Long haul flights are never a pleasant thing regardless of how much leg room you’ve got or how much alcohol you’ve consumed. But there’s nothing like being greeted by dear friends at the airport who have their priorities dead on target – before the hugs and squeals the proclamation, “we brought champagne” set the weary traveller’s heart at rest. Technically, it was 5 am UK time, but what’s a few hours between friends!? Having settled into the hotel, and between taking a breath to talk excitedly, the rumbling of the stomach indicated that there needed to be some food sent its way. With luck being on my side, and having about 7 restaurants in the hotel to choose from, the common consensus nestled on some light Japanese.
I have to say, walking down Launceston Place and the preceding streets, one cannot help but gaze dreamily at what can only be described as a lovely, pretty neighbourhood. Of course, any desires of wanting to settle down in a cottage in one of the dreamy mews are soon dashed as reality comes kicking in far too soon. Nevertheless, I wasn’t there to house hunt or even dream of house hunting. A last minute decision to meet a fellow tweeter ended up in my arriving at the D&D restaurant, Launceston Place. It’s head chef, Tristan Welch, of Great British Menu fame presiding over one of the groups, alleged, ‘better’ restaurants.
My expedition of discovering London’s best Indian eateries has been quite a roller coaster this year. Just a week short of going back home to India, I thought I’d give it one last shot at one of the more upmarket and well known haunts, Rasoi by Vineet Bhatia. A chef who’s been making marks since being one of the first Indian chefs to win a Michelin star for his restaurant Zaika, and also started the trend of modern Indian food, Vineet went on to open Rasoi after Zaika and was soon given a star again. To curry or not curry? What on earth is a curry? That by which name Indian food is so well known, and as Lizzie Collingham in her brilliant book “Curry: A biography” explains, is not a defining term for a dish, but rather a western generalised description, an Asian version of gravy, coined during the days of the Raj. Nevertheless, an anthropological discourse on food is not the order of the day, and before I get even more carried away on the matter, lets see what there was on offer.