Ultimate Bucket List: Indian Food
Consider this to be a personal memoir of what I’d call “experiencing life.” I plan to release a series of short articles where I tackle my bucket list. This is to serve as an outlet to my readers in unveiling something special to me, and continuing to find inspirational things in the small activities we can do. I believe life is something taken all too seriously for a majority of the time, and as writers, we look for new things to inspire us with not letting things become overwhelming. In my experience, a bucket list is the best thing to cure both problems!
So something smaller on my bucket list was trying authentic Indian food. I live in England for the time being, and that cuisine is HUGE over here. Sure, back in America we have Indian takeout and some cheaper places at our malls but (besides India) this is the best country to try some! I rallied my boyfriend and told him about the plan, being right on board with my random schemes; immediately amused to the fact I’d never had it and thought it was a great idea.
The search for the most authentic Indian cuisine we could find in our metro city of Bristol began. Having experience of eaten Indian food before and being a frequent fan, my boyfriend pointed out that it is a custom to pay for your food separate from your rice and your naan bread. (Which in case any American readers don’t know it’s nearly our Pita bread) This was a strange concept considering in the US and the UK; we put ours together. As it turns out, this is both a cultural and selective thing, but more on that later.
To save all the Googling and back and forth, and a couple of deciding details, we agreed on a place called “Nutmeg.” Nutmeg is a restaurant in Clifton, a town within Bristol, ran by a family from India. Their restaurant also has a Michelin star. This seemed like the perfect place to have my first Indian Cuisine experience! What Google Maps didn’t tell us, however, was you had to work for your meal. By work, I mean you had to climb a steep hill for a long time. If you ask me, it was to work up an appetite but who knows.
The atmosphere, once we arrived at Nutmeg, was fantastic. Traditional Indian art on the walls and a ceiling full of vibrant umbrellas transporting you to street markets in India. They had twinkling lights on the statues and windows for Christmas, and splashes of bright colours and patterns all over the menu and walls. It was a joyous environment. Our waitress took us to an upstairs balcony table for two, and the energy was even more home-like — a table that was above the clouds.
My boyfriend had to debate over ordering us a pre-set sample menu; which is what it sounds like. Or getting dishes he knew and thought was a great introduction. We went with Cod Amritsari and Onion Bhajis for starters. The Cod Amritsari, from my non-chef culinary perspective, is an Indian style, golden flaky and amazing fish finger. While the Onion Bhajis (Jarlath’s favourite) is a deep-fried onion with a lot of amazing spices that blend beautifully, since both he and I are huge onion fans and ask for extra at every place we go, it was an easy choice.
Next, with the help of our waitress, we went for Butter Chicken and Lucknowi Chicken Biryani along with the side of Garlic Naan and Bhindi Amchur, which are fried vegetables. Shockingly enough, the butter chicken didn’t come out a yellow colour as I expected. Instead, a warm auburn colour with the aroma of oak and curry. Which in my eyes, is a huge improvement to the previous thought of artificial yellow. The Lucknowi Chicken Biryani was (for my American audience) a pot pie, with fluffy yet creamy rice in it combined with chicken. Homemade Garlic Naan bread was delicious, and I ended up cheating a bit considering I don’t do carbs. They cooked the veggies to perfection with the charred, outside of being the tangy crunch they needed, to compliment all the other flavours going on in the dish.
At the end of it all, I was thankful for two things, the amazing experience I had trying the food and the fact Jarlath is can eat like a normal human against my bird stomach. But in all seriousness, Indian Cuisine comes with a unique flavour pallet that is absolutely worth trying out!