18 October 2009

A Sandy Epistle

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Dear Diary

I have been a bad correspondent, I know. The burden of expressing my thoughts has weighed on me heavily. I shall now download freely, as there are a few things to convey.

Dubai continues to intrigue me. Today I chanced upon a restaurant that serves japanese and italian food. There were so many things to celebrate about it. The phillipino chefs may have been playing the role of authentic Japanese chefs, but in terms of their creativity they were anything but copycats. They along with the rather charming waitress spent some time talking with me, no doubt attracted by my singular presence and joie de vivre. The waitress, who was of Arabic (rather than usual indian) descent, rather confirmed my suspicion that only the veil prevents your correspondent from conquering the salons of the Middle East.

I then ended up having some so-called fat free frozen yoghurt and began to reflect upon the related notion of "Mooli's are delhi meets tokyo". What does this mean? All those in the immediate orbit of S&M appear to understand this mantra, and they are so confident of its meaning that it has become a pithy description of who they are. Yet I wonder if it is so clear given the fact that Japanese cuisine is not really reflected in the food. It can only mean the things that claim the hearts of the mooli's founders. The Japanese claim must, presumably, refer to all the things usually associated with (how we perceive) Japan, probably more specifically Tokyo: simplicity, quirkiness, inventiveness, symmetry and an obsession in big things and small. It is not just an aesthetic but (almost) a way of life. These are all alluring qualities, alluring certainly to our friends.

My mooli's friends have of late regularly mentioned their disdain for glow in the dark tikkas and other foods/items usually identified with the average "indian restaurant". They are right to distinguish themselves and be driven to save the term "indian food" from some of its more unsavoury associations. But I hope that we do not in the process forget the great contribution the restaurants did make; without their work the market mooli's is entering would be very different. And the contribution of these old establishments can only be understood when one appreciates that in so many ways England is the unlikeliest of places to fall in love with the rich, spicy almost heady mix that is indian food. Yet the fact that it did is something to celebrate.

I must now leave and download in a different way. I shall return.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

what are you doing in Dubai? Mooli's is launching in Soho in London!

Franziska said...

actually it's: mooli's are OLD delhi meets tokyo. remember when we went to kareem's (yum) with your special friend ;-)

nice post though.