Curry Chaat with… Peter Jones, the Curried Londoner

Curry News

Peter Jones is a recipe developer and runs his test kitchen from Greenwich, London. He is author of The Perfect Vindaloo: the ultimate guide to discovering and cooking the perfect Vindaloo curry and publishes a regular newsletter with new recipes.

How would you describe a curry to a Martian?
A curry is the first thing you should eat when visiting Earth. It’s the greatest confluence of the world’s cultures in a single dish. It can be eaten on both hot days and cold days and enjoyed for breakfast lunch or dinner. Oh, and it’s kinda saucy.

When and where did you have your first curry?
I can’t remember my first curry. I grew up in the West Midlands, just down the road from Birmingham, so was pretty much brought up on curry.  I reckon my first curry may have been from a baby bottle! ha ha

What’s the key to a good curry?
In a word: balance. A curry that is only hot, sweet or sour will always taste one-dimensional. However little is used, you also need a little of a flavour’s opposite to make it sing. Oh, and Kashmiri chilli powder – it’s literally my favourite ingredient on Earth (tell the Martians!).

What’s the best curry you’ve ever had?
Tough one. I’m not sure I have an all-time best, but just before the national lockdown I had a Gongura Mutton curry in East Ham that was pretty life-changing. I’ve since discovered Gongura pickle and have been using it in everything from curries, to rice and even as a barbecue rub.  

What’s your go-to curry, your standard order on a quiet Tuesday night?
For me it has to be the Vindaloo. It’s a misunderstood dish as most people believe that it has to be super hot. The best Vindaloos do have chilli in them but also enhance the sour notes (usually with vinegar). It’s that hot-sour combo that I’m addicted to.

If curry was an animal what would it be?
Ha ha.What? I’m going to go with a cuttlefish: they come from mostly warm climates, are eaten all over the world, come in all colours and are often misunderstood (did you know that they are very intelligent?).  

When it comes to the classic pickle tray are you a lime pickle, mango chutney, chopped onion or mint yoghurt kind of guy?
I’m a lime pickle guy married to a lime pickle lady. We have lots of lime pickle in our house!

If you owned a curry restaurant what would you call it?
Novaroon. It means ‘something new’ and was once the name of a takeaway in Stockwell that I used to adore. It changed hands and inevitably reverted to a generic curry-house name unfortunately. I would honour its memory with my restaurant.  

Tell us three restaurants we must visit next time we are in Greenwich?
Greenwich is great for eating out but is mixed when it comes to finding a decent curry. My suggestions are: 1) drop in to see me in North Greenwich, and I’ll cook you a decent curry. 2) Come to see me and we’ll share a takeaway from Corinader in Westcombe Park. 3) Let’s take a short trip to East Ham and try one of the many places there. Paradise is a favourite of mine. I’ve even eaten in its sister restaurant in Hyderabad! 

What curry would you choose for your last meal?
If I were choosing from the menu I’d order a thali (so I could have a full banquet), but I suspect you might think that’s cheating. Otherwise, it’s a Vindaloo for me please!


Get your Spice Card and love curry more!

Curry News

3D card image

You can save 20% on curry every time you use the Spice Card – on dine-in and takeaways (including takeaways!)

The Spice Card is for lovers of spicy food, whether it’s Indian, Thai, Chinese or Vietnamese – and for just £15 a year you can enjoy savings at restaurants and takeaways across South East London – from Greenwich to Blackheath, Lewisham to Charlton, New Cross, Grove Park, Bexleyheath and the Isle of Dogs.

You will enjoy the savings for dine-in and takeaways (including deliveries) at most venues. You can use the Spice Card as many times as you like during the year.

Yes! I want to buy my Spice Card now!

First you buy your Spice Card for £15. Then you enjoy a curry at one of our partner restaurants or takeaways. Your bill will include a 20% discount on your food. Repeat for a year…

How it works graphic.jpg

To see which restaurant and takeaways offer the Spice Card discount head check out the website.

The chart below shows the annual savings you could enjoy with your the Spice Card

Savings chart.jpg

How much do people spend on a curry?

Curry News

In a recent survey we asked: “How much do you expect to spend when you visit an Indian restaurant per person, including drinks?”

More than half of people (58%) said they’d be looking at over £25, while 24% were settling for a nice £21-24 and 16% just £16-£20. Some 2% reckon they can get out for a curry in a restaurant for under £15. Must be a fun night that one!

The Spice Card offers savings on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. You can get your Spice Card here.

3D card image

What do curry lovers really like to eat?

Curry News

In a recent survey we asked: “What’s your choice of protein when you order a curry?”

Baaaa. Good old lamb proved to be popular with 48% of people, with chicken, somewhat surprisingly, trailing with 26%. Vegetables or lentils options – and there are certainly some good ones on Indian menus – were the choice of 20%, while fish or prawns mustered just 6% of the vote. Price was no doubt a factor here, with king prawns outstripping most menu items by a fair whack.

The Spice Card is a discount card offers savings of curries, including on takeaways in many venues. Get your Spice Card here…

3D card image

What’s the most popular drink for curry lovers?

Curry News

In a recent survey we asked: “What do you drink with your curry?”

An overwhelming 93% said they’d drink beer, while 7% said they’d stick to water or soft drinks. No-one plumped for wine or spirits. Maybe hoping for that complimentary brandy after the meal, eh?

Spice Card holders can enjoy a 20% discount on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. Get your Spice Card here…

3D card image

How long would you wait for a Takeaway?

4. Takeaways, Curry News

In a recent survey we asked “What’s a reasonable time to wait for a curry delivery on a Saturday night (assume you are a 10-minute drive away)?”

The overwhelming response was 40 minutes for 44% of our hungry curry lovers. Some 25% of people say 50 minutes is acceptable and the same would be happy to wait an hour. A rather impatient 7% think the order should be taken, cooked and driven the 10-minute drive in just 30 minutes. Perhaps they don’t like their chicken cooked?

Spice Card holders can enjoy a 20% discount on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. Get your Spice Card here…

3D card image

Join us for an Indian Feast

Curry News

Tickets available from Ticket Lab

Menu 13th June Meet District

Tickets available from Ticket Lab

Greenwich Curry Awards 2017 (Winners photo gallery)

Curry News

Favourite Restaurant: Darjeeling (Lewisham)
Restaurant Offering Outstanding Value: Darjeeling (Lewisham)

Favourite Specialist Takeaway: Mogul Home Dining (Trafalgar Road, Greenwich)

Restaurant Offering Outstanding Service and Friendliness: Mountain View (Greenwich)

Greenwich Curry Club Special Awards for outstanding main dish Langtang Lamb:
Royal Nepalese (Westcombe Park)

Greenwich Curry Club Award Winners

Curry News

Greenwich curry club logo      Goa Beer logo

The Greenwich Curry Club’s Favourite Restaurant for 2017 is the Darjeeling in Lewisham. The friendly 50-seater restaurant got the thumbs up from voters for the main prize in this year’s Greenwich Curry Club Awards, which is sponsored by Goa Premium Beer. This is the first year the company, which produces gluten-free beer that is ideal with spicy food, has sponsored the Awards.

“Thanks to the support of Goa Beer we have enjoyed the best ever Awards and are delighted that they joined us in celebrating the restaurants, takeaways and staff that make this such a great industry in our area,” said Daniel Ford, founder of the Greenwich Curry Club.

The Awards, which recognises excellence in the local industry, has been held in association with the Greenwich Visitor – the only local newspaper to run a regular curry column – since 2011. All the awards were chosen by local curry lovers, who voted online for their favourite restaurants and takeaways, except for the Goa Beer Greenwich Curry Club Special Award, which was chosen by members of the Greenwich Curry Club. Restaurants and takeaways in SE10, SE3, SE8, SE7 and SE13 were eligible. This includes Greenwich, Maze Hill, Blackheath, Westcombe Park, Lewisham, Ladywell, Deptford, New Cross and Charlton.

Darjeeling owner Foyeg Kazi, who has been running the restaurant for 15 years, said: “We have a loyal following so it is thanks to them we have picked up this award. I’m thrilled for the team and we will keep working to serve up good quality food at real value prices.”

The restaurant has built a reputation for offering a menu that offers exceptional value, so it is no surprise that the Darjeeling also won the award for Restaurant Offering Outstanding Value, an award they have now won three times.

Mogul Home Dining Kitchen, located along the Trafalgar Road in Greenwich, picked up the Favourite Takeaway award. The Mogul name has become a byword for top-quality Indian food in Greenwich and this year the restaurant celebrates its 40th anniversary. The Home Dining Kitchen was opened in 2011 to offer a dedicated takeaway service. Owners Mr and Mrs Dev said: “This is great, especially as it comes on such a special anniversary for the Mogul.”

The ever-popular Mountain View, also on the Trafalgar Road, was voted as the Restaurant Offering Outstanding Service. Some fresh, young faces have joined the established service team this year and the smooth, friendly service from everyone on the floor has clearly not gone unnoticed by the voters.

Kasturi, Charlton’s classy Indian restaurant, announced its arrival onto the local scene by picking up the Favourite New Restaurant award and with its undoubted quality it is sure to be challenging for more awards in future years.

Members of the Curry Club decided that this year’s Goa Beer Greenwich Curry Club Special Award should go to the Royal Nepalese in Westcombe Park in recognition of its outstanding main dish Langtang Lamb. This succulent Himalayan dish, cooked with garlic, ginger, green chilli, fresh mint and mango chutney, had even the grumpiest of members cooing in delight and that in itself is worth an award.

“The Greenwich Curry Club Awards are an excellent initiative, recognising the merits of best local curry houses and encouraging ever higher culinary standards,” said Goa Premium Beer MD Ben Parmar, who added, “We applaud Daniel Ford’s endeavours and hope other areas of the country will take Greenwich’s lead and organise their own, similar local awards scheme”.

The Winners
Favourite Restaurant: Darjeeling (Lewisham)
Favourite Takeaway: Mogul Home Dining (Greenwich)
Restaurant Offering Outstanding Service: Mountain View (Greenwich)
Restaurant Offering Outstanding Value: Darjeeling (Lewisham)
Favourite New Restaurant: Kasturi (Charlton)
Goa Beer Greenwich Curry Club Special Award for Outstanding Dish (Langtang Lamb): Royal Nepalese (Westcombe Park)

 

 

Goa Beer to sponsor Greenwich Curry Awards 2017

Curry News

Goa Premium Beer is to sponsor this year’s Greenwich Curry Club Awards. The award-winning gluten-free pilsner is brewed by the family-run boutique Impala Distillery & Brewery in Goa. The brewery was acquired in 2015 by Bollywood actor and film producer Sachiin Joshi. Exclusively imported into the UK by Viiking Ventures, the beer is popular as an accompaniment to spicy foods.

The Greenwich Curry Club began in 2010 with a group of friends meeting once a month, at a different venue, to “eat curry, drink beer and talk nonsense.”

The group has since grown, and now reviews curry houses all over the UK and internationally, as well as offering news, recipes and all things curry related on its website.

The original south London group still meets and new members are welcome if they are “charming, witty, and don’t do ‘a runner’ before the bill is paid.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Daniel Ford, founder of the Greenwich Curry Club, said:  “We launched the Greenwich Curry Club Awards in 2011 to recognise the restaurants, takeaways and people that work in this great industry and are thrilled to be able to work with Goa Beer closely, as we look to take the Awards to the next level. We know that Goa Beer is a forward-thinking company and are delighted to be partners with a company that offers a genuine Indian beer that is perfect for curry lovers.”

Local people can vote for their favourite venues in Greenwich, Blackheath, Lee, Lewisham, New Cross, Charlton and Deptford at www.greenwichcurryclub.com. Voting closes on 19th November and winners will be announced on 1st December.

Ben Parmar, MD of Viiking Ventures, said: “The Greenwich Curry Club does great work highlighting the best venues in the area, encouraging ever higher standards.  Our marketing strategy is to support local, independent venues.  I’m delighted to back the Club’s efforts and want to encourage similar organisations round the country to follow their lead.

www.goabeer.com

Click here to vote

Blackheath (Royal Nepalese)

1. Reviews (London)

Royal Nepalese, SE3

There really is very little going on commercially as you come out of Westcombe Park Station – and yet two spice restaurants have continued to operate in this little parade for years. And the reason is quite simple: they are both rather good. Coriander (that’s the one on the right as you exit the station) is well known but make no mistake, the Royal Nepalese, which has been operating since 2004, has plenty of its own fans.

The restaurant was packed on the night the Curry Club visited and with good reason because the food is excellent. So much so that one member declared that his choice was the best curry he had for years (he had the Langtang Lamb, £8.50, by the way). And considering this particular member would be described by Blackadder as the grumpiest Mr Grumpy from Grumpy Street in Grumpy Town this is some compliment.Needless to say, a range of Nepalese dishes dominate to chef’s recommendations such as the well-known green herb lamb dish Nepalese Khutta (£8.50) and the Royal Mismass Karahi (£8.50), an interesting combination of barbequed chicken, lamb, sheek kebab and prawns.

Other thumbs up go must to the large Prawn Puri starter (£5.95) which could be enough for a dinner for some people and the tender Squid starter, while the Chicken Chilli Dry Fry (£8.50) was delicious. As the name suggest, it’s not for those who like their meat smothered in sauce but with a beautiful coating of marinade the chicken is delicious and set off beautifully with chunks of pepper and onion. Needlesss to say it had friends on my table reaching across for a taste of something just a little bit different to the old-school favourites.

Royal Nepalese, 2–4 Station Cres, Blackheath, SE3 7EQ. Tel: 020 8269 0505. E-mail: info@royalnepalese.com. Open: daily 5.30pm – 11pm.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 8.5
Service and friendliness 9
Decor 8
Vibe 8 (Tuesday night)
Value 8.5

Quick and easy

1. Reviews (London)

Mehak, Greenwich

Is it me or is up selling in Indian restaurants getting worse?

“Popadoms sir?”
“Not really.”
“Starter sir?”
“No, I’m not that hungry.”
“Vegetable side dish sir?”
“No, I’m okay thanks.”
“Dessert sir?”
“Just the bill thanks.”

How many times have you been in that position in a curry house (often with dirty looks from the waiter)? Or worse still, how many times have you been pushed into ordering an extra dish you probably don’t even want? Sadly it happens, and while I have sympathy with the restaurants who have to make a living, what’s wrong with letting customers pop in for quick and easy curry sometimes (assuming we don’t hog the best table on a Saturday night of course).

So a round of applause to one of Greenwich’s less mentioned curry houses: Mehak. There’s a time and a place for a feast, but one Friday night I just fancied a quick curry. Chicken Vindaloo (£4.40), Pilau Rice (£1.80), Chapati (£1.10) and a large bottle of Cobra (£4.40). No problem. I get my curry fix and I’m in and out of this smart restaurant pretty quickly with a cost of just £12.30 (the other 60p was for the lime pickle).

I was impressed with the food (it’s hard to impress with a basic dish but the Vindy was hot with a thick, dark sauce) and I was impressed with the service. So I’ll be back when it’s time for a feast, probably to taste the sweet and spicy Rista Masalla (£6.50) which is chicken breasts stuffed with mince.

Mehak, 160 Trafalgar Road, Greenwich, Se10 9TZ. Tel: 020 8858 0227 or 020 8293 4752. Open: Mon–Sat 6pm-11.30pm, Sun noon-11pm

Mehak snapshot

Food ① ② ③

Decor ① ② ③

Value ① ② ③ ④

Atmosphere (early on Friday night) ① ② ③

Service and friendliness ① ② ③ ④

Mehak on Urbanspoon

Curry and a pint

Curry News
National Maritime Museum, GreenwichThese ‘curry and a pint’ Friday nights (to be held on 14 October, 28 October and 25 November) are surely too good to be missed by curry lovers…Discover the origins of the ‘Great British curry’, the story behind India Pale Ale and how the East India Company changed the eating and drinking habits of a nation. An evening of masala, manuscripts and migrations to stimulate the imagination and the taste buds. Speaking on this series of learning and dining events, will be historian Rozina Visram, Shrabani Basu, author of Curry: The Story of the Nation’s Favourite Dishand the beer writer and convivial raconteur, Peter Haydon.The evenings are held in partnership with Mogul Restaurant and Greenwich Meantime Brewery.

Booking: (Debit/credit cards):  http://www.nmm.ac.uk/tickets
Tel: 020 8312 6608

Time: 7.30pm

£25: Advance booking required (The price includes a biryani (meat, lamb or vegetarian), nibbles and a glass of India Pale Ale).