Priya's Blog

Three Shades of Brown – web series review

Three Shades of Brown

Three Shades of Brown

 

 

Tonight (at 6pm) sees the launch of Shai Hussain’s exciting new comedy web series Three Shades of Brown. I was privileged enough to see the whole series last week at a press screening.

 

The series follows three guys; Nas the rude boy, Harry the coconut and Ravi the freshie who due to circumstances end up sharing a flat in London.  Before I went to see the screening I will be honest and say I wasn’t sure it was going to be my kind of thing, for starters I am not a fan of the word coconut and detest rude boys! But actually I was pleasantly surprised; the rude boy had a heart and the coconut was actually just a normal guy who isn’t too desi yet not too ‘white’. But my favourite was Ravi who is completely heartbroken as he has been dumped by a girl. Any Bollywood loving person who’s had their heart broken will identify with Ravi; the pining, the listening of sad songs and constantly waiting for them to text.

 

What I liked most was the script written by Shai Hussain, it was very true to how the three different Asian guys would speak and behave in real life. The direction and interaction between the characters was also very natural. As I said earlier I wasn’t a fan of the word coconut and I did think the coconut character was basically just a normal guy rather than being a coconut. Ravi, the freshie stood out as I thought he was the funniest!

 

For those of you who like British Asian comedy and programmes like the Inbetweeners Three Shades of Brown is a must watch!

 

Starring:

Muzz Khan as the Rude Boy (4 Lions)

Omar Khan as the Freshie (Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani)

Navinder Bhatti as the Coconut (Amar Akbar n Tony)

 

Written & Directed by Shai Hussain (Writer of Cloud 9 [Zing TV], Til Jihad Do Us Part [BBC Radio 4]. Film Editor for The NRI)

 

Website – www.threeshadesofbrown.co.uk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/3ShadesBrown/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/3ShadesBrown

 

Priya Mulji

The difference between Your and You’re

This common mistake used in everyday language is a huge pet peeve of mine, I know I am not perfect but it absolutely irritates me when people get this wrong!

The Oxford Dictionary defines Your as – “Belonging to or associated with the person or people that the speaker is addressing” and this is the one that is mostly misused.

So.. here are a few examples of my own:

Your is something that belongs to you or is in reference to you for example it is NOT ‘Hope your well’ it is “Hope You’re Well” because you are saying HOPE YOU ARE WELL!

Another one – “your looking hot today” is INCORRECT and should be “you’re looking hot today” because YOU ARE LOOKING HOT TODAY.

And some more….

“Your hair looks amazing”

“Your flowers smell lovely”

“Your menu for dinner is making my mouth water”

You’re means YOU ARE so you would say:

“You’re the most beautiful woman in the world”

“You’re going to get laid tonight”

“You’re a star”

Get it?

It’s not hard people so use the correct rules!

Priya Mulji

Restaurant Review – The Gate

“As a non-vegetarian I didn’t miss meat at all”

Address – 51 Queen Caroline St, Greater London W6 9QL
Telephone – 020 8748 6932

Website - http://thegaterestaurants.com/hammersmith.php

Closest underground station – Hammersmith

Cuisine – French & Italian Vegetarian food

Rating

Food – 5

Service – 5

Location – 4

 

Sunday 9th March saw me visit my first vegetarian restaurant in a long time and I wasn’t disappointed. Hidden away in West London, about a 5 minute walk from Hammersmith station, lies a wonderful restaurant which provides a fresh take on vegetarian cuisine. In my family my mother is a vegetarian, I have vegetarian friends and I even gave it a go for a few years myself so I was intrigued to see what the French/Italian take on vegetarian food would be like, seeing as Indian vegetarian food, as we all know is so tasty and one of the tastiest cuisines in which you will get vegetarian food.

My guest and I started with the Mezze Platter which consists of a selection of the starters and included the Feta and Cous Cous Fritters, Aubergine Charlotte, Piedmont Pepper, The Griddled Courgette, butternut, cashew & pesto Tart and the Carciofini (artichoke). Each and every item was as tasty as the other. The fritters were extremely light and crunchy. The pepper was fresh, delicate and flavourful. The tart gave you a sense of being at home and was an absolute piece of heavenly comfort food. I had never tasted artichoke before but was very tasty, was cooked to wonderfully and complimented perfectly with lentils. Finally the aubergine isn’t something I would normally have ordered but again it was cooked perfectly and accentuated with the pesto, tapenade and sides. The great thing was that for two people it was perfect as everything was really light and left your mouth watering in anticipation for the main meals.

IMG_5538

To accompany our meal we ordered a bottle of the Chilean Merlot.

The interior of The Gate is light and airy as the restaurant used to be a photographers studio and has recently been refurbished with wooden walls and high ceilings. The feel of the restaurant in keeping with the food was almost organic.

Walls - The Gate

For our mains I opted for the Cauliflower and Emmental glazed Rotolo which was a Romanesco and white cauliflower rolled in a thyme infused potato, baked and glazed on braised fennel, celery and leeks with a sundried tomato pesto. My guest ordered the Tortillas and came with Sweet potato, sweetcorn, goats cheese, chilli, lime and coriander. Baked beetroot, feta, parsley, guacamole, sour cream and black bean pepper salsa.

The rotolos were melt in your mouth and were served with a tomato and pepper tapenade with mint and salad. It made me feel very happy inside as if I was eating a meal which had been cooked by my vegetarian mother. The dish was filling, delicately flavoured and I couldn’t actually think of any reason to fault it.

Rotolos - The Gate

Rotolos – The Gate

 

Tortillas - The Gate

Tortillas – The Gate

4 tortillas were served in my guests dish and again were nicely flavoured and seasoned. There was a nice combination of textures. The goat’s cheese wasn’t too strong or over powering and the wraps themselves were tender but crispy. Each tortilla was balanced with a soft filling.

We ordered a polenta chips as a side dish which were crispy, fresh and something different to the usual chips you may have so they are definitely worth ordering.

For dessert I had my forever favourite crème brulee which was rich, creamy and a delight to the taste buds. It was also different to the usual crème brulee’s I have tasted as it included flavours such as orange and cardomen.

My guest had a favourite of his; the trifle. It was fresh and fruity, light, creamy, was firm and had the perfect trifle texture.

 

Trifle - The Gate

Trifle – The Gate

Creme Brulee - The Gate

Creme Brulee – The Gate

 

The service was fantastic too. The staff were attentive without being too pushy. There were a group of French people at the table next to us who seemed to also be mesmerised with the food. The food was beautifully presented and you can get that fine dining experience with vegetarian food at the gate without paying through your nose.

Overall our experience of dining at The Gate in Hammersmith was excellent. As non-vegetarians we didn’t feel as if we missed meat and would recommend to herbivores and carnivores alike. A must visit!

 

Priya Mulji

Nirbhaya The Play – Review

“Nirbhaya, nirbhaya, nirbhaya” chanted the protagonists in Nirbhaya – The play which I saw last week at the Southbank Centre. Nirbhaya (meaning Fearless one) is a play based around the Delhi rape which took place on 16 December 2012.

I had heard about Nirbhaya through many people and the one common comment was that it was brilliant and I had to see it, I would love it so when I went to see it on Friday 7th March at the Southbank Centre expectations were obviously high. I was pretty scared and nervous actually before seeing it with my friend Mala. As it started I became engrossed in the world of not just Jyoti Singh Pandey but all the other women who played not just characters but shared their real life stories during those 90 minutes.

Nirbhaya The Play

Nirbhaya The Play

Nirbhaya follows the real life stories of Sapna Bhavnani, Priyanka Bose, Poorna Jagannathan and Sneha Jawale whom individually have had their own life experiences include gang rape, sexual abuse and attempted murder by setting on fire alive. These women are brave, brave individuals who shone individually as well as an ensemble, my heart bled for each and I shed many tears for every one of them and even though I haven’t personally encountered anything like this I wanted to put my hand up and fight not just for these women but for each and every woman that has had to go through some form of abuse whether it be physical or mental (whilst I am writing this in fact I am getting angry and emotional) but I salute these women for taking a stand and telling the world their story.

Nirbhaya is directed by Yael Farber and I don’t know much about direction but the way she has bought everything to life is just so wonderful yet heart breaking.

Japjit Kaur plays the Fearless one in an almost haunting manner and she was the absolutely perfect choice to play the Jyoti Singh Pandey. It again was brave of her to play her and it must have been devastating to enact some of those scenes, especially end scene on the bus.

Ankur Vikal is someone we mostly know from playing Maman in Slumdog Millionaire, I really rate him for being the only male to act in Nirbhaya because it takes a lot of guts but he was effortless from Jyoti Singh Pandeys friend to one of the gang members.

Nirbhaya is now moving across for shows in India but I do hope they return and do a UK wide journey because I know many people across the country who will want to see it. Overall Nirbhaya is a must see and every woman who is going through any form of abuse must speak out like these women have.

Nirbhaya – I salute you.

Check out Nirbhaya’s website here -  http://www.nirbhayatheplay.com/

Picture courtesy – Nirbhaya website

Priya Mulji

Happy World Book Day

Happy World Book Day Everyone! You’re obviously reading this because you like to read my ramblings and what good taste you do have! On this glorious occasion I just wanted to share with you my thoughts on reading and about a few of my favourite authors.

Firstly, Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and how And The Mountains Echoed has the ability to take you to a world completely unknown to your own. A writer whom I have admired for many years now. One of the things I love about Hosseini too is that no matter where you come from, which walk of life, every person can relate to his work. Obviously I love this writer and I rhapsodize about him but it got me thinking that books and stories are a part of our lives since we are born and continue to do so until the day we leave this world. I remember when I was a kid my mum used to tell me the tale of the mouse with 7 tails, then I was at school we learn to read and the Topsy and Tim books played a massive part of this. As I got older books like Charlottes Web were ones I read at primary school, Shakespeare at secondary school as well as books like To Kill a Mockingbird. As I reached adulthood I began to read chick lit books and then into my late twenties and to this day the books I chose to read are ones that stimulate my mind and provoke thoughts.

Charlottes Web

Charlottes Web

For a while I hadn’t read anything which did stimulate my mind but then the new Hoseeini book came out and I began to become immersed in the world of Pari, Markos, Nila, Nabi et al. I have certain friends who also enjoy reading and it is fabulous when a single girl, a married woman and a high profile celebrity can relate to that one one.

Another one of my favourite books is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – about a man who escapes from an Australian prison and ends up living in the slums of Mumbai, a film being made into a movie. I actually lent this book to a someone and that person never gave me it back, we lost touch and I asked for it back but alas I never got it back (if you’re reading this GIVE ME BACK MY SHANTARAM!). I had highlighted paragraphs in the book because they were so insightful and they meant so much to me; I was devastated not to ever get the book back. When films are made into movie’s they sometimes do lose their essence, Shantaram is 900 odd pages long and I do hope that the producers keep as close to the story as possible.

Shantaram

Shantaram

Finally, Roopa Farooki, author of Bitter Sweets, The Way Things look to me, Half Life and more is someone I have had the pleasure of meeting (someone on my ‘to meet before I die list) One of my all time favourites is The Way Things Look to Me and the character Lila who suffered with eczema just as I did and still do is one character who I will never forget. What I love about Roopa is that the reader can just so easily follow and understand what she writes, relate to them personally and go through a series of different emotions in one book.

If you love reading always make time to read. Whether it is poems, short stories, even articles online. Nothing is better to stimulate your mind, improve your vocabulary, inspire you and transport you to a different world. If you don’t like reading but want to give it a go then imagine watching a film but instead of having a person play a character and a scene set out in a studio; you are using your imagination to see what the character looks like and you are setting the scene from the colours to the smells and sounds. Reading helps you create your one world and sometimes it’s good to escape.

Another few of my favorite books which I recommend reading are The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, Beauty by Raphael Selbourne, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Kite Runner/A Thousand Splendid Suns/And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, He’s just not that into you (the book version) by Greg Behrendt – those will do for now!

Read my interview with Childrens writer and speech therapist Priya Desai here.

Priya Mulji

Picture source- wikipedia

Asjad Nazir Interviews Rithvik Dhanjani

Asjad Nazir fixed it for some of Nach Baliye 6 winner Rithvik Dhanjani’s biggest fans to interview him. Out in Eastern Eye. Courtesy of www.twitter.com/asjadnazir

 

Rithvik Dhanjani Interview 1

Rithvik Dhanjani Interview 2

Restaurant Review – Moti Mahal

Moti Mahal

Food – ****.5

Service – ****.5

Ambience/Location – ****

45 Great Queen St, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5AA

In the heart of the Covent Garden theatre district lies a great Indian restaurant called Moti Mahal. We started off the meal by being given a plate pf whole vegetables that my guest and I had to cut ourselves alongside our starters, the vegetables included tomatoes, cucumber, radish and more. We ordered a couple of cocktails to begin with – I had the Mumbai Rubi which was made with pomegranate and prosecco. My guest had the Bartenders Mastermind which was another fruity concoction, served in a long glass. We then ordered a bottle of the Argentinan Malbec to accompany our meal for the evening.

Cocktails at Moti Mahal

Cocktails at Moti Mahal

Whole Salad at Moti Mahal

Whole Salad at Moti Mahal

 

For starters I had the Sagar Rattan which were soft scallops, quite spicy but cooked to perfection. My guest had the Maghz Masala which is minced lambs brain served on a pau. This was spiced and seasoned well but had a distinctive taste.

Scallops - Sagar Rattan at Moti Mahal

Scallops – Sagar Rattan at Moti Mahal

Lambs Brain - Maghz Masala at Moti Mahal

Lambs Brain – Maghz Masala at Moti Mahal

 

For mains we had their signature murgh makhni, dal makhni and mirchi ka salan. Both makhni’s were delicious, authentic and creamy. The chicken was tender and succulent despite being boneless and the dal was one of the best dal makhni’s I’ve ever tasted. The mirchi ka salan was lamb curry which was nice, spicy and well-seasoned but not as good as the makhni’s.

Dal Makhni & Mirchi Ka salan - Moti Mahal

Dal Makhni & Mirchi Ka salan – Moti Mahal

Murgh Makhni at Moti Mahal

Murgh Makhni at Moti Mahal

 

For dessert I ordered halwa and two forms of halwa arrived – one was carrot and the other semolina based, served with vanilla ice cream both were exquisite. My guest had a yoghurt based dessert and that was light, fruity and airy.

Mishti Doi at Moti Mahal

Mishti Doi at Moti Mahal

Halwa at Moti Mahal

Halwa at Moti Mahal

 

The restaurant isn’t cheap as you would be looking at around £40 per person for starters, main and a glass of wine, so visit it for a treat. Overall Moti Mahal had great service, ambience and was a treat to the taste buds and I would highly recommend it.

View the Moti Mahal Website here.

Follow Moti Mahal on Twitter.

Restaurant Review – Hombre’s Mexican Kitchen

Hombre’s Mexican Kitchen

242 Imperial Drive, Rayners Lane, HA2 7HJ

Food – ****

Service – *****

Ambience/Location – ****

Hombres

Serving up traditional Mexican feats, Hombre’s which means friends, is conveniently located about 30 seconds away from Rayners Lane underground station. When visiting the restaurant we thought it was just a take away but don’t be mistaken as there is a restaurant downstairs which is vibrant and full of Mexican character with authentic posters and knick knacks. Hombres is headed up by Shamik Morjaria who has a clear passion for good quality, healthy, Mexican food.

Shamik Morjaria Hombres

Shamik Morjaria Hombres

My guest and I started off with lime, coriander and chilli prawns, seared Chorizo and of course that Mexican favourite; nachos. The prawns were loaded with a light and delicate flavour. The nachos were crispy with lovely salsa and the guacamole which was rich, fresh tasting and perfectly made without being over powering. The chorizo was cooked authentically as they would in their native country. We also order jalpeno poppers which were the only fried item on the starter menu – these were cheesy and creamy with the jalpenos giving them a kick without being too hot.

Hombre Starters

 

For mains I had the soft shell corn tacos’ 2 of which had the chipotle chicken filling and the other had a filling which I haven’t seen before – pulled jackfruit. The fillings were a plenty and the chicken was as you would expect in a Mexican restaurant tender, spicy, flavourful and rich. As was the jackfruit which was tangy and zingy and even though it was a vegetarian filling it still hit the spot and left you wanting more. You can have the same fillings in the burritos, my guest went for the vegetarian filling with peppers and mushrooms and opted for the mild spice. The burritos were full to the brim and packed with rich spices, flavours and the taste of Mexico.

Hombres Burrito

Hombres Burrito

Hombres Soft Shell Corn Tacos

Hombres Soft Shell Corn Tacos

 

 

Our meals were washed down with fresh lemonade which was sweet and sour, almost like a non alcoholic mojito and my guest had the fresh hibiscus drink which was fruity and mellow. Hombre’s are currently working on their dessert menu but I do recommend ending the meal with their Mexican hot chocolate. One thing to add is that the portions are very generous so go there hungry!

Hombres Lemon Drink

Hombres Lemon Drink

Hombres interior

Hombres interior

 

Overall the highlights were the guacamole, the portion sizes and the chipotle chicken so for a taste of authentic Mexico head on down to Hombre’s. An average meal at Hombres will cost about £10-£12.

Visit Hombre’s Website

Follow Hombre’s on Twitter

Restaurant Review – Ping Pong Wembley

Food – *****

Service – *****

Ambience/Location – *****

Address: First Floor, Unit 68-70, Designer Outlet, HA9 0FD. Closest station is Wembley Park

It’s Chinese New Year tomorrow (31st January) and I hope you’re all celebrating the upcoming year of the Horse.

I did a little celebrating myself by visiting a wonderful Dim Sum restaurant called Ping Pong. As someone who’s previously had a number of Chinese housemates I can really appreciate the food and the dedication Chinese people have to their food. So, about a 5 minute walk from Wembley Park Station and across the road from Wembley Stadium/Arena lies a brand new designer outlet home to a number of shops and restaurants. As a newbie to Ping Pong I was very excited to try the Chinese Dim Sum. Dim Sum is generally Cantonese food made in small portions. The location was really easy and there are a number of shops and other restaurants in the outlet, there is also a cinema in the complex.

As Ping Pong has newly opened and it was a Wednesday night the restaurant was fairly quiet but that didn’t affect the atmosphere as the service was attentive and everyone seemed to be enjoying their food, you could tell because everyone was laughing and seemed generally happy and content; which is what food is supposed to do right?

We started off with a few cocktails, I had the luscious Lychee and Roses martini and my guests had some other concoctions which I will tell you about later.

Lychee & Roses

Lychee & Roses

Some of the dishes we ordered were:

Edamame with 3 dipping sauces

Vegetable sticky rice

Honeyed chilli chicken rice pot

Mushrooms, vegetable and black bean rice pot

Vietnamese rice paper prawn roll

Roast pork puff

Vegetable bun

Spicy vegetable dumpling

Chicken shu mai

Seafood dumpling

Steamed asparagus

And more! You can view the Ping Pong Menu here.

Vegetable spring rolls & vietnamese paper rolls

Vegetable spring rolls & vietnamese paper rolls

Roast Pork Puff

Roast Pork Puff

Each dish just melts in your mouth and I couldn’t pick what is the best dish on the menu, they’re all so good! Our highlights from the huge variety of dim sum dishes we ordered which I haven’t included on the list above were the vegetable spring rolls which were small, delicate but extremely tasty with a traditional vegetable spring roll filling. The prawn balls which are minced prawn fried in crispy pastry strips. The chicken and cashew nut dumpling which is steamed and just melted in mine and my guests mouth, with a lovely texture and flavour. For dessert the highlight was the chocolate fondant which was smooth, sweet and a perfect ending to a delicious meal. There are a great number of dishes available for vegetarians also.

Crispy Prawn Balls

Crispy Prawn Balls

One of the best things about Ping Pong is its selection of unique, fruity cocktails which perfectly compliment the meal. Our favourites were the Lychee and Rose martini; Qumquat Mojito and Flaming Passion. Also do try the special called the Dancing Dragon which has been specially created for the Chinese New Year which is creamy and delicate.

Flaming Passion

Flaming Passion

Chocolate Fondant

Chocolate Fondant

Overall Ping Pong Wembley is in a great location, with delicious food, drinks and perfect service and that is why I thought it deserved full marks so I gave it 5 stars. Ping Pong is a place you must visit all year round and not just this New Years!

An average meal is around £20 per person.

 View Ping Pongs website here.

 Priya Mulji

High Chai at Cinnamon Soho – Review

Food *** 1/2

Ambience ***

Service ****

I gave the High Chai (afternoon tea) at Cinnamon Soho and average of 3.5 stars and here’s why…

Address: 5 Kingly St, London, W1B 5PF

Located amidst the hustle and bustle of Soho in Central London the Indian inspired afternoon tea is the brainwave of Chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon Club. My guest and I arrived at 3pm on a busy London Saturday afternoon but the restaurant was pretty quiet at that time as you can imagine. As both of us are lovers of afternoon tea and Indian food we were very excited to see how Singh had combined the both. We opted for the Bellini afternoon menu and started with a cinnamon Bellini. The Bellini was made with sparkling wine and fresh cinnamon. It was beautifully crafted and tasted excellent. We then chose to have traditional Indian masala chai. I felt it should’ve been creamier and not made with tea bags; however the flavours were nice.

Cinnamon Bellini

Cinnamon Bellini

We then were given menus.. First of all given the Valentines menu’s but then told they weren’t available and then my guest and I were given two different menus – mine said there was a lamb burger and my guests said beef burger. We were told they didn’t do the lamb (even though that is what was advertised on their website) and since neither of us eat beef we were asked if we wanted chicken burger which we said yes to. After all of the confusion our food arrived about ten minutes later so we didn’t have to wait long.

High Chai

High Chai

The afternoon tea food plates consisted of Bombay Potato Bonda with Green Chutney, Bangla Scotch Egg, Tandoori Chicken Sandwich, and the Slider burger. For dessert (which differed to the menu we had seen online again) sticky toffee pudding and scones. For myself the stand out piece was the Scotch Egg which was made of quails eggs. It was nicely spiced and delicate in flavour. The tandoori chicken sandwich had a nice filling however the bread had become hard. The burger was also nice as the supplementary items such as sweetcorn, sauces, onions etc to the chicken complimented the flavours and spices perfectly and was served in a homemade brioche bun. There is also a vegetarian option available.

High Chai Cinnamon Soho

High Chai Cinnamon Soho

The overall experience I would say was pleasant with attentive service and however the mix up with the menu’s and the bread quality was a slight let down and to be honest I was expecting more. It also appeared our Bellini’s were served in plastic glasses. However the food was lovely and it is great to see chefs being innovative with their menu’s and offering something different. In conclusion High Chai at Cinnamon Soho was a great way to relax amidst the hustle and bustle of an afternoon in London Town. High Chai at Cinnamon Soho is £30 for two for the Bellini menu or £20 for two without the Bellini.

Dessert @ High Chai

Dessert @ High Chai

View the Cinnamon Soho Website

Follow them on Twitter

Priya Mulji

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