January is a most divisive month. For some it heralds the hopeful turning over of new leaves; for others it is a month to trudge begrudgingly through towards the promise of spring. Whichever camp you find yourself in, we have plentiful diversions to share. See them as the cherry atop your already gleeful January cake, or a welcome distraction while you await winter’s end.
We’re feeling grateful for:—
Urooj Ashfaq, a Bombayite whose debut UK tour will surely brighten up gloomy January evenings. Settle in for her sharp show Urooj Ashfaq: Oh no! at the Soho Theatre and see why she was named Best Newcomer at this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards. (As fellow Bombayites we were extremely proud and not at all surprised).
We’re gaining fresh perspectives at:—
Race, Indian Revolution and the Colonial Camera, a talk at London’s Paul Mellon Centre led by Sushma Griffin, an expert in the visual cultures of South Asia. Often, photography explores colonialism by capturing it in action. But Sushma will explore strange and distorted images, whose commentary is created by what is not shown. An eye-opening evening in prospect.
Celebrating the small with:—
A new book and exhibition about the impact of South Asian Miniature painting on contemporary art. Read Beyond the Page: South Asian Miniatures and Britain, 1600 to now and learn about the exquisite beauty and extraordinary impact of these ancient, small-scale paintings. Then visit the MK Gallery to see examples of miniature painting dating from the mid-16th century.
Celebrating girl power with:—
Our Choti Dishoom tote bag – created to celebrate the opening of our newest café in Battersea. This fine cotton tote is spacious and sturdy – perfect for carrying morning chai, lunch dabbas or late-night shopping – and available on the Dishoom Store now. We warmly invite you to take a look. We hope it proves both inspiring and useful for your own adventures.
With February comes a gladdening of spirits, lighter morning skies and discernibly louder birdsong. It is also the month to bid farewell to our winter cocoons (at least partially) and tune back into the world beyond our blankets. Allow us to ease the de-hibernation process, by sharing some of the things piquing our interest this month.
“Who wants to see some magic?” Chef Arun calls out. He flings the rolled out dough into the air, sending it soaring above the counter. It spins and twists, a graceful dancer in the air. The children watch its arc, their eyes wide with wonder, until it lands gently back in the chef's hands. The children shriek in delight.
I AM HERE, dear reader, slovenly and slouched, staring into my drink at the end of the bar in our new restaurant in Battersea. My mind is still down and out, sifting around in the dregs of ’23 but of course it knows that I should really straighten my back, raise my chin and look squarely up into the cold new light of ’24. My drink – Choti’s Punch – clear and strong, sweet with a little salt, may help.
For Chef Rishi Anand Khatri, our newest café special is in fact an old family favourite. His earliest memory of eating Bhatti Chicken is aged 7 or 8, and he recalls his father – the late Khatri Saab – cooking it regularly, thanks to the tandoor on their Delhi terrace. (Bhatti refers to the scorching flame that the chicken is roasted over, until succulent).