To witness this unity and altruism while the population faces the uncertainty of the future, leaves me feeling hopeful.
If there’s one thing I’ve missed during the London lockdown, it’s dining out.
Playing out the experience in my mind alone makes me itch for an outing. Getting glammed up, embracing your loved ones, contemplating cocktails only to order the same as your friends, dilated pupils studying the menu, and cheerily meaningful chats leading into the late hour. Now, that’s my kind of fantasy.
My ‘last supper' was at the beginning of March at Dishoom Shoreditch. Sipping our East India gimlets and savouring every mouthful of the tender and spicy chicken ruby, my friends and I were oblivious to the fact that this would be our last dinner outside of the house, for quite some time. I’m completely satisfied with my last supper choice, as I am with the decision of a karaoke bar afterwards.
I miss the days of being able to enjoy my favourite Southeast Asian cuisine at Pawpaw restaurant, back home in Brisbane, Australia. If I could jump onto their takeaway app right now, my order would include pad Thai, steamed bao, papaya salad, and probably a load more, because that’s what you do when you want something you can’t have. I want the whole lot. *snaps fingers*
Dishoom and Pawpaw. One is in London, the other in Brisbane. However, distance is the only thing separating the two restaurant Groups right now, as both businesses similarly tend to those in need during the coronavirus crisis.
I worked with Pawpaw and the Venzin Group before my move to London. I was the marketing and events lady who launched the Venzin magazine. Those of you who have a copy, I hope you’ve been making use of the recipes during this welcomed baking season! I’ve already made the peanut butter banana bread and snapper green curry. Dishoom has a cookery book too. If it’s Bombay comfort food you desire, you can try replicating the okra fries or lamb raan as I plan to.
Dishoom and Pawpaw have a few things in common:
They’re both family-owned businesses and have established themselves as highly-acclaimed restaurants, inspiring the hospitality world and beyond.
They’re my favourite restaurants not only because of their delectable South Asian fare and signature cocktail menus but because of their warm and genuine service, welcoming you through their doors like family.
Lastly on my list - and most relevant to the headline; though they have both had to inevitably limit their services, cut staff and lose revenue, Dishoom and Pawpaw are helping their communities during the current crisis by providing food to the people who are most vulnerable right now.
Supporting their staff and making use of an empty kitchen, the Pawpaw family have been cooking for the homeless, preparing hot meals for those in need. Partnering with food rescue organisation OzHarvest, Pawpaw has humbly invited those who can during this period, to donate to help cover the costs of food ingredients and to enable them to keep their chefs employed. You can read more about the campaign and donate here. #hereforhope
Dishoom has joined forces with leading UK hospitality groups in a campaign to make hot meals that are delivered to London hospitals for critical care staff, and with enough participants, this campaign will reach the nation to feed the NHS. You can read more about the campaign and donate here. #feedNHS
To witness this unity and altruism while the population faces the uncertainty of the future, leaves me feeling hopeful of a silver lining to this pandemic crisis. Hopeful of us learning something from those who may be suffering yet are still in good grace; grateful for what they have, and for what they can do to help others.
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