A birthday treat was to visit Cafe Spice Namaste, on Prescott Street near Aldgate in London.
Co-owned by celebrity chef Cyrus Todiwala, it it the flagship of his small but burgeoning restaurant empire. The cuisine is Indian but majors in Parsee food.
It was quiet for an early Friday evening, and sitting at a window I got a little chilly. The music was bad saxophone muzak, but there the bad news ended.
The menu was not your average lengthy Indian list, but well-chosen dishes using gourmet local ingredients such as organic ham from Berkshire, and Loch Fyne shellfish.
We tried the "real" Parsee lamb dhansak and the tandoori mixed grill, both of which looked and tasted wonderful despite Orlando's complaint that a piece of pineapple was masquerading as a piece of meat on his!
The dessert menu was refreshingly full of Western delights as well as Indian ones, including a range of speciality ice-creams. The coffee was excellent.
By the time we were half-way through our meal, the place was quite lively and a large Diwali group had arrived to eat in the adjoining room. Although he did not speak to us, i say Cyrus himself come out of the kitchen and speak to a number of tables during the evening. The waiters were unobtrusive and professional.
All told, a lovely evening and I look forward to trying his restaurant "The Parsee" in Highgate soon.