He’s the chef that everyone is talking about in South London, and with good reason.
Rajiv’s Kitchen is a superb lunch spot, but you’d better get to the Crooked Well pub in Camberwell quickly as his pop-up is only due to last until September.
I do hope his run is extended as I’m keen to see the autumnal turn a new menu would take.
His summery menu is both very nice and very unexpected.
I have only eaten Nepalese food a handful of times and this lunch bore absolutely no resemblance to anything that came before.
There are no creamy curries to see here.
I understood so few dishes at first glance of the menu so this was very much a voyage of discovery and one which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Dining with me were my husband and little one so we had all perspectives covered.
I like the relaxed setting of a pub I’m familiar with, but with so much competition from great places in the area, it was difficult to make it there without getting sidetracked.
We avoided Soppocles Bakery in Camberwell Church Street on the way to lunch, but swung by on the way home and picked up a few rarely seen treats.
Chef Rajiv’s menu managed the unthinkable, to impress a five-year-old who discovered Momos.
For the uninitiated, these are dumplings. It’s easy to see why chef’s food has set palates racing.
His aim is to take simple ingredients and present them in a way you might not quite expect.
His cooking is straightforward but highly skilled, striving for and achieving perfection when it comes to flavour and aesthetics.
Kharbuja blew us away – caramelised watermelon, green chutney, whipped tofu and black salt.
Kaakro – cucumber, beetroot & spiced walnut parcels, pickled grated cucumber was a visual delight, prepared with skill and precision.
There were also lots of meat dishes – Bheda – spiced lamb meatball, roasted aubergine, hemp sauce, green chutney, yoghurt, smoky aubergine relish.
I love the combination of lamb and aubergine – it’s unbeatable and this dish took it to a whole new previously undiscovered level.
For those feeling out of their comfort zone, Spicy Chicken Burger, with Asian slaw and satay sauce, might well suffice, and there’s even the option of adding fries.
Picture: Isabel McCabe
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