On The Menu: Lamb raan bun; Rubies in the Rubble chutney; Crystal Head Vodka; Bompass and Parr; Rude Health Pumpkin
This week I've been eating… Lamb raan bun
Dishoom is both the sound effect made by punches thrown in old Bollywood films (like "kapow" in 'Batman') and it is a duo of Indian restaurants in London. I like both – but I prefer the restaurants. I recently went to the newer of the two in Shoreditch and had the best bun and funniest time I've had in ages.
Bun first. It was lamb raan, made from pulled lamb bursting with juices and aided in its loveliness by a slight prickle of spice and a large, entombing sourdough bun.
Obviously there was fun in my bun but also lots on the cocktail menu. After two Edwina's Affairs and a Julep, we struck up a conversation with the table adjacent to us. Friends of the owners, they said, and often in there. The lady, an optometrist, noting my squinting at the menu, offered me, on the spot, discounted laser-eye surgery. Probably not a standard offer to first-time diners – but even if you miss the friendly optometrist, the bun and booze are a draw enough.
We are hurtling towards the season of chutneys and preserves. The time when cold Christmas meats or an ageing pork pie are reinvigorated with a dollop of this or that. This year why not ditch the piccalilli, though, and check out the pear-and-walnut chutney from Rubies in the Rubble. It's blooming with autumn flavours and it uses only market-surplus fruit and vegetables – so it's good on the tongue and on the conscience. £5, fortnumandmason.com
It ought not to be the case, but looks matter. Even when it comes to bottles of booze. I've noticed this a fair bit since getting a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka, which, as the name suggests, is not so much a bottle of vodka, more a head of vodka; a cut-glass head, to be exact. I suspect the fact that it has been drunk by my friends at twice the rate of the other well-known brand next to it on the shelf, has little to do with the grain vodka winning gold at the World Spirits competition and more to do with the fact Dan Akroyd sells it and it looks so bloody cool. £42.49, thedrinkshop.com
You may not know Bompass and Parr, the organisers of off-beat food events who famously cooked a jelly feast for 2000 people on Heston Blumenthal's 'Feast' programme. But the pair are some of the most inventive operators in food. Its new book, 'Feasting', their third, is out next week. It is nominally a cookbook containing their full oeuvre – from surrealist stuffed eggs to chicken lollipops – and a historical romp through great feasts of history. But the real fun is in simply looking at the pictures. £25, anovabooks.com
A pumpkin-seed health bar is, to my mind, the thin end of the wedge when it comes to snacks. Are they not for small rodents and Californian health freaks? Seemingly not, for virtue and taste come together marvelously in the Rude Health Pumpkin. They now have pride of place in my "afternoon snack" drawer. 99p, planetorganic.com
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