what do you do when everything tastes of varnish? find a fabulous restaurant. Babur!

prawn salad with green papaya
What do you do when everything tastes of varnish? Well, your first thought might be why the hell is everything tasting of varnish? It is a fair question and I am happy to tell you that it is not another disastrous cooking experience. It is merely that we have had the kitchen floor re-sanded and varnished. But despite all the windows and doors being left to air the house everything smells of varnish.

I even tried the old household tip about placing a few slices of freshly cut onion in a bowl with a tablespoon of water. The idea is that this will work to remove the smell by absorbing it in a few hours. Sadly, this may work with fresh paint but it really doesn't seem to work with varnish. So now my house smells of varnish and raw onion, which is not a winning combination. Certainly nothing Heston Blumenthal will be trying any time soon!

A result of this is that I don't much feel like cooking. I did actually make some bread and I am convinced that I can still taste a rather unpleasant flavour of sweet yet acrid chemicals. Of course, this could just be a vivid taste imagination. Sadly, the bread had a fabulous texture. What a waste!

So what should I do? Well, I suppose I could start buying takeaways. But apart from being on a strict budget, being Thrifty Girl, I don't really like them. You cannot imagine how delighted I was when one of my favourite restaurants in the whole wide world, Babur, invited me to a tasting afternoon. Was I free? they asked? Was it convenient? Hell, yes!

To be honest, I would have gone through hell and high water to go for a tasting at Babur. Their food is constantly delicious and full of surprises, so I would have cleared my diary, come what may.

I can't tell you specifically about their new summer tasting menu, since it hasn't been announced yet.  I can tell you that I had one of the best reconstructed prawn salads that I have ever eaten. It included a green papaya salad, tomato powder and a cube of prawn jelly that tasted sublime;. The whole dish was truly very special. The food that I tasted was fabulous And I have never experienced a tasting where the chef worked on our comments (and criticisms) while we were tasting. At the end of the meal, he had reworked one of the dishes and presented this dish to us again, one that definitely benefited from the changes and was bloody delicious!

What I can do is tell you about their fabulous Summer Collection of new cocktails. Seriously, how many places do you know that have matched cocktails with spicy Indian food? From their Pisco Sour and Cucumber Martini, they also include a tribute to the queen of English gardeners, Gertrude Jekyll, has a cocktail that is full of summer flavours; elderflower liqueur and Cointreau. A delicious combination which works very well with complex spice flavours.

I have mentioned before that coming late to the party that is Babur, is one of my big regrets. And I came late to the party because I thought that the restaurant was too far from where I live. It is not. It is 40 minutes from where I live. It is quicker to get to Babur than it is for me to get to the West End. So I would heartily recommend that you get on to the TFL website and find out how you can get there, it might be sooner than you think!

If you like the sound of Babur, then I cannot highly recommend enough that you get down there and also sign up for their tasting sessions. I would also mention that firstly, I didn't know any of the other "tasters", but that secondly, I spent a lovely afternoon talking to lovely, interesting people!

I cannot let Babur remain a well-kept local secret, this place is truly fabulous. Get a map, and get down there soon!


Unknown said...

Babur is indeed splendid. I can out myself as another fellow taster who really enjoyed the whole experience. Including the lovely company.
I will keep on reading your blog and may be we'll see each other again at another tasting. I certainly wouldn't mind.

Liz Lawrence said...

I too enjoyed the tasting, and cant wait to sample the finished menu. See you soon, at another tasting. Liz