Saturday, September 10, 2011

London 2011: Rasa Samudra, Fitzrovia

Chris and I are in London this week, in honour of our tenth wedding anniversary, which falls on Thursday. We plan to visit many museums, do some shopping, take in some theatre, and eat a lot of really good food. Oh, and walk a lot to justify all the eating. We flew in on the overnight direct flight from Ottawa and got settled in our rental flat in Fitzrovia, central west London, around 2 p.m. We napped, we showered, we visited a Tesco to pick up breakfast and tea supplies, and then we headed back out to explore our neighbourhood. Eventually we got hungry and needed a place for a not-too-heavy, casual dinner. I've done a lot of research on restaurants in the area, so I remembered an Indian place called Rasa Samudra that specializes in cuisine from the Kerala region, where the parents of our lovely friends D and L hail from. They have made us the Keralan specialty dosa (like an Indian crepe) before, but we hadn't tried many of the other regional dishes, so we went for it.

The restaurant is pink, there's no two ways about it, and it serves only fish, seafood and vegetarian curries, which we were fine with. We had a tilapia curry in a sauce of roasted coconut, red chili, tomato and tamarind that blew our minds. We had lemon and turmeric scented rice. We had bagar baingan, eggplant in cashew, onion and yogurt sauce with fresh curry leaves. The eggplant almost made us cry, it was so good. We rounded it all out with a dish of crispy curried vegetables cooked with spicy turmeric and mustard seeds. Chris finished with Indian rice pudding with cashews, cardamom and raisins, while I went with my usual mango sorbet. The meal was light while still rich-tasting, just spicy enough for our tastes, and utterly delicious. We mocked the obnoxiously entitled and rude Brazilians seated next to us, to the delight of our waiter. And then we walked four blocks back to our London pied a terre for the next six days and made an excellent pot of tea.

Life is good, my friends. Life is very, very good.

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