Zoe Perrett

  • email: perrett.z@googlemail.com
  • Chai & A Chaat With Vivek Singh

    Wednesday November 21st, 2012

    Snaffling yet another of Cinnamon Kitchen’s smoky-as-you-like lamb seekh kebabs wrapped in roomali roti, I give silent thanks yet again that Vivek Singh decided to defy family expectation and become a chef rather than an engineer. He's looking pretty relaxed, drink in hand, as he launches 'Cinnamon Kitchen: The Cookbook'. So what, besides working a shift on the tandoor, gets the convivial chef all fired up?

  • Cinnamon Kitchen: The Cookbook- Vivek Singh

    Tuesday November 20th, 2012

    ‘Why are you doing an impression of Churchill?’ I’m asked by a housemate. No, I’m not puffing on a fat cigar and putting people down in a fabulously cutting manner- he means the nodding dog from the insurance ads. And, actually, he’s not far off the mark. It’s just I’ve got a copy of Vivek Singh’s ‘Cinnamon Kitchen: The Cookbook’ perched on my lap, and every recipe makes so much blimmin’ sense.

  • Moti Mahal: Divine, Refined Diwali Dining

    Monday November 12th, 2012

    Moti Mahal is high end, but low-key. So low-key in its outward appearance that we miss the entrance- the companion notes, ‘it’s designed to keep riff-raff like us boho types out’. But then this is a venue that has no need to shout for attention. And when we finally bumble in to the elegant dining room, we’re treated less like riff-raff and more like royalty.

  • Kebabs, Kings & Kung Fu Fighting

    Tuesday November 6th, 2012

    I’m sitting spinning a lazy Susan laden with bowls of Madhu’s finest curries, chewing my shami kebab in time to the still-sprightly vocal stylings of Carl Douglas. Yes, the celebrated one-hit wonder behind ‘Kung-Fu Fighting’. Surreal- even more so when Levi Roots bursts into ‘The Reggae Reggae Sauce Song’ ahead of handing Jose Pizarro the award for Restaurant of the Year for Pizarro’s. Welcome to the World Food Awards.

  • Roti, Chai & All That Jazz- Supperclubbing Indian style

    Tuesday November 6th, 2012

    ‘This one will get you in a sweet mood’, Hindustani saxophonist Jesse Bannister assures. Good- I need a dose of sugar after a slurp of the companion’s exceptionally tart Nimbu Sour, seasoned liberally with black salt. Yum, yum, and thrice yum. Coupled with the chaat masala-sprinkled plaintain chips, it makes for a very merry welcome to Roti Chai’s weekly Monday supperclub.

  • Bang! Pow! Zap! Dishoom Lands In Shoreditch

    Monday October 29th, 2012

    Us East London types are a parochial bunch. Friendly, but pretty parochial. So until now it’s been a right pain to venture into the tourist-ridden West End to get our fix of the buttery comfort heaven, pau bhaji, and tumblers of scrunchy ice gola. But! Hallelujah! No more. Because we’ve got own branch, appropriately bordering Banglatown and Hipsterville.

  • How Do You Measure Up?- Shirley Bond

    Monday October 29th, 2012

    That’s a nice recipe. Quite fancy knocking up a few of those snickerdoodles or a nice batch of lebkuchen for thrifty gifting...Oh damn, it’s an American book. And I can’t be faffed with all those sticks of butter and cup measures and trying to differentiate said cups from their American counterparts. Mission ‘Family Presents On The Cheap’, abort.

  • Capital Spice- Chrissie Walker

    Monday October 22nd, 2012

    Every so often a book comes along that you wish you’d penned yourself. Not only that, it IS the book you’d have penned yourself. Most of the time it’s authored by someone you have no qualms resenting for their sheer audacity at nicking the concept, but Capital Spice’s creator, Chrissie Walker, is just too damn lovely for me to hold any grudge.

  • Delhi-Dallying

    Friday October 19th, 2012

    It’s been almost a year since I visited the chaotic, crazy, captivating Indian capital and I’m feeling nostalgic. Especially since the Grande Dame of Indian home cooking, Madhur Jaffrey, has just made a rare London appearance at the South Indian Literary Festival, and I wasn’t there to see her. Madhur’s autobiography, ‘Climbing The Mango Tree??’ is full of delectable Delhi reminiscences- home-style chicken stews, the most artisan of breads, and the snack-y treats so beloved of the diverse people of the city that never stops.

  • Raj-y Bhaji- Feasting With Darjeeling Express

    Thursday October 11th, 2012

    Elbow room? Yes, that’s lacking. But what I’m more concerned about is just where my growing gut is going to expand to. 40 hungry diners squished into the diminutive School of Wok is all well and good, but none of us accounted for the fact Asma Khan was planning to stuff us to the very gunwales with her British-Raj themed, multi-course Indian feast.

  • Dine And Donate This Diwali

    Thursday October 4th, 2012

    Charity Action Against Hunger is a proponent of the best approach to food poverty- turning the gluttony we Westerners are serendipitously afforded into aid for those who can’t even sate their appetites, let alone feast. So, if the good effects are proportional to the amount we eat, a five-course banquet is guaranteed to make a pretty substantial difference.

  • Green Saffron Basmati- Rice To Entice

    Friday September 28th, 2012

    ‘When this rice is done, the grains should be standing on end, begging you to eat them, almost dancing around the pan’, declares Arun Kapil, himself doing a fair spot of the latter as he jigs about eulogising about Green Saffron’s AAA Vintage Basmati rice. He and Carom’s head chef, Balaji Balachander  have got a biriyani on the bubble, to demonstrate why this particular grain strain is just so superior.

  • The Perkin Reveller

    Sunday September 23rd, 2012

    I’ve just had a bit of a ‘When Harry Met Sally’ moment with an egg custard tart. It was rather a long time coming, if you’ll pardon the innuendo, with a pleasurably leisurely dinner finally culminating in this timely and ultimate climax. But I’m not at Katz’s Diner- not a bit of it. This restaurant is as staunchly British as that joint is pure Noo York, even taking its name from a character in one of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

  • Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast- Anjum Anand

    Monday September 17th, 2012

    It’s not easy being an omnivore who revels in the wonderful world of vegetables in all their myriad forms when you’re surrounded by chop-loving compatriots. Alright, I don’t mind the odd Ali Nazik down the Turkish, but a plain hunk of plated protein is monotonous enough to kill my voracious appetite quicker than you can say ‘5 a day’.  Veg, on the other hand, never fail to get the juices going- raw, cooked, pureed or whole... Let me at ‘em. Convincing the crew, however- now that’s a meaty matter. Holy cow, thinketh I, what am I taking on?

  • A Spot of Jaggery Pokery

    Tuesday September 11th, 2012

    ‘What are you looking at?’ enquires the boyfriend, innocently enough. And, like a woman from the telly ad for cheap hotel stays, I slam the laptop lid firmly shut and trill brightly, ‘Nothing, darling!’ But his knowingly raised eyebrows tell me he’s got my number:  covert food porn addict with long list of repeat offenses. ‘Honest.’ I insist. ‘It’s Pukka’.

  • Get A Bit Of Delhi In Your Belly

    Tuesday September 11th, 2012

    ‘Chocolate?’ asks the Kitchen Nazi incredulously, turning up his nose as he picks around the offending chunks, ‘What’s chocolate doing in the Bombay mix?’ Well, first of all, mate, you’ve made a geographical error- this is Delhi mix. Secondly- have you tried it? Apparently yes, and despite protestations about the wrongness of the pairing, I notice my precious tin depleting at an alarming rate. ‘Still checking you don’t like it?’ I ask, catching him tipping the last few crumbs into his gob.

  • Restaurant Review: Cinnamon Culture

    Sunday September 9th, 2012

    Light, airy, elegant... Not words you commonly associate with an Indian restaurant. Rarely fitting epithets for the way you feel post-curry, either. But then, Manpreet Dhingra and Jiwan Laal aimed to open a venue anything but common and, with Cinnamon Culture, the duo are right on the money.

  • Swiping Snacks & Rolling Roti With The Spice Tailor

    Thursday September 6th, 2012

    This article must begin with an apology. A heartfelt sorry to Anjum Anand's scampish daughter for crashing her family lunch and making a vast dent into her pile of fresh roti and keema peas. It's almost as criminal as taking candy from a baby. But, in my defence, you just weren't showing due appreciation for how deft your Mum is in the kitchen. Yet. But you will. Her flaky parathas and vibrant veggies will win you over.

  • Sunday Scoffing At School of Wok

    Wednesday August 29th, 2012

    ‘The Egg!’ I hiss triumphantly to my companion, tripping all over myself to get to said item. Seconds later, I’m sinking my teeth into a half-ovoid of sheer gustatory pleasure- all gooey sunset yolk, firm soy-poached white and the salty spike of fish roe. Simple. Stunning. Simply stunning... ‘Leave off you greedy munter,’ says the mate, ‘There’ll be none left for anyone else.’

  • Zoroastrian New Year- No Parsi-monious Feast!

    Friday August 24th, 2012

    Today is suspiciously auspicious. Not only is it my dining partner’s birthday, but also that of the bloke behind us. And, to cap it all, it’s only Navroz (New Year) for the Zoroastrians- the Persian sect from which the Parsis of India descended. The Parsi community has a well-deserved reputation for enriching both culture and cuisine wherever they tread- and, since landing at Gujarat in the 17th century, their influence has spread far and near.