Kheera Kitchen is a start-up Fresh Indian restaurant concept that has been simmering slowly since 2014, and is now coming to the boil. This was their first pop-up, to road-test all the dishes they've been working on so hard over these last two years.
I've worked in the restaurant game for nearly 20 years. During that time I met David Read. David runs a restaurant purchasing consultancy, that helps big and small restaurant, hotel and catering companies not just improve their food costs, but also their carbon footprints.
In 2014 I bumped into David at an industry event. We'd not caught up for a while. He told me all about his recent 9 week trip around India on a motorbike, during which he experienced very different Indian food to what he'd had in the UK - fresh, cooked on the spot, diverse, regional and often vegetarian. He said he'd love to see something like that in the UK. I said 'let's do it.' So that's our plan.
We've been working away on the project on the side of our day jobs, and bringing key new people into the team, including our head chef, Leon Smith, and our head of design & build, David Anderson. Mostly David Read and Leon have been working up new dishes, assembling a potential full menu. This pop-up was the first outing for our first menu, to see how they worked at pace and at volume, and to get some real feedback from real people paying real money.
Here's the full menu.
Coconut Eggs (V)
Kadai Paneer (V)
Aloo Tikki (V)
Slow-Roast Aromatic Lamb
Kheera Fresh Vegetable Curry (V)
Stewed Aubergine (V)
Aloo Gobi (V)
Aromatic green vegetables (V)
Naan bread (V)
Caramel Cardamom bananas (V)
Lime and Fennel burnt pots (V)
Chickpea pancakes with blueberries and orange anise honey (V)
We've had great feedback. Very positive. And some great constructive criticism too. We gave out notepads and pens to all tables and asked our guests to share their thoughts dish by dish. The frank feedback has been really helpful focusing the team's development work. Thanks for taking the time on all those notes!
Our next Canteen pop-up, La Petite Bouchee, on June 8th, is sold out. We've just put our following pop-up, on June 22nd, on sale. Elvira's Secret Pantry will be putting on a Greek/ Italian menu with both veggie and non-veggie options. You can book here.
We're always on the look out for local young adults who might like to gain some paid work experience on one of our CanTeen pop-up nights, serving guests or helping in the kitchen.
We're also keen to hear from anyone who might like to contribute a menu of home cooking for our team to produce at one of our CanTeen pop-up nights!
Finally, a special mention to the Penge Food Festival we are looking to make happen this summer: Pengelicious. Right now we are working really hard to secure as much support as we can before the Mayor decides whether to back us or not, on 6th June - just 2 weeks away.
You can LIKE or COMMENT for free at www.spacehive.com/pengelicious. Even if you don't want to pledge, your likes and comments will still evidence the local support that the Mayor wants to see. And of course there can be no PLEDGE too small or too big. Even a few quid. Again, it's about the number of pledges, to demostrate the extent of local support for the project. You can read a bit more about Pengelicious here.
Thanks again for all your support for this community project.