Cut to me, more than a decade later, realising that for my entire adult life I’ve been eating Indian food, my favourite cuisine, wrong. As with Chinese, Italian and so many of the world’s rustic and heartwarming food traditions, there’s no better way to enjoy great Indian cooking than with a group, sharing a variety of soups, curries, side dishes and all of the great variety that’s on the menu at the best restaurants. Americans, Brits and Japanese are accustomed to ordering a single bowl of curry to eat all for themselves, and while that’s all well and good for a tasty meal, sharing the diverse joys of Indian cuisine with lovely people can be truly transcendent.
It doesn’t hurt to eat with the owner of the place, but I was happy to notice that all of Popi’s choices came from Mumbai’s menu. We weren’t eating secret dishes that only insiders know about - you could go there tomorrow and get the same thing. As we chatted away with Popi and her lovely husband and visiting nephew, planning ideas for the Namaste India festival in September and thinking of ways to introduce authentic Indian food to Tokyo, dish after dish of mouthwatering food arrived at the table.