A Dalston restaurant grows out of the markets

Lily of Gujarati Rasoi Brabdury St Dalston Lon 210712

FINE COOKING is coming to Dalston — in a tiny street next to Gillett Square. After almost 30 years of Hackney council-led encouragement, Bradbury Street may at last be coming to life as a mix of businesses occurs and an Indian cook chooses it as the location for her first restaurant.

Lalita, pictured, has been delighting outdoors munchers in markets in NE London, most lately from a trestle in Bradbury Street N16 8JN on the day the Olympic torch was borne along Kingsland High Street. She told Loving Dalston: “Madhur Jaffrey (the veteran cooking writer ) has been learning from me.” No small claim, but Jaffrey is publishing a book that includes four recipes credited to Lalita and will feature her in Curry Nation, on  the Good Food TV channel this October.

The vegetarian restaurant that she and her family plan to open this autumn will be called Gujarati Rasoi and will fit in 26 to 30 diners. Gujarat is the Indian state in which the family has its origins and rasoi meaning roughly, kitchen, stems from the notion of taste.

Lalita said that her skills had been passed down through the family: her mother who, with her husband, left Gujarat in the 1940s, was taught by her mother.

Urvesh Parvais, Lalita’s son, said: “My grandparents held on to the culture of their time — religion, language, family values and of course food,” she said. “This heritage was passed on to the next generation and in a similar fashion to the next, bringing the culture of the 1940’s to the present day.”

Urvesh said:  “Preserved within this cultural time capsule are the recipes and methods that my mother and I use use to create our ‘time capsule food’ for our markets and our products, as well as our forthcoming restaurant.”

London 2012 Olympics torch in Kingsland High St Lon E8 Sat 21 July  © David Altheer
The Olympics torch run near Bradbury Street gave a boost to stalls

Of course, more prosaic factors come into the tricky business of building a business and, asked about target customers, Urvesh replied: “Erudite Dalston foodies and hipsters.”

Vegetables would be “seasonal and local” as much as possible, said Urvesh. Chillies, ginger, garlic and other vegetables would be imported. Gujarati Rasoi would be offering diners beer and wine. Lalita would be “the heart and soul behind the food”, with a team of four in support.

“My mother and I make our food and range of products, and using traditional methods, techniques and whole ingredients,” he said. “Our curries, cooking sauces, chutneys and chai spices are made with great care and attention to detail, we ensure that everything we make reflect our very high standards.

“The manufacture is slow. No compromise is made to speed things up. What you experience is the taste of traditional Indian home cooking.”

Urvesh  added: “As long as people want to eat our food, we will continue to make it with love, passion and devotion. We will continue to preserve the precious recipes and knowledge given to us by generations of mothers. Thank you to all the mothers, and daughters!”

David Altheer 250712

* Disabled access: a big step at restaurant entrance will necessitate staff assistance.  

* Gujarati Rasoi has stalls at Exmouth Market Mondays-Fridays 10am-2.30pm; Borough Market Fridays 10am-6pm and Saturdays, 8am-5pm; Broadway Market Saturdays 10am-5pm and Street Feast this Friday 27 July 2012.

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