.

Masala Zone serves tasty, earthy Indian street food such as dahi puris (bowl-shaped, feather-light wafers filled with spiced chickpea and potato) and chana dabalroti (chickpeas, lotus root and toasted bread); thalis (including ayurvedic), noodles and curries; nimbu pani (salt water lemonade), sweet and salty yoghurt lassis, beer and wine.

Indian street food is comfort eating of the highest order in my thoroughly biased opinion, and my fondest memories of India are of eating deep-fried puffy vegetable samosas or lamb cutlets with tamarind sauce and drinking freshly-squeezed sugarcane or sweetened lime juice from a steel beaker, whilst perched on rickety metal benches, in makeshift tin huts, as cars and lorries hurtle by.

Tonight, we had mixed starters, including minced lamb patties and chickpea samosas, and then substantial lamb thalis -- metal platters with timbales of rice, poppadoms, chapatis, dhal, gobi (cauliflower) bhaji, coriander and mango chutnies, and tender curried lamb stew.

We were too stuffed to even finish our plates, let alone have one of their delicious desserts -- such as creamy srikhand (strained yoghurt with saffron), sticky gulab jamun, and mango kulfi (dense Indian icecream).

Oh well, there's always next time.

Related links:

+ Up Bombay. "Long before it appears on the world's hippest menus, India's most authentic cuisine - the street food of Mumbai - can be sampled for a few rupees from the city's myriad and varied stalls. 'Western people do not understand street food. It is all about someone doing one brilliant dish for years, passing the spice mix and secret ingredients down through the family and everyone in the city knowing the best stalls.' " The Observer Food Monthly on Mumbai's street food.

+ It's curry, but not as we know it. "New wave Indian restaurateurs are eschewing the traditional image of chicken tikka, lager and flock wallpaper in favour of stylish interiors and posh cuisine. But one thing never changes - wherever you eat your curry, you can be sure they've got nothing like it in downtown Bombay." The Observer Food Monthly on the "new wave" of Indian cooking in Britain.

Other link today:

+ Navigating open source licensing. "The decision to use an open source license can plunge Web professionals into a mire of patent, trademark and copyright law. In this expose, Sitepoint speaks with Eric Raymond, cofounder of the Open Source Initiative, in an effort to untangle the complexities of open source licensing."

No comments: