Last month, I had the pleasure of being invited to an exclusive pop-up event which was being held by Navina Bartlett (aka Founder and Boss Lady) of the startup food business, Coconut Chilli. They provide South Indian curry pots which are made with fresh ingredients and then chilled. They even do an office delivery service – so it’s well worth checking out for future lunchtime needs!
The night was held at the very idyllic location, Spoke and Stringer, which was a perfect venue for it’s easy going and friendly atmosphere, with a dash of Bristolian style and urban interior. It’s the kind of place you’d escape the city from, tucked away from the noise and holding great views of boats, sun and sky…
The food was right in line with what I needed that night – an array of many dishes full of colour, texture and most importantly, flavour.
This was one tasty dish to have started with. Instantly comforting with a lightly spiced potato, with a sour note from tamarind and fresh burst of flavour from coriander chutney. I love yogurt and raw onions on these typical comforting Indian dishes as they are able to balance out any heat and bring an element of zing and crunch. I think I ate this within 10 seconds!
This cute portion of tender, very well flavoured pieces of chicken over onions and peppers and topped with coriander went very well with my little Chase Distillery cocktail there. This second dish gave me the impression that there was a lot of emphasis on fresh, flavoursome ingredients, and I was very much looking forward to even more…
Why yes, that is another drink next to the dish.
I think I could eat paneer in literally anything… I don’t know if it’s because Mum never made it (as she didn’t like it for some odd reason that I’ll never understand), so it was always a treat when I did eat it.
So I was very happy with this dish, clearly. The soft paneer that took flavours well with cooked vegetables – and then a random olive – all in all pretty much making you wish there was more. But remember, they were small dishes so you can’t complain! Ok, waiting patiently for the next one…
I love duck for always being a rich, strong flavoured meat, but I’ve never had it with Indian spices. These were very light and gently eased out flavours of what I believe was cardamom and star anise. So it was great to try something different as someone who eats Indian food most days.
These filo parcels were very interesting. Taking me back to some home cooking with sweetness in savoury dishes like lentil kachori for instance, and it working so well. The crunchy pastry with a soft filling but cashews and raisins making up for something to get your teeth into, this was another dish that was different, but also, it gave me some sense of roots as it reminded me of some home snacks.
Here’s one of the great Indian battered fish snacks you can get in places like Bristol Sweet Mart, based in Easton. It’s anything you’d expect of a battered fish and I was pleased that the fish was nice and soft and the batter full of spices and from what I could get was black pepper and cumin.
Just when you think it’s the end of the night as the small dishes were done, but yet, you know you still feel a bit hungry and want more – the biriyani comes out.
Oh what a biriyani it was. I’m a huge fan of this instantly well known rice dish that’s probably in most Indian restaurants. But this was not one that you’d find in a typical curry house or whatnot, this was like the homemade stuff I eat at home. Fragrantly spiced, coated in oils and spices I imagine seeped out of the chicken juices (which has to leave a clean glaze on your lips, otherwise you’re not eating it right) with more tender chicken and of course, the cashew nuts on top helping each mouthful feel taken care of and satisfied. Yeah, this was great.
Ok, just the description tells you this was good and I should mention that the halva was warm and with the ice-cream, you can’t really go wrong can you? Although halva isn’t always the first dessert I’d choose to make or eat out, but this was a very welcoming way to end this meal.
All in all, I was very happy with the versatile dishes that were presented, the vibrant flavours, a chance to try some new things and even having moments of being taken back to Mum’s home cooking…
I will definitely be ordering a curry pot and shall look forward to sharing my thoughts on the next blog post.
If you want to try out the curry pots yourself, go to Coconut Chilli’s website and check out the full range, which are now available to buy online.
Please note: I was invited to this launch and did not pay for my meal. However, this did not impact my opinions or enthusiasm about the food, and neither did they see this review before it went up.