I have been running Khana Commune, an underground restaurant in Singapore since November 2010. Once a week, 16 strangers congregate in my family home to dine on home-cooked Bengali cuisine. Khana Commune is currently closed in Singapore, but this August, my sister and I will be hosting ‘Khana Commune — The London Edition‘ in her cosy flat in Whitechapel, East London.
My sister, Fareena and her husband Abders often cook up a storm in their small, yet fully-equipped Bengali-Punjabi-English kitchen. My sister, like me, grew up in Singapore, while my brother-in-law is a Punjabi hailing from Toronto, and together they have been calling London home for the last decade. Their home and kitchen is a fusion of cultures just like the neighbourhood they have adopted — their apartment sits in a post-war local authority building, named after a local Jewish family that died in the second world war bombings. To this day, their building is home to numerous world war two survivors, many of whom are old Jewish men and women who have witnessed the transformation of East London from a Jewish neighbourhood to the multicultural haven it is today. This part of the East End is famed for its Indian/Bengali restaurants but I can guarantee you won’t find anything like our menu in any of the multitudes of curry houses on Bricklane (a stone’s throw from where we are). One thing is guaranteed: we will not be serving vindaloo nor our food in a balti.
Theirs is a kitchen I love to cook in — the cold English air coming in through the open windows, the warmth of the oven, my sister’s extensive spice and recipe book collection and a world of ingredients and produce an avid chef could ever want or need available on the street markets of the East End. My sister is the one who taught me my much-loved dahl recipe and I personally believe no other bolognese can rival my brother-in-law’s. Every weekend, this lovely couple trawls the markets of the East End and dines in the coolest new restaurants and cafes — they are an inspiration for my foodie heart and I am so excited to be finally sharing the Khana Commune experience with them.
We will be hosting a dinner for 8 people (35 pounds) on August 19th, at 8pm. Bookings can be made at: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/130383
tiger prawn & green bean bhartha (mash)
tender lamb rack with a summer raspberry & chipotle glaze
oven-baked whole English mackerel with our mother’s chilli dressing
traditional chicken curry
tarka dahl with caramelised onion and coriander
spicy mango salad
If you are a Londoner who’s never heard of us, do have a
wander around this blog for pictures and previous menus.