120 CURRY PIONEERS

The Bri­tish curry scene is chang­ing. Here, we meet the chefs and restau­ra­teurs in­tro­duc­ing di­ver­sity and sea­son­al­ity – and re­veal what you should or­der on curry night

BBC Good Food - - Inside - words CHLOE SCOTT-MON­CRIEFF

How Bri­tain is chang­ing In­dian food

There will al­ways be a place for what we’ve come to love as a ‘tra­di­tional’ Bri­tish curry: the Angli­cised chicken tikka masala, with its lurid red sauce, cooked in vats to serve the masses. But there is so much more to the food of In­dia – a coun­try as big as Europe – and a new wave of restau­ra­teurs and chefs are show­ing us what we’ve been miss­ing, not just in their dishes, but in the ex­pe­ri­ence of eat­ing out. Above all, what dis­tin­guishes their ap­proach is an unerring fo­cus on re­gion­al­ity, sea­son­al­ity and short, sharp menus of­fer­ing tan­ta­lis­ing and sur­pris­ing taste twists.

At Dishoom (dishoom.com), now a restau­rant group of six, serv­ing in Ed­in­burgh and sites across Lon­don, co-founder Kavi Thakrar, re­calls, ‘When we started in 2010, we wanted to change things, tell sto­ries about Bom­bay’s Ira­nian cafés, about our cul­ture. There were stereo­types we wanted to break.’

Shar­ing this pas­sion is chef Mi­nal Pa­tel of Prashad ( prashad.co.uk), near Brad­ford, who isn’t afraid to in­no­vate on tra­di­tions passed down through gen­er­a­tions in her fam­ily. ‘Prashad is spe­cial be­cause it isn’t just a busi­ness, it’s a win­dow to Gu­jarat life, which was cre­ated by our founder, my mother-in-law, Kaushy,’ she ex­plains. Fel­low trail­blaz­ers Harneet and Dev­ina Baweja, who opened Gun­pow­der ( gun­pow­der­lon­don.com) in 2015, be­fore bring­ing us Madame D (madame-d.com), Gul & Se­poy ( gu­land­se­poy.com) and this au­tumn, their bak­ery Cus­tard, all in Lon­don, at­tribute this de­vel­op­ment to cus­tomers’ chang­ing tastes. ‘Bri­tons are well trav­elled now, they know bet­ter and don’t want to be hood­winked: they want fresh in­gre­di­ents,’ says Harneet. ‘Forty years ago, curry houses would of­fer re­gional home cook­ing but the Bri­tish palate wouldn’t want those chill­ies and spices, so they adapted. Now we’re adapt­ing again.’

The si­gree grilled mus­tard broccoli at Gun­pow­der is a taste ex­plo­sion

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