You wouldn’t catch your average Japanese housewife faffing around making a curry roux from scratch. Not when there are dozens of excellent ready made versions requiring little more effort than the mere flick of a kettle switch.
Katsu curry is a veritable thing of joy and one that’s warmed me through many a grim London winter but I must admit, I’ve always turned lazily to those ready made bars of S&B. So when an old friend from Osaka passed on her recipe, I was excited at the thought of seeing what actually went into this unique dish.
Bloody Murder. Ruddy Mary and Bloody Maureen. Whether you like your poison with sake, wasabi and black vinegar or Guinness instead of vodka; there are some deliciously expletive variations on the classic combo of tomato, spice and vodka.
Monday night saw a bit of a bloody Mary-off at Hix Restaurant in Selfridges. We stood about with the likes of Henry Kelly, Patrick Anthony, Nancy Lam and Vanessa Feltz as some of London’s finest bartenders did their thing.
Mark Hix, Charles Campion, Tom Parker Bowles and Nick Strangeway formed the judging panel and Brian Turner compered. I like Brian Turner. He has something of the embarrassing uncle about him – you just know he has some awful jokes up his sleeve and dances terribly to dad rock. I bet he’s good at darts too.
It’s a bit of an urban fallacy to think that all the best places are tucked away in the ethnic enclaves and fringes of a city. Of course, some fantastic dishes can be found out in the sticks, and often at a fraction of the damage of their Zone 1 counterparts. But like anywhere, you’re always going to come across a fair old amount of chaff. And conversely, not every curry house or noodle bar in the centre of town is automatically going to rip you off with some watered down approximation of the real thing.