David and Louise house and garden had been transformed for a day into the Gouville Balti House restaurant and car park together with a neighbour’s gite being requisitioned for overflow parking. Polly and Donna, otherwise known as the Pop-Up Restaurant, provided the catering.
Members began arriving at 12 noon and, welcomed by a pre-lunch drink and nibbles, were soon mingling and exchanging news and banter. In what seemed no time at all luncheon was ready to be served.
Two long trestle tables and benches set up in the lounge with a table of eight in the dining room saw 32 sit down in readiness for some genuine Indian style cuisine, no doubt quite a few harking back and recalling past times of regular visits to their favourite local “Indian”.
Press-ganged into service, our affable and attentive waiting staff appeared carrying a starter of Punjabi samosa with raiti and pickles made by cleverly combining the right mix of turmeric, tomato, cucumber, potato and complementary spices.
Next, the main course, a choice of a chicken, a beef or a vegetable shamba dish, was brought to each table in separate large serving bowls allowing everyone to select their own preferences. The Murgh Makhani chicken, a spicy tandoori from the south of India, was cooked in cream and butter with fresh chilies, these chilies grown by Chris generated a worm glow on the tongue and lips. The Kashmari beef rogan josh utilised a cut of bourguignon beef flavoured by yoghurt and chilies.
The vegetable shamba followed a traditional recipe given to Polly’s parents by locals they had met during their travels in India. This recipe was representative of the wide range of vegetables typically used in cooking across the Indian sub-continent and included green lentils, chickpeas, broccoli, aubergines, tomatoes and onions. These three main dishes were accompanied by tarka dahl, basmati rice and naan bread.
A dessert of either pistachio ice cream or mango sorbet cooled the palate and the lunch was rounded off with tea or coffee.
The spices used in the meal also came from India thereby adding to the authenticity Polly seeks in her menus. She very much prides herself that all her meat and vegetables are both fresh and locally sourced apart from specialist items such as the superb lime pickle.
Polly and Donna received an enthusiastic and well deserved vote of thanks for providing an excellent meal. It is no easy task to satisfy the varied appetites of a large group of diners.
Write up and photos courtesy of members.