Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

World on Our Doorstep; with So Many Ethnic Eateries in London It Is No Wonder We Eat out So Often

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

World on Our Doorstep; with So Many Ethnic Eateries in London It Is No Wonder We Eat out So Often

Article excerpt

Byline: FAY MASCHLER

HURRAH! Britain has come top of a European league table. If the lifestyle survey in the Wall Street Journal has got it right, Britons eat out more than any other European nation. Apparently almost half the population goes out for a meal at least once a week and those under the age of 24 twice a week. Other recent research has shown that people in this country no longer consider eating out a big deal.

This is bad news for cookery book authors but good news for restaurateurs, some of whom must also be cheered by other statistics flung our way which claim that the high number of restaurant closures this year has been overtaken by many more new businesses opening.

The bedrock of this seismic change in habits - wasn't it cool Continentals who used to sit around in caf?s, toying with a baguette or twirling their linguine? - is, in my view, the ever-improving ethnic restaurants with which London is blessed.

We may all be eating out more but it is only a tiny percentage who are testing Gordon Ramsay's latest gaff. Most are munching pizza or going out for an Indian, a Chinese, a Thai, a Malaysian, a pan-Asian noodle bar.

The trickledown theory where wealth is concerned doesn't seem to work but it has worked with the authenticity of foreign food. For example, anyone who has eaten at Chutney Mary, Zaika, Tamarind, Benares or indeed the much cheaper Sarkhel's or Chowki is going to expect more from an Indian main course than a piece of cheap protein smothered with a generic sauce doctored at the moment of service to suit the name of the dish.

A letter from the owner of CHAMELI in Tufnell Park invoked some of the above illustrious Indian restaurant names when he described the cooking of his chef and business partner Ramdas Pawar who comes from Baroda in Gujerat.

He didn't claim the same high level of design or depth of wine list - with good reason, as it turned out - but mentioned that the current menu is the result of a recent working trip to India. …

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