This week Snita Pandoria, our Food Writer & Fine Dining specialist steps in to give her say on which of London’s Indian restaurants are giving our local curry house a run for their money. Offering a refined alternative, here we round-up food inspired by India’s Dabbawalas with Bombay Bustle, to vibrant vegetarian and vegan meals from Comfort & Joy by Jikoni: each who deliver stories as rich as the flavours inside.
Words: Snita Pandoria
Craving more than your standard local Indian takeaway? These five fabulous restaurants in London offers Indian meal kits will scratch that fine dining itch. Promising to recreate the luxurious experience of dining out, these meal kits will bring the aromas, flavours and decadence of Indian cuisine straight to your door.
The Cinnamon Club
This Spring, the iconic restaurant, The Cinnamon Club celebrated their 20th year anniversary by launching their sumptuous 20th Anniversary At Home kit. This spectacular meal kit created by Chef Vivek Singh brings their special celebration to your kitchen. The six-course anniversary menu is a veritable feast inspired by the most delicious dishes from the past two decades of serving satisfied patrons.
The feast begins with a line-up of award-winning canapés including Bengali beetroot cake with Kasundi ketchup, and cured salmon carpaccio jhal muri. These are followed up with delectable starters of Sandalwood tandoori chicken breast and coriander chutney; and tandoor spiced grilled prawns with curried yoghurt. The main event is a tamarind glazed duck breast, Hyderbadi salan with pumpkin chutney and peanut crumble, a gilded whole melt-in-the-mouth lamb leg ‘Raan’ with nutmeg and peppercorn sauce; served with unctuous 24-hour cooked black lentils, bejewelled biryani rice, and aromatic saffron sheermal bread.
Dessert is The Cinnamon Club’s signature mango shrikhand – a silky smooth yoghurt topped with Rasmalai sauce, gulab jamun and pistachio. And, for a final flourish, extra special turmeric chai 60% single origin Colombian dark chocolate truffles with green cardamom, ginger and rose petals blended into a delicate white chocolate ganache, which has been exclusively created for the Anniversary At Home menu by renowned chocolatier, Paul A. Young.
To further reinvent the restaurant experience at home, extras such as fine wines, champagnes, and The Cinnamon Club cookbooks signed personally by Vivek can also be included with all kits. There’s also a variety of other equally indulgent meal kits available, including the Sunday Family Dinner Kit, the Vegan Meal Kit and a special Eid-al-Fitr celebration feast, too.
Bombay Bustle has taken inspiration from India’s Dabbawalas, to launch their own delivery service in keeping with this ethos. Dabbawalas, aka – the institution of men who use Mumbai’s famed local railway and bicycles to deliver home-cooked meals across the city, these traditionally towered boxes are brimming with food made in the homes of the working community and are transported to their intended recipient through a complex route of local trains, handcarts and bicycles. The Dabbawala delivery menu by Bombay Bustle aims to re-create this with every order delivered to London doorsteps to reveal boxes of tantalising tandoors, curries, breads and rice.
Executive Chef, Surender Mohan has created a menu with some of the city’s most loved dishes alongside family recipes, including small plates of Masala Pao, Rarah Keema Pao, Malabar Chicken Wings and a new trio of samosas with fillings of Adipoli Beef, Duck Chettinad and Aloo Masala. For something a little heartier, there will be a selection of Tandoors, Curries and Biryanis with dishes including Achari Lamb Chops, Tandoori Chicken and Paneer Tikka Masala. To accompany, there are sides of Kairi Ki Dal, Aloo Mutter, pickles, chutneys, rice, rotis and naans, and for something sweet: a trio of desserts including Date and Cinnamon Pudding.
For those who want to enjoy the Bombay Bustle bar experience from home, they have also created a selection of pre-mixed, ready to drink cocktails including a Tequila Riser, Paan Collins, D’Rum Punch and Old Gold Fashioned for two, as well as a range of cooling Lassi for the summer months. Additionally, in light of the Covid-19 crisis and India’s Dabbawalas being unable to work with the city coming to a standstill, Bombay Bustle will donate a percentage of sales to The Nutan Mumbai Tiffinbox Suppliers Charity Trust.
Comfort & Joy by Jikoni
Comfort & Joy is Jikoni’s new creation delivering mouth-watering vegetarian food to Londoners. The offering is composed of delicious and vibrant vegetarian or vegan meals which draws influences from cultures around the world. Each of the dishes are inspired by Ravinder Bhogal’s intuitive flavours which have been born from her Punjabi and Kenyan heritage and have made her restaurant, Jikoni so popular in the London dining scene.
The offering includes The Punjabi Box which features paneer braised in kale, spinach and sorrel as well as smoky black dhal, and side dishes of dahi vada and fragrant kishmish pilau. The Desi Box features more traditional dishes such as dhal dhokli, carrot, cabbage and coconut sambharo and a hearty heritage tomato and tamarind curry. Other options available at Comfort & Joy include The Zen Box, The Habibi Box and The Farang Box, thus offering an unrivalled range of vegetarian dishes. This focus on vegan and vegetarian dishes is unique and makes Jikoni stand out from the crowd. For every order placed, Comfort & Joy also donates a meal through their partners, the Nishkam SWAT Homeless Project.
Darjeeling Express started from humble roots as a dinner for 12 guests at home, serving Indian food lovingly cooked from family recipes that go back to generations. After the immense success of the restaurant, they launched their meal kits which include a luxurious Set Menu Meal for Two, as well as Biryani for Two delivery options.
The Set Menu is a decadent feast which features many of the restaurants classic and much-loved dishes including Calcutta Chicken Chaap served with square Parathas; a rich, classic Mughlai korma of chicken cooked on the bone with saffron, mace, yoghurt, and nutmeg. Other options include a decadent Lamb Tamatar Gosht, served with Muttar Pulao, where the leg of lamb is slow-cooked on the bone in a fragrant, spicy tomato base. Their signature Chicken Biryani Kit is delivered nationwide and comes with the classic accompaniment of Mirchi Ka Salaan, raita and tomato chutney, and they also offer a vegan biryani option, too. The meal kits need minimal preparation, with most dishes requiring a few finish-at-home touches and heating.
Kricket a places to eat in London has grown to be a collection of modern Indian restaurants which serves food that combines British ingredients with the flavours and aromas of Mother India. They are bringing these delicious flavours into our humble abodes with their fabulous DIY kits. Kricket’s stand out meal kit is their Butter Chicken Curry Kit for 4, and unlike the other kits, this one requires much more cooking, making it ideal for those wanting to practise or polish up their skills.
The Butter Chicken Curry Kit includes Tandoori free-range chicken in a rich buttery makhani sauce garnished with fenugreek and ginger, as well as tarka dal, pilau rice, poppadoms and mango chutney as accompanying dishes. They also have an appealing vegan option, The Hyderabadi Aubergine Curry Kit. Instead of the butter chicken, this kit includes baby aubergines cooked in a rich coconut and peanut sauce as well as sides including as tarka dal, sweet and spicy onion achaar, coconut and curry leaf rice and flakey layered Malabar paratha flatbreads.