I’ve never really liked Indian food. Then again, I’m clearly ignorant. We’re talking a country of 3.2 million square kilometres in size, and with 1.4 billion people. Having never been to India, do I have a right to say I don’t like Indian food, with all the variety and nuance that a country of such immense size must surely include? Surely not.
Rather, what I mean is, I’ve never really liked the narrow form of Indian food that British takeaways sell as Indian food. In honesty, I don’t know anything about Indian food. Nor had I ever properly experienced it.
That was all set to change as I visited London’s Kahani restaurant, where Michelin awarded chef Peter Joseph practices his craft. Located in Chelsea, it is just a few steps down towards the dining room where beautiful lighting and décor is calming and classy.
I began the evening with a Tandoori Ananas; a spiced rum pineapple cocktail that was energising, powerful and bold. Delicious and a good way to open the taste buds as I awaited the upcoming delights.
Spiced chickpeas to begin. I’ve rarely had chickpeas that weren’t boring, but these were anything but. Bursting with flavours and a soft texture with a delicate mild spice.
For mains, I went for the Kashmiri lamb shank, slow cooked with browned onion and Kashmiri spices. My friends, we need to talk about this lamb shank, so please allow me a very short moment to indulge.
While I may not be an expert on Indian food, I do know a good lamb shank when I taste one. The meat literally melted off the fork and into my mouth. The flavours transported me far, far away. It was absolutely the best piece of lamb I’ve ever had. I would like to base my Kahani experience solely on this lamb because it was truly an incredible experience that seemed to go past all too quickly.
Isn’t that the mark of a quality dish? Something you eat that’s so good, you want more and more, but which ends, leaving you wanting to come back for more at the nearest possible opportunity?
I also tried chargrilled chicken makhani and a Kerala fish curry, which was filled with soft halibut chunks. These dishes were much more closely matched to what I imagined a traditional curry would be and are responsible for really opening my mind about the multitude of flavours to be found in Indian cooking.
Nevertheless, it was that lamb that captured my imagination. I would also like to mention the pretty chilli chocolate mousse sphere as well as the wine pairing provided by the team at Kahani, which was not only well informed but also extremely well executed.
So the big question is, do I like Indian food? Absolutely yes! Thank you Kahani. My mind is now thankfully now open to the vast culinary opportunities that await as I seek my new spice endeavours of the future for many years to come.
To discover more, visit: https://www.kahanidining.com/
By Shaun Smyth