It has been incredible watching the ingenuity, innovation and improvisation of our food and drink businesses this past year, and one outfit that has never for a moment settled for the status quo or simply surviving is the irrepressible Mandira’s Kitchen.
As regular LFB food finders will know, Mandira’s Kitchen have been something of a phenomenon in Surrey during this seemingly endless pandemic.
They have fed thousands in need throughout the lockdowns (from NHS staff to vulnerable school children and more) with flavourful Indian food, while also managing to expand their business to reach a national footprint from their idyllic Silent Pool base near Guildford, Surrey.
What started off as a kitchen table experience offering intimate seasonal supper clubs from Mandira Sarkar’s home has grown into a wraparound celebration of her Indian heritage and culture that is rooted in today’s Surrey food and drink community.
You’ll find Mandira’s frozen meals in farm shops; you’ll see their team at events (always with a smile); you can join them for cookery courses and supper clubs (when the time allows again); and you can send monthly Boxes of Happiness full of their delicious dishes from Land's End to John o' Groats.
Delicious dining at home
To brighten up a frozen February and liven up the longest introduction to a year in modern history, Local Food Britain treated ourselves to one of their Dine in for Two sets, which conveniently come with a bottle of Albury Estate Classic Cuvée from neighbours, Albury Organic Vineyard (depending on your preference).
Everything arrives neatly packed in a care package full of promise with easy-to-follow instructions.
We have heard of some restaurant kits where a full chef’s knowledge of knife skills is required to open the box let alone get ingredients from packaging to dish. This is, of course, all grand if you enjoy a MasterChef challenge, but it’s not always ideal if you are just looking to enjoy a quiet night together with a drop of plonk and a dose of Netflix… while trying to keep the kid/s entertained but out the way.
Handily, things could not be simpler with the Mandira’s Kitchen dinner set. While they don’t send anyone to do the washing up for you, everything else is covered.
To start, the Lamb, Vegetable and Pizza samosas with tomato and date chutney are utterly moreish. I could probably eat a box full of those on my own, but they are only just setting the scene. Explosions of flavour with every morsel.
The mains are an abundant feast that you could probably share with the neighbours, if you’re still on good terms with them after a year of over the fence “passing the time” chatter. Depending on your appetite, of course.
A flavour adventure
Ladles full of Cranberry and Cashew Rice, Chicken Rezala (with poppy seeds and mace), Alu Gobi (home-style baby potatoes and cauliflower cooked with tomatoes), Dal Makhani (black lentils simmered overnight with spices) are spooned onto plates and enjoyed with Naan bread – and all the while that glorious Classic Cuvee from Albury Vineyard bubbles away sip by sip.
Our foodie adventure ends with refreshing Mango and Cardamom Gelato, decadent Spiced Chocolate Samosas and chilli chocolates with a cup of chai. Bursts of exuberant flavour and sunshine.
Suffice to say, we love every minute of our Mandira’s Kitchen dining adventure. It is a simple, delicious, enjoyable and special way to spend a lockdown evening, while sparking future dreams of travel, adventure and new experiences (whether on our doorsteps or internationally).
While Mandira’s Kitchen continues to grow through the most challenging of circumstances, Mandira and her team have done an exceptional job at maintaining the heart, soul and homeliness of this wonderful business.
Local Food Britain cannot wait to see what they do next, and we look forward to joining them at a Silent Pool supper club when the time comes for us all to mingle and celebrate together again.
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