Every now and then something quite special comes along in the London food world. Last week I was invited to preview an Indian inspired High Chai by Pistachio Rose, the first of which is taking place next Thursday*, and came away delighted – the cakes were like nothing else I’ve had in London.
I first started to “get” Indian flavours when I travelled there for seven weeks in 2006. In my first week I got severely ill and was out of action for an entire week, taking at least another month to completely recover. I’d like to think it was my friend’s family in Jammu who took me under their wing, basically force feeding me their amazing sweets that eventually got rid of whatever bug had taken residence.
In the sweets were the most stunning flavours, probably way too much naughtiness but with a warming comfort about them. Since then I’ve had a real fondness for what many people used to bakery food might find a bit odd (the texture is quite different and they are very sweet). Even living within a stones throw from Brick Lane, I’ve not been able to find Indian treats as good as those weeks on the sub-continent – I think it was the fresh spices that infuse everything about Indian food that made them as stunning as they were. But I’ve found something that sort of replicates how good they made me feel – and that’s those Indian flavours set in classic French patisserie-like creations coming from Rekha Mehr’s Pistachio Rose kitchen.
From what I understand, Rehka, the talent behind Pistachio Rose, has only been in operation for seven months, yet already her products are stocked in the world-famous London institution Fortnum and Mason. Having grown up in England but with the flavours of India, and an intense love of good cake (we’d make great friends) she strove to fuse her love of all this together and what has resulted is a fantastic range which I suspect we are going to see much more of. I don’t there is anything else on the market like it.
We’re talking the type of chocolate tarts you’d find in the best patisseries but with a subtle Indian twist, soft naan bread with chocolate and pistachios, the most delicate but stunning Madelines infused with either rose water and cardamom or chai, Darjeeling tea and spices, along with shortbread hearts infused with fennel.
Her High Chai is coming up next week at the School of Wok in Covent Garden and I highly recommend you get a spot at this as I think future High Chai events will fill up quickly. You can read more here, but this is what’s in store:
You’ll be greeted with a glass of bubbles on arrival
For food you’ll be presented with a trio of canapes to start with, including Gujarati red dal, red-skinned peanuts, rice and okra.
Then it’s on to the cakes I mentioned above, but in many variations (I highly recommend the white chocolate tart, phenomenal), plus a “Bollywood blondie” followed by Indianised churros to end with.
All will be served with teas to compliment each course, finishing with spiced Chai. I understand that the teas are provided by Lalani & Co, whose Assam I tried on Monday night, served in a tea glass, leaving me in tea heaven.
There are so many exciting things happening in London’s food world at the moment that I just want to pinch myself then find a genie with the funds to attend everything – but this particular event really caught my eye.
So go forth readers, you don’t want to miss this. I’ve already been in to Fortnums to buy a tart for Mr Man – but I may have eaten it on the way home…
*Lime and Tonic also have a “create your own” High Chai Banquet where you choose the date and invite up to 24 people. For more information see their website (full of fantastic experiences around London, frequently containing cocktails, tea and sweet things~). Great for a classy hen party or just really nice get together.
I first heard about Pistachio Rose from my friends over at Lime & Tonic London.