Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jamavar: An Indian Jewel in the Heart of Mayfair

Mayfair’s Michelin-starred Jamavar takes guests on an exquisite culinary journey, showcasing the unique flavours and secret recipes from different parts of India, from the Royal Kitchens of the North to succulent dishes of the Southern shores, exploring pan-Indian flavours using a masterful range of authentic culinary techniques by chef Surender Mohan, culinary director of Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts. Named after the intricate and vibrant 16th-century shawls of Kashmir, Jamavar is the jewel in the crown of the award-winning Indian hotel group. Set across two high-ceilinged floors, the stylish interior was inspired by the Viceroy’s house of New Delhi with delicate colonial flourishes and a rich celebration of traditional Indian textiles, precious marble, mirrors and dark wood panelling. 

An intoxicating combination of glamorous design and refined cuisine, Jamavar achieves that rare and precious balance between style and substance: the food tastes even better than everything else looks. Behind every dish is a team of highly experienced chefs, each a culinary master of a distinct regional cuisine, and the menu is a delicious journey of sensory discovery and culinary delight, with dishes such as Venison Samosas with crispy cauliflower, chutney and pickle; ‘Old Delhi’ Suffolk corn-fed butter chicken; Eight-hour slow-cooked Hampshire lamb shank with Rajasthani chilli; Jamavar Dal made with slow-cooked black lentils; Dal Chawal Aur Achaar, one of their most popular dishes, composed of crisp lentil and rice dumplings with green chutney and heritage carrot pickle. Celebration of Indian cuisine is fundamental to Jamavar, and with secret recipes of the founder's mother Leela, after whom the luxury hospitality chain is named included in the menu, this stunning restaurant in the heart of Mayfair has established itself as one of the top Indian restaurants in London.

Jamavar London is the culinary jewel of The Leela Group, first conceived in the late nineties by Dinesh Nair, co-chairman and managing director of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts

Designed by London's Fabled Studios, Jamavar is a rich celebration of marbles, dark timber panelling and gilded lincrusta wall coverings offset with brass accents and hand-cut marquetry 

Jamavar main floor dining room

The stylish interior of Jamavar's downstairs dining room designed like chaturanga, 
ancient Indian chess boards

Jamavar's menu showcases the unique flavours and secret recipes from different parts of India, 
from the Royal Kitchens of the North to succulent options of the Southern shores

The elegant bar with brown emperor marble and brass accents

'Flying Scott Gin & Tonic' made with Hendrick’s Gin, fresh cucumber, rose petals and burlesque bitter

Vodka Martini with olives

Mixed Papadam

Assorted chutneys served with the papadam

Venison Samosas with crispy cauliflower, chutney and pickle

Dal Chawal Aur Achaar with crispy lentil and rice dumplings, green chutney and heritage carrot pickle

Indian Lager

Methi Gosht with goat, spinach, cinnamon and fresh fenugreek leaves

Old Delhi Butter Chicken made with Suffolk corn-fed, char-grilled pulled chicken, 
fresh tomato and fenugreek

Jamavar Dal made with slow-cooked black lentils

Assorted Naan and Kulcha

Complimentary desserts served on a banana leaf in a hollowed out wooden server

Culinary Director and Chef Surender Mohan

Dal Chawal aur Achaar
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of chef Rohit Ghai, Jamavar

1 oz toor dal

1 white onion, chopped
2 oz tomato, chopped
1/2 oz ginger, crushed
1/2 oz garlic, crushed
1/2 oz green chilli, chopped
1 1/2 oz rice
1 tsp whole cumin
1 tsp turmeric
4 tsp oil
1/2 oz panko breadcrumbs
3/4 oz cornflour
salt, to taste

For the tadka dahl:
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp green chilli, chopped
3 curry leaves, chopped
3/4 tbsp oil
Pinch turmeric
Salt, to taste

Soak the rice for 20 minutes. Boil the rice and keep it aside. Soak the toor dal and boil with a little salt and turmeric to taste. Once cooked, keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add cumin, ginger, green chillis and saute. Add the chopped onion and cook until golden in colour. Add chilli powder, turmeric and salt, and cook for a while. 
Add the chopped tomato and cook down until the tomatoes become mashed. Add the boiled dal and chopped coriander. Stir in the cooked rice and turn off the heat. Once cool, check the seasoning and if required, add salt and ginger, further green chilli and coriander.

Next, prepare the tadka dahl. Whisk yoghurt in a bowl, add a little salt and keep aside. 
Heat oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they start to crackle, add a pinch of turmeric, chopped ginger and green chilli. Sauté and gently stir in the yoghurt. Remove from the heat and serve.

Andhra Podi Prawns
Serves 2
Recipe courtesy of chef Rohit Ghai, Jamavar

For the prawns:
12 peeled prawns
2 tbsp rice flour
3 tbsp corn flour
1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 pepper powder
2 tsp mild red chilli powder
2 sprigs curry leaves finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
salt and water as needed
Podi powder
Oil for deep frying

For the Podi powder:
1/4 cup chana dal
1/4 cup urad dal
1/4 cup sesame seeds
6-8 red chillies, or to taste
1-2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 cup dried or desiccated coconut
2 sprigs curry leaves
Salt to taste

First, prepare the prawns. Wash the prawns and drain completely. Marinate the prawns with the chopped curry leaves and 1 tsp of red chilli powder and lime juice, and keep aside.

Next, prepare the Podi powder. Wash the curry leaves, leaving the sprigs on a clean kitchen cloth to dry. Clean all the ingredients, pick off any debris and discard. Dry roast the dals and red chillies until crisp, and set aside. In the same pan, add the curry leaves and roast on a low heat until they turn crisp. Set aside. Switch off the stove. Add the sesame seeds and cumin to the hot pan and roast. Add the coconut, garlic and toss. Set aside as well to cool.

Powder the red chillies and dal, add the other ingredients and a sprinkle of salt and transfer to an airtight jar for storing. Next, make a batter using rice and corn flour, garam masala, salt, red chilli paste, ginger, garlic and chopped coriander leaves. Add water as needed. Deep fry the prawns until golden. Set aside on a kitchen towel. Serve hot with a dollop of tomato chutney and sprinkle Podi powder on top.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Wright Brothers in Borough Market: Oysters & Seafood

'From sea to table, and everything in between'. Wright Brothers acclaimed seafood restaurant tempts diners with an impeccable array of oysters, shellfish, day boat sustainable fish and fruits de mer in the heart of London's bustling Borough Market. Started in 2002 when brothers-in-law Ben Wright and Robin Hancock started a business delivering oysters to London's top hotels and restaurants, they acquired the lease of the Duchy of Cornwall Oyster farm on the Helford River three years later. They now supply over 300 of the city’s finest restaurants with a range of high quality, sustainable oysters, fish and seafood, including Caprice Holdings, Corbin and King, Gordon Ramsay, Fortnum and Mason, Chiltern Firehouse, Milos, Hawksmoor, and of course, the four other Wright Brothers restaurants. Relaxed, informal and full of life, Wright Brothers original Borough Market location is small but perfect, the ideal place to enjoy a fantastic seafood and oysters, all sourced from around the British Isles, Ireland and France, celebrating their "sea to plate" philosophy. The open kitchen, counter seating, high tables and blackboard menus all add to the magic. 

The Borough Market location is a small dining space made up of a long oyster bar and high tables, with tall barrels outside in the summer to slurp up Wright Brothers excellent oysters

The daily menu is written on a large blackboard above the bar 

Sitting at the long wood oyster bar wood counter with Wright Brothers awesome menu of seafood delights

Overlooking the open kitchen with head chef Rob Malyon at the helm

An old sardine can of hot sauces to garnish fresh oysters and Beef, Guinness & Oyster Pie

Glass of Spanish Albarino

A deep, dark cherry red Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Reserva

Fish Soup with rouille, Gruyère and croutons

With just two chefs and one oyster shucker on the long bar, the open kitchen is 
bustling especially over the lunch hour 

An old ships bell hangs in the kitchen and is rung when each order is ready

Bowl of whelks with homemade mayonnaise 

Meaty, plump and briny, it's hard to resist Wright Brothers whelks

Coconut, lemongrass and chilli mussels

Wright Brothers hearty, filling and warming Fish Pie

Wild Halibut with roasted beetroot, Le Puy lentils and green harissa

Wright Brothers’ Fish Pie
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy executive head chef of Wright Brothers Soho, David Gingell

14 oz smoked haddock
14 oz organic salmon 
1 1/2 oz grated parmesan

For the fish cream:
4 oz butter
4 oz flour
4 cups whole milk 
2 bay leaves
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
Skin from the smoked haddock
English mustard
A hand full of parsley
2 egg yolks

For the mashed potatoes:
4 lb Maris piper potatoes
14 oz butter 
1/2 cup whole milk

Bring the milk, garlic, haddock skin, onion and bay leaf to the boil and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan, then add the flour and cook until it is light brown and sandy in texture. Slowly add the milk, beating constantly a bit at a time. Cook for 20 minutes on a low heat.
Finish with mustard and parsley season to taste.
For the mash, peel and boil the potatoes in salted water until they are soft enough to fall off a sharp knife, and then pass using a fine sieve or ricer. Fold in the butter, egg yolk and milk season to taste.

To finish the pie, cover the bottom of a baking dish with the fish cream. On top of that put the salmon and haddock. Cover the fish generously with more fish cream. Top with the mashed potato and grated parmesan, and bake for 20 mins at 400°F. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Butter-Roast Cod with Lentils, Celeriac Purée and Girolles
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of chef Roy Brett, Wright Brothers

Cod and girolles:
4 5 oz cod fillets, skin on
3 1/2 oz sea salt
3 1/2 oz girolles
3 1/2 oz olive oil
2 oz unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

Celeriac purée:
1 celeriac
7 tbsp fish stock
7 tbsp double cream
9 oz diced butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tbsp olive oil
2 finely diced shallots
9 oz Puy lentils
4 cups golden chicken stock
1/4 bunch thymes, picked
1 bay leaf
Butter, to finish
Salt and pepper, to taste

To prepare the cod, sprinkle with salt all over and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes to extract water. Wash off, then dry in a jay cloth. Brush with olive oil, salt and pepper then set aside. 

To make the celeriac purée, place the celeriac on a bed of rock salt and bake in the oven at 300°F for 40 minutes or until tender, depending on the size of your celeriac. Once cooked, scoop out the flesh and chop and reserve in a bowl.
Reduce the fish stock in a thick bottomed pan by half, then add the double cream and reduce until the liquid starts to thicken. Now add the celeriac to the pan along with the chopped thyme. Season with salt and pepper and add the butter to enrich. Now blend until smooth, then reserve.

To cook the lentils, add a little olive oil to a heavy-based pan and bring to the heat. Add the shallots, thyme and bay leaf and cook without colour for several minutes. Now add the lentils, cooking again for several minutes.
Pour in chicken stock leaving a little in reserve, cover with greaseproof paper and cook until tender which may take 20 minutes or more. Fold in the butter and reserve. 

To complete the dish, heat up a non-stick pan with a little olive oil. Place the cod fillets skin side down and cook for several minutes until crisp. Place in a high oven for 4-5 minutes then remove. Add the mushrooms to the pan with a little seasoning. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the ingredient in the pan add a little butter to baste. Place the cod onto a drying cloth along with the mushrooms.
To plate, spoon the celeriac purée on the plate then add the lentils, girolles followed by the cod.

Monday, June 18, 2018

London's Borough Market + Plan Zheroes Charity

London's oldest and most famous food market, Borough Market is a food lovers paradise with a mouthwatering range of fresh food stalls under its Dickensian wrought-iron roof. Known in its heyday as London's Larder, the market has been a part of London's food culture since the 13th-century and has existed at its current location since 1755 — there was even a market here in Southwark at the time of the Roman conquest in the 5th century. Located on Borough High Street on the southern end of London Bridge, the Market draws over 70 organic farmers, world class bakers, artisan producers, and gourmet food importers from all over the world, in addition to celebrated local favourites, Neal's Yard Dairy, Monmouth Coffee, Mrs King's Melton Mowbray Pork Pies plus a great selection of restaurants such as Elliot's, Roast, Padella and the original Wright Brothers. 

With traditional British produce sitting alongside regional specialities from around the world, its riot of colourful produce and mouthwatering aromas from a warren of food stalls from Indian and Ethiopian to Thai or Caribbean soul food, wandering through the sights and smells of Borough Market is always a highlight of every trip to London. It's also a highlight in the lives of some people who are less fortunate. Last year, Borough Market traders, in partnership with the Plan Zheroes charity and Better Bankside bikes, who supply cargo bikes to deliver the food to charities, rescued over 29 tonnes of perfectly good food that would otherwise have been thrown in the bin — providing an impressive 58,000 meals to 33 charities working with the homeless, the elderly and people with mental health issues across London. What an inspiration.

Picture perfect figs from 'Turnips' run by Fred and Caroline Foster at Borough Market

Gorgeous artichokes

Crazy Romanesco Cauliflower 

Curly Radicchio Tardivo

Plump white English asparagus

Turnips baskets of mixed mushrooms 

Pink Oyster Mushrooms!

Fresh Sea Urchin

Natural Oak Smoked Whitby Kippers, the perfect partner with scrambled eggs on a Sunday morning

With some of the best coffee in London, Monmouth Coffee is always bustling

There is no better place to buy cheese in London than at Neal’s Yard in Borough Market

London's foremost cheese store, I started coming to Neal's Yard when we first moved to London in 1979 and still make a beeline for it when we go to Borough Market

Striking up a wonderful conversation with the manager, he gave us tasting samples 
of about ten cheeses, all of which were absolutely outstanding

Walking into Neal's Yard is always inspirational, with the most spectacular cheeses on display and all at their peak - it's hard not to take one of everything

Quince pastes are an ideal partner with some cheeses

Sophie, co-owner and stall manager of Olivier's Bakery at Borough Market

Cheese and Olive Sticks from 'Bread Ahead Bakery' in Borough Market, works with the amazing charity planZheroes which helps get their leftover bread to the people in London who need it

100% Vegan 'Big V Facon Cheeseburger' with house tomato relish, house burger sauce, 
pickles red onion, vegan cheddar and house maple facon

Gujarati Rasoi's Onion Bhaji

'The French Comté' selling fine French cheese and charcuterie

Little tastes of Comté Marcel Petit cheese 

Hand Gathered Shetland Mussels Marinière for modules on-the-go

Bomba Seafood Paella just starting to be prepared

Every Wednesday and Saturday, volunteers from charity Plan Zheroes arrive at Borough Market to collect surplus food from traders so that it can be turned into meals and given for those who need it

Coronation Cauliflower
Serves 6
Recipe courtesy of Jenny Chandler, Borough Market

2 small cauliflowers, broken into florets
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 bay leaf
1/2 glass red wine
1 tbsp apricot jam
1 slice lemon
1 cup good quality mayonnaise
2-3 tbsp double cream
Leaves from a small sprig of mint
1/2 cucumber, diced 
3 oz toasted almonds 

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the cauliflower in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower for 25-30 minutes, turning the florets over half way through the cooking. Once browned, and charred in places, remove the florets from the oven and leave to cool.

Meanwhile fry the onion in the remaining oil in a small pan. After about 15 minutes when the onion is soft and translucent you can throw in the curry powder and fry until you are enveloped in wonderful spicy smells. Add the tomato pureé, water, bayleaf, red wine, apricot jam and lemon, simmer for about 5 minutes then strain through a sieve and leave to cool.

Stir the cold curry sauce mixture into the mayonnaise and cream. Taste and season well. Toss about 1/2 the florets in the mayonnaise leaving others to sprinkle over the top. Sprinkle over the mint leaves and cucumber to serve. Throw over the almonds if using.