Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pink Saturday - Kerala pink

"I adore that pink! It's the navy blue of India," goes a quote attributed to style icon Diana Vreeland.

The little restaurant on Stoke Newington Church Street is the flagship restaurant of the Rasa restaurant chain, and its facade is painted the bright pink that Vreeland admired - in America we'd call it Barbie Pink.

Stoke Newington is a neighborhood in North London known for its multicultural, immigrant population and a politically left, artsy bent that's becoming increasingly gentrified. It's not too far from where our son is working. He brought us to Rasa for dinner on a rainy night.

The Rasa chain was founded by Das Sreedharan, a chef who grew up in a small village near Cochin, Kerala, on the lush, spice-rich south west tip of India. He opened this place in 1994, offering vegetarian South Indian cuisine.

We were first served as basket of what the menu calls "Pre-meal snacks" - crunchy fried tidbits, spicy with cumin and other spices, along with an assortment of pickles and chutneys to dip them in.  The large ornate one that looks like a fancy waffle is achappam, made of rice flour and coconut.

We ordered an assortment of dishes to share. One standout was the beet cheera pachadi - beets and spinach pureed together with yogurt, spiced with black mustard seeds and coconut. It's a beautiful pink color - the low light in the room made my photos turn out a little murky.

Shredded cabbage with potatoes and lentils, garnished with onions and more coconut, was also fantastic.

They were served with lemon rice, and two more dishes whose names I don't remember. There was also a delicious bread called paratha - wheat dough coiled and cooked on a griddle - it was warm and delicious to pull apart and dunk into dal or creamy curry. We asked the waiter to take our picture - I look kind of silly here, but it shows the food nicely.

Paratha above and dal and a creamy dish of mangoes and bananas.

We've tried South Indian food here in Southern California, but this was extraordinary - the flavors were bright and intense.

It just goes to show you it's easy to eat well without eating meat!


Holly said...

Pink in all shades is pretty wonderful, isn't it? =0)
Happy Pink Saturday!

DearHelenHartman said...

What a happy pink post - and more so as someone newly trying to eat out vegetarian. Hope - it's a good thing, and so is your wonderful blog.

smalltownme said...

Looks wonderful!

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

thank you for taking us with you ... just wish you'd brought us a doggie bag :)
Just looking at the pink sign and building makes me happy !

Snap said...

What fun! Great sign.

Leah H. said...

Great post and interesting PINK!

Visiting for PS- hope you can stop by..

Chubskulit Rose said...

How beautiful!! Happy Pink Saturday and have a nice weekend.


materfamilias said...

Yumm! I don't recognize this area, but you've convinced me to check it out next time we visit London. Lucky you to have your son doing the scouting for you -- all the good spots!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Barbie Pink? When house-hunting we saw numerous bedrooms painted that color. We referred to it as Pepto Bismol pink, but that has nothing to do with the food offerings! THOSE look delicious!

And your son seems to have inherited the best of both of his parents. :)