I lost my wallet on Wednesday. Then my travel card on Thursday; and my mobile phone on Saturday. What did this mean? My religious friends might say it is bad karma. The spiritual ones will suggest it is a test for positivity in the face of adversity. Or it could just mean that I was careless, and lost some stuff. My Indian upbringing and the comfort of allowing things to mean what suited my current purpose has led to a lot of storytelling. I have become so good at this that even I can barely tell the difference between me and my story.
A side dish to this unappetising meal is also that I lost track of why I was doing the things I did. For instance, this blog. I wrote the very first blog post on a cocktail napkin while feeling very sorry for myself. To be honest, the first post didn’t really have a purpose. But with each meal I found strength and joy; and the purpose of my blog became self-discovery.
Two years on I am embarrassed and angry to realise that this blog is threatening to dilute into something else. That I am disappearing behind a new story. A story that started to care about blog stats, followers and number of hits. I became more interested in how many pictures I could take of a dish even as my food went cold… Somewhere in the last two years I began to get less authentic.
And then I lost my phone. I was on my way to a supper club and started to panic at the thought of not being able to update the world on the minutiae of my meal. What would I do?
I did what I used to do before I let the story take over. I enjoyed a meal without the pressure of out-Tweeting everyone else on the table. I gave the food the respect it deserved and after a long time, I gave into the food.
Supper Clubs can be hit or miss. Even when you know the food will be amazing you can be stuck on a table with a miserable bunch. Or you could find yourself amongst people who will feel like old friends. Like I did, when I dined at Sabrina’s Persian Kitchen. At £40 for ten dishes and a cocktail, Sabrina’s food cannot be matched for quality or value for money by any restaurant that I know. The meal was elaborate and these were the highlights for me:
- Mirza Ghasemi – a smoked aubergine starter that gave birth to Indian baingan bharta.
- Kotlet – beef and potato patties that took me back to when I used to swap shaami kababs from my friend Sharmeen Qadri’s lunchbox for chhole in mine.
- Slow cooked lamb infused with rose petals, cumin, sumac and cinnamon – this dish inspired a moment’s silence on our table. A perfectly cooked lamb shoulder found its place as our centrepiece, and was just awesome.
- Joojeh Kabab – saffron and lemon marinated poussin.
- Morrassah Polow – rice with pistachios, almonds, barberries and orange peel. The Persians take rice to heights few others can reach. I wanted to kiss Sabrina’s hands after my first taste of this magnificent dish. I’ve had Brittania’s chicken berry pulao a hundred time over; but that isn’t a patch on the magic in my rice bowl.
- Dessert was an almond, carrot, coconut and pistachio cake. I don’t usually like desserts so am definitely not the best person to comment on cake. However… it was served with a mesmerising rosewater cream. Light as air and soft as snow, I ate more cream than cake.
I’m forever saying “I love food”. That night, Sabrina’s heartfelt and generous cooking gave me a chance to actually try and figure out what that means.