Mauritian Food at Trader Vic’s
I must admit I’ve always had a bit of a long distance crush on Shelina Permalloo. Winner of BBC MasterChef 2012, now the brains behind Mauritian Street Kitchen and restaurant Lakaz Maman. When I heard that she was planning a new pop-up menu inspired by the shores and taste experiences of Mauritius in collaboration with legendary Mayfair tiki bar Trader Vic’s Executive Chef Shiran Fonseka (available until the 31st October) I was excited; when an invite came to try out the food it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.Trader Vic’s sits below the Park Lane Hilton-apparently it has been there since 1963 and alongside the old Playboy Club it must have made quite a swinging scene. After descending downstairs into the basement tropical paradise I sank a couple of delicious Mai Tais-a classic and a mango- a cocktail that I hadn’t drunk since the 80s when I had hair like Priscilla Presley…Sitting in a cosy nook we were presented with a wooden platter full of Shelina’s goodies. The Island Fusion Platter is a snip at £19 as it serves two but all the dishes are available in individual servings. Trader Vic’s BBQ Spare Ribs (£14.00) are cooked in wood-fired barbeque ovens and the tender meat had a wonderfully deep smoky flavour. Crisp Prawn and Octopus Croustillant (£12.00) were deep-fried but not to the point of extinction! The accompanying coriander and coconut satini (chutney) added a real zing to the dish. Island Style Papaya Salad (£11.00) with cashews and citronelle was crunchy and fresh with only a hint of heat and with the nuts giving that classic Mauritian flavour. Gateaux Piment (£9.00) is a crunchy split pea (dholl) and chilli cake with a bit of sweetness from some coriander leaves. It comes with a tomato and chilli chutney. But my favourite dish in this festival of heat and flavour was the Anana Confit (£8.50)-a Mauritian street food classic of grilled pineapple with chilli and the wonderful sour flavour of tamarind.Once we finished eating a troupe of traditional sega dancers backed by drummers and a singer entertained us with a wonderfully vibrant high-energy performance. It was really exciting to see a band propelled by three wonderful percussionists. The popup is well worth a visit not only for a taste of Mauritius but also for a great evening out. The only problem is that it has also given me a real taste for visiting the island so now I will have to go!
Trader Vic’s 22 Park Lane, London W1K 1BE.
(020) 7208 4113