It’s always a pleasure to spend a day at the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew (more commonly known as Kew Gardens), and there’s nothing nicer than wandering around on a summer evening and enjoying the whole tranquillity when the sun is just beginning to set.
I’m lucky enough to live less than a ten minute walk away from Kew Gardens and am a very regular visitor. Although I usually take a picnic, I absolutely love treating myself to afternoon tea or lunch in The Orangery. This stunning Grade 1 listed building is bright, with high arched windows and always looks inviting. When I heard that one of my favourite chefs, Alfred Prasad, was hosting a one-off supper club there as part of Kew’s Spice Season, I knew we’d be in for a treat.
Alfred designed a spice infused tasting menu that perfectly showcases his talents. Each course – inspired by a specific spice – was set to tantalise the taste buds and demonstrate modern Indian cooking.
After chatting in the pretty patio outside The Orangery, with some spice-infused gin cocktails, we entered to see that the building had been transformed into a candlelit and beautiful dining room. Oliver Peyton (best known as a longstanding judge in Great British Menu) is the founder of Peyton and Byrne and as our jovial host, welcomed Alfred, setting the scene for a spice-filled supper club.
Starting with an amuse bouche, Alfred served spiced chickpeas with some fresh and dried pomegranate. The jewelled fruit added sweetness and bite to the chickpeas, which were popped into a crisp puri shell. Topped with yoghurt, pickling spices and a pomegranate molasses chutney, these bite-sized snacks were a lovely opening to our menu.
The next dish was flavoured with mango-ginger (not mango and ginger, but mango-ginger also known as Curcuma amada) and became a great talking point. We learnt that it’s a type of ginger with a raw mango taste which worked superbly with the spiced raw scallops.Alfred’s starter was picture perfect and plated with edible nasturtiums, red onions and watermelon, was as pleasant on the eye as it was on the tongue.