Nostalgic placemat

Nostalgic placemat

To mark the 80th birthday of Hamida, Khushi Mohammed’s wife and the matriarch behind the brand, the folks at the popular local Indian that bears her husband’s name have decided to recreate some of the recipes served at the original Potterow premises in 1947. When their PR people at Holyrood PR dropped us a line to ask if we’d like to give things a try, we were more than happy to accept the invitation.

This isn’t the first celebration of all things retro we’ve seen, of late, as Bistro Moderne’s new Dining Club saw Mark Greenaway innovatively revisited the dishes of the 80s to great acclaim, last month.

Starter platter

Starter platter

I was joined this evening by Eleanor who’d previously quested at The Magnum. One more gig in these parts and she may find herself as the official Broughton Street correspondent.

Khushi’s has now firmly settled in to its Antigua Street premises and is constantly busy with a loyal following. Tonight was no exception. We were seated at a table in the upper section and left to contemplate the menu.

Evil pickled chillies

Evil pickled chillies

This was more an exercise in emotionally preparing ourselves rather than making choices, as we were sampling the set menu, although we did have main course selections to settle upon. The constituent elements of dishes sounded familiar, although it was a while since we’d seen trifle on the menu, but we were prepared for retro surprises.

First up was a sharing platter of starters including minced lamb samosas, veggie samosas, chicken shami kebabs and veggie pakora. It was lovely to see that the spirit of 1947 has reached into the kitchen at Mithas, Khushi’s top-end sister restaurant, where a similar dish to the original chicken shami is now available as part of their excellent bar kebabs menu to go with their cocktail tasting selection.

Trifle

Trifle

Main courses were a throwback to post-war austerity in as much as mutton, a greatly under-utilised meat, was front and centre. If they were using a cut-down set of spices it didn’t show as dishes were packed with flavour and complexity. They had interesting accompaniments with intense lime pickle and pickled chillies that would have had Clement Atlee’s moustache hairs standing on end.

Things were rounded out with a comforting rice pudding kheer and a neatly presented trifle slice topped with mango sauce.

Overall, this felt more like a tribute to the evolution of Khushi’s over the years than a celebration of 1947 specifically. This was no bad thing as it showed how the original recipes had informed today’s thriving business. In this it was both celebratorily reflective and contemplative of how their future offering will develop.

The menu is served on weekdays until the end of March. It costs £19.47, of course! I rather suspect that if (when) it’s positively received it will appear as an ongoing special, as it provides a useful insight into how this pervasively popular cooking style has evolved in our fair city.

We ate: sharing starter platter, lamb kofte curry, mutton curry, naan, rice, pickles, kheer, trifle

We drank: BYO wine, water, espresso

We wore: two tone brogues, tweed

Total bill: picked up by the restaurant/PR folks

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Written by BKR