Stratford restaurant No.44 Brasserie at The Arden Hotel announces Indian food takeover inspired by country’s history
March 17, 2024

A Stratford-upon-Avon restaurant has announced its first ever one-night Indian food takeover inspired by the country’s history.

No.44 Brasserie at The Arden Hotel is hosting a “Holi Special” five-course food event on Saturday, March 23rd to commemorate Holi – the Hindu festival of colours – ahead of it being celebrated by millions across the world on Monday, March 25th. The festival is based on a Hindu legend with people seeing the festival as symbolising new beginnings, and as a time to mend relationships and start afresh – with many smearing bright colours on friends and family.

The limited edition Holi menu at The Arden in Stratford-upon-Avon will include lesser-known dishes inspired by India’s history, with chef Abhijit Dasalkar – who left India for the UK 20 years ago – hoping to leave a colourful impression on customers.

Abi Dasalkar Stratford chef

The menu will take diners on a mini tour of India’s states, including Haleem with Pav, a stew composed of meat, lentils, and pounded wheat made into a thick porridge, and served with soft milk bread roll. Original an Arabic dish, it was introduced to the Hyderabad state in the 18th century by the Chaush people during the rule of the Nizams.

Another dish Patra ni Macchi – a steamed fish dish topped with chutney and wrapped in a banana leaf – was developed after Persians migrated to the Zoroastrian Empire of Gujarat around the 10th century.

Other highlights include the Tandoori spring chicken 2.0, served with tandoori potato terrine, Nargis kofta, curried cauliflower, makhani sauce – which features the Indian version of a scotch egg – and has been popularised by the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) restaurant in Delhi.

Dessert features the Gajar Halwa, Rabri “panna cotta” which is an enriched carrot pudding made with grated carrots, milk nuts and clarified butter, along with milk flavoured with cardamom, rosewater and saffron. The dish originated in Afghanistan before the Dutch were credited with introducing it to India, where it is particularly popular in the city of Lucknow.

Another sweet option is the Indian version of the British snow cone – Kala Khatta Gola – flavoured with java plum syrup and chaat masala and also set to be a popular palate cleanser.

Abhijit started training to become a chef in 1999 in India but in 2004 packed his bags and moved to London to complete a diploma in French Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu.

He said: “My aim is to introduce Indian food lovers to a whole new dimension of the cuisine – to the point where they won’t be able to look at a chicken tikka masala or chicken korma in the same way ever again.

“Diners will be amazed at the different depth of flavours generated by different combinations – most curry lovers wouldn’t normally associate a stew with Indian cuisine for example.

“Being able to sample such a variety of Indian dishes at the home of Shakespeare next to the river Avon is a special occasion – and I’m sure The Bard himself would approve!”

The Holi takeover at the 2 AA rosette No.44 Brasserie restaurant is a five-course food event which will start for all diners 7.00pm on Saturday, March 23rd. Booking in advance is advised due to demand. For details and to book, visit www.theardenhotelstratford.com/event/holi-special or call 01789 298682.

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