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An Indian Extravaganza

Bels Blogs - Vivek Singh - Feature

I’ve always loved Indian food but have generally been underwhelmed by the sea of sameness on menus.

So to find something “different” and modern is a real treat. And what a treat I had last Sunday night during “An Evening with VIvek Singh”.  The Cooking Club, a local group of culinary enthusiasts, organised this event at TemptAsian at the Palace Hotel in Sliema.  Vivek Singh, owner of London’s The Cinnamon Club restaurant, is a renowned authority on Indian cuisine: and his menu for the event was testament to that.

Vivek told us how he wanted to take us on a culinary journey through India from Rajasthan to Kerala, to the Middle East, on to Malta and finally to his adoptive country, England.  The menu was both imaginative and delicious.

We kicked off with a welcome cocktail with a choice of an alcoholic Mango Kick or a non-alcoholic option of a Watermelon Cooler. I opted for the watermelon cooler which was the perfect accompaniment to the Tapioca cake, green mango chutney and Lamb seekh kebab that were serves as canapés.

Once at table the real feast began:

Burnt cumin and mint ice shots with masala semolina shells:

The shot was more broth like than icey, but wow did it pack a punch of flavour. This perfect little bite left a warming flavour of cumin lingering on my taste buds.

 

Cured salmon carpaccio with green pea chutney and Bengal puffed rice:

Probably my favourite item on the menu. The combination of the soft salmon, with the wasabi-esque chutney and the slightly sweet crunch of the puffed rice had me wishing this dish would never end. 

 

King prawns grilled-coconut curry sauce:

The beautiful char on the prawns had me dreaming of seafood being grilled on an exotic beach somewhere in Asia. The curry sauce was subtle enough not to mask the delicate flavour of prawns while maintaining that inextricable link to India. 

 

Rajasthani spiced tandoori Rabbit tikka, sweetcorn curry, chickpea bread:

Vivek’s nod to Malta’s national dish. Perfectly moist rabbit bathing in the sublime sweetcorn curry. The whole dish was brought to life by the little jewels of pomegranate sitting on top of the chickpea bread. 

 

Cumin & chilli crusted seared beef, morel & pea stir-fry, saffron sauce:

Perfectly tender beef with the light fragrance of saffron permeating every bite…accompanied but the most velvety mash potatoes. I wasn’t expecting mash at an Indian meal…but hey who doesn’t love mash.

I was intrigued to find that the accompaniment of naan bread also included a wholemeal version.

 

Garam Masala sticky toffee pudding, carrot fudge & clove ice cream :

If the salmon was my favourite dish, this was the crowning glory. While everything was lovely, the true stars on the plate were the clove ice cream and the little shards of nougat creating the perfect crunch on top of the sticky toffee pudding. 

Every course was beautifully paired with a different wine, both local and foreign.

The entire evening was an experience not to be forgotten. The cooking Club are planning similar events with international chefs every 6 months. So watch this space for news of future events. To find out more about the Cooking Club’s regular events visit http://www.cookingclubmalta.com/

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