Mgeni Supper Club
Get your tiffin around this! A six course Gujarati tasting menu is what one half of Growing Underground’s Richard and myself his partner Jerina, were lucky enough to be invited to – courtesy of the Mgeni Supper Club. Hosted by the lovely Anokhee and her husband Indrajit, we were welcomed into their West London home for a night inspired by the traditional vegetarian cuisine of Gujarat, India. And we didn’t just go because we were hungry, it was all in aid of Find Your Feet #CurryForChange which supports poor communities in Southern Africa and South Asia.
Thankfully on this barmy Saturday night it was al fresco dining in the garden where we met six other guests all equally food lovers. The Mgeni duo promptly quenched our thirst with the offering of a ‘varyari nu paani’ which is a refreshing fennel seed infusion of course! After mingling with the other ‘supper clubbers’, entered our first course of ‘khaman dhokla ane lili chutney’ aka steamed chickpea cake & coriander sauce. These were as beautifully presented and as good as the khaman dhokla found at the award winning Cinnamon Kitchen. Deliciously light and airy with a hint of spice and just the right amount of coriander sauce to compliment but not make the sponge soggy. Let’s face it, nobody likes a soggy bottom.
The next course of ‘kadhi ane mitthi dhokri’, a spiced yoghurt soup, was served in charming tiny china lidded pots, each one different and a delight to uncover revealing the white brothy soup. Delicate and fragrant the soup could almost doubled up as a palate cleanser, but paired with the accompanying sweetened wheat was like a lip smacking sumptuous enticer.
‘Thepla kanposho nu shaak ane dahi’ was up next in the form of the cutest fenugreek flatbread with kidney beans – little in size but massively moreish in taste! The tiffin box that followed summoned a Heston Blumenthal style ‘ooh and ahh’ from us all. As we took the metal boxes apart we discovered steamed rice, chapati, dhal with moringa along with pickles and green beans which perfectionist Indrajit had managed to cut completely uniformly. This course was perfect for a warm evening; light and flavourful, cucumber slices infused the chapati giving a refreshing note and we were taught how to suck the moringa (don’t worry this is perfectly legal).
We were then treated to not one but two desserts; first a ‘magaj’ almond shortbread jewelled with cardamom and pistachio. Second was a ‘varyari ni mithai’ which was a naughty dark chocolate tart with an awesome fennel ice cream, finished off with traditional Indian masala chai in pretty bone china tea cups.
The savoury dishes were more fragrant than spicy which is quite a refreshing angle from the average Indian restaurant and with not a hint of chilli in sight and an educated reminder that not all Indian food is the same. India is a huge country and the flavours it produces vary dramatically depending on the area. There is certainly an Indian cuisine for every taste bud.
All in all a fab night with a fun bunch of supper clubbers. Anokhee and Indrajit are an endearing couple cooking up gorgeous food in aid of charity, who despite producing a six course menu, never once appeared stressed in the kitchen. They clearly work in harmony together which is reflected in the food they produce; tasty, delicately flavoured and beautifully put together. You can taste the love at Mgeni Supper Club