While Britain has had its hands in most of the colonization that occurred worldwide, it too has become a sort of multicultural melting pot. Especially in regards to food. Everyone knows about bangers and mash, but what about Indian?
Interestingly enough, the middle eastern food scene is booming here with one of the most popular dishes being the delicious chicken tikka masala. Now, having authentic Indian connections back home, I had exceedingly high expectations when I set out on my search for the best tikka masala. But (no offense to my good friends back home) I think I found one of the greatest places on God’s green earth. It’s called Hot Stuff and by George if it’s not the most amazing thing to have touched these lips in ages!
After reading the review on TripAdvisor, it seemed everyone agreed that reservations are the best option for actually getting a table and this small, BYOB, Indian cafe. Even though it was a Thursday, better to be safe than sorry. So, we called ahead. When we got there, the place was all but full, which was a little concerning. But no matter! The host asked if we would mind sharing a table and of course we said “Not at all!” Anything that made the food happen was fine by us. We were starving!
So they lead us around the corner to a table that was currently seating three lovely Brits. As we talked, we came to find out that it was a dad (Rob) and his two sons (Pete and Chris). We all got on very well and swapped stories, and our favorite dishes. All three were very well traveled so as I told them of my itinerary around Europe, they had lots of little tips and advice to help acclimate me to the European way of life. We talked and drank, and drank some more, meanwhile the food kept coming and in no time we were completely stuffed!
Thank god they give you Popsicles at the end of the meal. It was absolutely amazing but they weren’t lying when they named the place Hot Stuff! As we all readied ourselves to head out the door, we exchanged goodbyes and hugs as though we had meant to been dining together all along! It was a much needed familial experience on a trip where most of my time is spent solo. I can’t thank these guys enough for the amount of color they added to my London tikka experience. It was a terrific night full of life, laughter, love, and of course wine!
I didn’t think the evening could get any better, but it did! As we paid our tab, the owner’s daughter (who couldn’t have been more than 5) came to sit with us and began singing ever Disney song known to man. So we sat a bit longer, singing “Let it Go” slightly tipsy and totally off key (much to the dismay of the other patrons). I thanked the owner for the amazing meal and asked if I might be able to snap a quick photo with him for this very blog! We took the photo but slowly got photobombed by a cheeky little 5 year old. So here’s the end result:
Undoubtedly, this was my best night in London. And it had more to do with the people I encountered more than anything else. The food was absolutely delectable, don’t get me wrong, but if I had been in a hole-in-the-wall joint with these guys, it would’ve felt like a 5-star experience. It just goes to show that life is what you make it, and you can make it freaking awesome!