Spice up your Life! And help families in Asia and Africa suffering from hunger.
Guest Post by Sarah James:
Curry for Change is a fundraising activity being carried out by top curry houses in support of the Find Your Feet charity. With the support of chefs such as Atul Kochhar, Vivek Singh and Cyrus Todiwala, Curry for Change sees 10 London restaurants that lead the way in Indian cuisine creating special dishes and taking donations to help raise money for charity through the UK’s love of curry.
The campaign is led by Find Your Feet, a charity that enables vulnerable rural families in Asia and Africa to grow enough food so they don’t go hungry, strengthen their voices so they can speak out against injustice and earn enough money so they can find their feet.
It’s shocking to think that one in eight people around the world will go to bed hungry tonight. By visiting any of the restaurants, ordering a bespoke dish or adding a donation to the bill, London diners will be helping to ensure that less fortunate families have an evening meal.
I was invited to eat at Carom at Meza on Wardorf Street in the heart of Soho. Back in late 70s and early 80s I went to many gigs at the Marquee, so it was interesting to see what had been done with the space. Part of the venue is given over to Floridita; a Cuban inspired bar and restaurant, and part to Carom. This is not a venue for those wanting a quiet night out! It’s trendy, young and fun! The place was buzzing and very lively, with a trumpet playing DJ doing his stuff later in the evening. The manager asked us to stay to Salsa dance – but in fear of my toes from my partners dancing skills, I declined!
The menu was interesting, with some dishes new to us, and some that were clearly down to the creativity of the executive chef, Vishnu Natarajan, who despite his protestations that he isn’t famous, was very proud of his food, and rightly so.
We were given poppadoms and homemade chutneys whilst we perused the menu. These included slices of plantain as well as the poddadoms. To start I had white crab puttu; this was just beautiful, subtle and delicate. My partner had Dakshin prawns, which were crispy and cooked to perfection.
I then chose the Gin-izzler – I couldn’t resist the idea of flambéed gin marinaded chicken tikka – and it was a show stopper!
My partner had a Chennai Chicken Curry, and the chef also sent out a Shalgam Lamb. I’d never had turnip in a curry before, and this worked wonderfully with the tender lamb. Unfortunately my photos didn’t do justice to these dishes, but they were very good.
I’m not a great dessert eater, and insisted that my partner would have to eat mine after I’d had 2 spoonfuls. Oh dear, how wrong I was, as I ate every last bit of it! It was called Loaded Twin Barrels, served with lime sorbet and mango chutney that cut through the sweetness.
My partner had the Banana Tartin and pronounced that excellent.
During June, Carom is inviting diners to add a discretionary £1 donation to the bill to support Find Your Feet. We dined as guests of Carom, so left a slightly bigger donation.
More about Curry for Change
Choose these special dishes from the Cinnamon Group: Pan seared Scottish king scallops with cauliflower & sumac couscous and bramley apple chutney at the Cinnamon Club, Peshwari style beef curry and pilau rice at Cinnamon Kitchen or Vindaloo of ox cheek at Cinnamon Soho.
With leading spices, herbs and pulses retailer Natco Foods matching every penny raised, doubling the difference made to the lives of families who suffer from hunger, there really is no better time to dine out Indian style.
There’s also a chance to ‘Dine In’ this October during National Curry week, cooking a curry at home for family and friends. See www.curryforchange.org.uk. I know that I will be doing this!