DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS: INDIAN ZING
One of the best things to come out of the whole sorry affair that is this blog are the evenings known as DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS, which bring people together at restaurants we like for no other purpose than having a damn good meal. We have held seven such events to date. The first was three years ago at Hawksmoor and was attended by twelve people. The most recent, Monday night’s splendid meal at Indian Zing, was for fifty people and attracted requests for tickets well into the hundreds.
I chose Indian Zing in Hammersmith for the new location after a meal there in late August. It was the day of the Great British Beer Festival and, let’s just say, my palate was feeling a little jaded after a few pints of beer and the accompanying pork scratching based snackage. It was also pouring with rain and I got soaked on my way to the restaurant in Hammersmith. Despite my foul temper when I arrived, I was won over by the charming service and the food, which I quickly realised was some of the best Indian food I had eaten in London.
Chef/Owner Manoj Vasaikar could not have been more accommodating when approached about hosting the latest Dine with DH and not only closed the restaurant so we could have the place to ourselves, but also created a menu to show off the very best of what comes out of his kitchen. Not only that, but he had also gone into bat on our behalf with some of his drinks suppliers to make sure that we were all kept well topped up during the meal with great wines and, of course Cobra beer.
Most interestingly of all, we were joined by Johnnie Walker Brand Ambassador, Mandeep who provided us with whisky pairings to go with certain courses including a cocktail he had created called The Long Walker, which was served as people walked through the door.
The food at Indian Zing was every bit as good as I remembered. Although Manoj’s cooking is attractively presented, he never puts appearance before taste and his food shrieks of that dreaded word, authenticity. That was apparent the moment I arrived in a taxi laden with goody bags for the event and, in true Indian fashion, he insisted I have “a little something to eat” to take the chill out of my bones, producing a plate of stunning samosas and potato patties for me to nibble on.
By the time most guests had arrived, trays of canapés were being distributed and enjoyed. They were all good, but the succulent bite sized pieces of green peppercorn chicken tikka had me going back for more than my fair share. Of the main meal, it was the Karawi Fish Curry and Chicken Biryani which I spent most time spooning onto my plate although I am also definitely going to be attempting to recreate the creamy richness of Manoj’s makhani dhal in my own kitchen very soon.
Finally, being a good Bengali boy, no meal should end without dessert and we were served a terrific selection including warm and soft gulab jamun, shrikhand with berries and Payasam, a spiced rice pudding. The Gulab was accompanied by a glass of Johnnie Walker “Frozen Gold” which as the name suggests was served straight from the freezer and in frozen shot glasses.
It was a great meal and bang up to the standards that people have come to expect from Dine with Dos Hermanos and I would personally like to thank Manoj and all his superb team for their efforts and generosity during what was a very fun evening.
Enormous thanks also go to the following, without whose kindness we would have been eating our meal with glasses of tap water.
JOHNNIE WALKER WHISKY
And, of course, such evenings have to finish with people carrying the now legendary goody bags as they head for home. We would like to thank the following for their incredibly kind contributions which I know are being eaten/drunk/cooked with and thoroughly enjoyed all over London as I type.
LUSCOMBE NATURAL DRINKS
GREEN & BLACKS
TAB & SONS
And also, of course, the delightful Mathilde Delville who worked so hard to source their contents.
The next DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS will take place at the end of May (location to be announced) so please join our FACEBOOK group if you would be interested in coming along to that or any of the other events we organise.