On March 12th I was invited to join the owner of DR.iNK Fulham, Shrila, in her home above the shop for an evening of craft beers paired with five vegetarian Gujarati dishes. The session was lead by master brewer Alex Barlow and the Gujarati food cooked by Shrila’s family.
As an aperitif we sipped on Mort Subite Gueuze, a style of Lambic beer from Belgium spontaneously fermented with wild yeast. Having never had a Gueuze before, I found it to be incredibly refreshing as an aperitif and a really great and easy drink to serve before dinner.
Our first dish of the evening was a Dahi Puri, paired with Freedom Pilsner and Fruh Kolsch. Perhaps one of my favorite Indian snack foods, Dahi Puri is a bite-sized, round, hollow shell stuffed with chickpeas, tamarind, date, chili and corriander chutney and garnished with sev and yogurt. The puri worked well paired with the Freedom Pilsner, (the only lager of the night) with the beer cleansing the palate and its touch of bitterness proving a good match to the warmth from the chili in the puri.
Paneer Samosas were paired with a Celis White, (a Witte style beer) and Saison Dupont. I particularly enjoyed the Celis White alongside the samosas, as its light floral and fruit notes really complemented the dill in the Samosa. Whilst the Saison Dupont was a lovely beer to sip on its own, it wasn’t a great match to the Samosa.
Ragdo Pattis, (a dish of green pea patties topped with chickpea ragdo cooked with tomatoes, onions, ginger, jaggery, chili and corriander) was paired with Kernel Citra IPA, (an India Pale Ale) and Williams Brothers Ginger, a spiced Ale. The Kernel Citra IPA was my favorite beer of the evening, both because of its ability to pair well with the food and its surprisingly misleading aroma in relation to its taste. With huge tropical and sugary aromas, its taste is actually quite delicate with only a bit of sweetness from the malt coming through before its bitter finish thanks to the American hops. Such a great beer, but coming from Kernel that’s no big surprise. The Williams Brother Ginger was also lovely – an adult’s ginger brew – and not too sweet or sugary, which really set it apart from other ginger brews on the market.
Idli Sambal was paired with a Blonde beer, Hopback Summer Lightning and Copper Dragon Challenger, a Pale Ale. The Summer Lightning matched the dish the best, mellowing out the slight spiciness from the red lentil dal with sambal masala served alongside the Idli. The Copper Ale was a bit lacklustre for me – it wasn’t brilliant, nor was it offensive but just lacked character overall and didn’t add anything to its pairing with the Idli.
The last dish of the evening was a Vegetable Curry, (made with sweet potato, butternut squash and green beans) paired with another Pale Ale, Thornbridge Kipling and a Weisse Bock, Schneider Aventinus. The banana, malty and licorice notes of the Schneider Weisse worked surprisingly well alongside the vegetable curry and at 8.2% ABV has a great kick to it.
As a Digestif, we sipped on Old Engine Oil, a Porter-style beer from Harviestoun Ola Dubh. A great beer to end on, it was incredibly smooth with big notes of dark chocolate and just a bit of bitterness to balance it out.
Upcoming supperclubs are on the 15th and 16th of April and the 13th and 14th of May and cost £40 per person for 12 samples of craft beers and five Gujarati vegetarian dishes. For further details be sure to contact Shrila on 0207 610 6795 or email@example.com. And if you don’t get the chance to join Shrila in her home for a supperclub, do stop by her amazing shop in Fulham which, when fully stocked, has over 600+ bottled beers. She also sells various homemade curry pastes, (including the one in our vegetable curry) and on Saturdays you can buy freshly-made Indian snacks from the counter.
A big thank you to Shrila, Alex and Su-Lin for a wonderful evening and showing us all that there’s more than just lager to be had with Indian food.
DR.iNK of Fulham
349 Fulham Palace Rd
London SW6 6TB