By Chrissy Iley
Last week I went to a wonderful Indian supper club at the home of Yogesh Datta and Vandana Datta. Yogesh is the groundbreaking owner and head chef of the wonderful Painted Heron in Chelsea. The supper club was celebrating Diwali – it signifies the victory of good over evil in Hindu mythology and I think the sharing of delicious food with quite lovely people was absolutely about the victory of good over evil.
I went with my friend Cindy, an artist who’s currently working on turning some of her paintings into tapestries, including one of the Queen’s corgis and as stitching has been found to help the clinically depressed or anxious she’s raising money for the Leanne Baker Trust. So it all seemed quite fitting.
The food though was transformatively good. To start off we did shots of rum from the inside of a crispy Puri, tiny unleavened Indian bread. Then a mixed appetiser including the tempura Okra which was just gorgeous. Crispy okra, slightly sweet with a gently spicy Indian batter and then the textures all melt in the mouth. It’s a heavenly thing. The buffet for the main course was a banquet of the divine. Coconut inspired vegetables, dahl with a potent kick, the fluffiest, loveliest of Pilau rice, a selection of gorgeous Naan bread and tandoori lamb chops for the meat eaters.
Vandana who is not a chef but works in mental health made all the sweets. She is vegan so some were made of vegan Baileys and other gorgeous coconuts, cherry and date mini slices. There was a delightful Pistachio Indian fudge which was quite Moorish. Creamily sweet but with such an interesting nutty texture, it was the most elegant comfort food I’ve ever had. And it was a wonderful night.