Thursday, 7 November 2013

tigers in cornwall

i spent the last two and gloriously hot and wonderful months of summer, finalising the menus of two venues; two, which is going to be based in the south east and west of london, staring in january next year; a modern indian restaurant, with a new perception on indian food, ethically and seasonally made and low in fat, good quality wine and a tight and relevant cocktail bar (which is where i come in). 

the brainchild behind this operation, is a old customer of mine, who i met in my pop up bar's one year and two months anniversary party, at the red gate gallery, two years ago, to this date. 

he had come with his partner, who he calls wife, non possessively, to the party, as one of my DJs, was a mutual friend. (shaped-ice-block-and-poirot-martinis). 

after working the whole room and tasting all the drinks and under my sceptical, but curious eye, we ended up speaking. i was hired to create a cocktail list and make it, at his wife's 40th birthday party, where she could not drink, because she was carrying beanie (real name frida). it was november. the party, in april. 

sat emailed me again and out of the blue, in february this year and enthusiastically talked to me about the new project, loosely planning to start in october and how he wanted me to be involved. 

now, beanie was born and falling asleep on my lap, as her parents were getting ready for the family outing and after our meeting:

i was to be a partner in the business, a mixologist and sommelier (wine is another love of mine).
i would be responsible for creating, making, serving the drinks, hiring and training staff, the wine list and generally, the smooth maintenance of the bar and its people and products.

and another challenge begun. using my research skills, improvisation and love for experimentation, as well, as endlessly asking my friends, who were indian, bangladeshi and pakistani, i started putting an exciting list together, blending unusual ingredients, with the integrity of the spirit. living in london for so long and eating glorious indian/ bangladeshi/ pakistani food, was not enough for my education. i wanted to remain as authentic and contemporary, as possible. 

and i had decided to omit chilli, this time, which is really, one of my favourite spices to blend. 

i came across, strange, but totally intriguing ingredients, like rooh afza, black lava salt, nimbu paani, khus syrup and aam ka pannah.
and i stayed faithful to my favourites: cardamom, lemongrass, tamarind, curry leaves, fruit, mango chutney, pomegranate, coriander, mint and dates. 
and i decided on six cocktails, as my brief prescribed, including, tequila, bourbon, dark and white rum, gin and prosecco.
and i gave them names, like tamarind and dates, dhania and persephone and seeds and chutneys...

Tequila/ grand marnier/ lime juice/ date and tamarind chutney

Bourbon/ two bitters/ mango chutney/ cardamom seeds/ orange jest

Dark rum/ fresh curry leaves/ fresh strawberries/ lemon juice/ sugar/ a splash of lemonade

Gin/ pomegranate seeds/ fresh coriander/ lemon juice/ pomegranate juice

White rum/ lime juice/ sugar/ fresh lemongrass/ fresh mint/ a splash of soda

Vodka/ lemon juice/ sugar/ fresh tarragon leaves/ prosecco

sat, the shareholders and i got together in brixton, july 10, this year to try the drinks. i made, sat served, they drank. and it was a success and very inspiring to hear feed back from people, who are virtually strangers, apart from some, who knew me from the birthday party, dissecting the flavours and getting happily tipsy while taking notes and giving these babies prices and marks. 

for me, it was a great experience to continue and develop. extending skills, expanding talents and ventures. look forward to the opening... shall keep you posted. 


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