‘A truly authentic experience of North, West and South Indian cuisine’
Last Saturday I took a journey across India. Not literally, but through food. I went to my second Tabl pop-up, held at Cafe Rust on Preston Road. (I’m fast becoming a big advocate of the pop-up). The supper club host was a lovely lady called Pyria Deshingkar who was brought up in Delhi, raised by parents from Southern Maharashtra and spent 12 years living in the South Indian city of Hyderabad.
The Maharani supper club was designed to be a truly authentic experience of North, West and South Indian cuisine; the real street food you’d have if you were eating with the locals.
As always with Tabl pop-ups, the menu was set so we didn’t choose what dishes we had – but I find that’s all part of the fun. If you have a specific dietary requirement Pyria will contact you in advance and change your dish accordingly to work around this.
The venue for the event was perfect. Intimate, warm and rustic with pretty, twinkling fairy lights in the windows. It was really tucked away at the quiet end of Preston Circus, which just added to the wonderfully “secret” and exclusive feeling that these pop-up nights have. Now onto what really matters – the food!
Vada Pav – A classic Mumbai street food dish of spiced potato cutlets in a bun with fresh garlic, chilli and coconut sprinkle.
This vegetarian West Indian dish was Pyria’s mum’s recipe and one of my favourite courses. The seasoning in the potato was excellent. Salty, but just to the right level and with a hint of coconut in the sprinkle. The sprinkle is the part that really makes this dish so if you try it, be generous and cover the potato cutlets with it. I would happily eat this instead of a meat burger so that’s testament to how tasty this course was.
Chana Dal Palak and Puris – Split chickpeas and spinach with lovage and fennel, served with a wholewheat puris.
Another West Indian dish and a vegetarian one too. Slow-cooked to infuse lots of flavour and ensure the chickpeas hold their shape. I’m not normally into chickpeas and it’s not something I’d go for on a menu given the choice, but in the name of exploring other culture’s dishes I tucked in and was surprised how flavoursome it was.
Chicken Chettinad and Zeera Rice – A South Indian Curry from Tamil Nadu, served with cumin rice
This was really top-notch. The chicken was incredibly moist and it had a good fiery kick of spice. The long-grain Basmati rice was done to absolute perfection, not sticky and stodgy but light with each grain separated from the others (a sign that the starch was thoroughly washed away before the rice was cooked). The cumin flavour also came through strongly in the rice adding a lovely depth of flavour.
Faluda – A rose flavoured milk pudding with vermicelli, nuts and basil seeds.
Both my guest and I weren’t keen on this dish and looking around the room we weren’t alone. It looked impressive and the rose jelly was a beautiful flavour, but the noodles and milk together with the jelly was an unfamiliar texture combination that even with an open mind I couldn’t quite stomach. This one wasn’t for me.
PRICE: £28pp (not including wine)
RATING: Worth A Try
I thoroughly enjoyed the meal and experiencing Indian food how it should be made. The portions were generous with seconds offered on three courses. It was also lovely to meet and chat with Pyria too and hear how she creates the dishes. £28pp is great value for such a unique experience and the service was excellent.
If you’d like to book onto future Deccan Tiffin supper club events check out the pop-up profile on the Tabl website.
*Disclosure: I received one complimentary space at this pop-up and one I place I paid for myself. However, this has not affected my review which is an honest and impartial account of my dining experience.