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This week I welcomed 40 or so of our Sainsbury's magazine readers to Michelin-starred Benares in Berkeley Square, owned by celebrity chef Atul Kochhar, in the heart of Mayfair. We were there to enjoy a menu of seasonal game from head chef Sameer Taneja and a cocktail demonstration by dashing barman Giovanni.
Giovanni was shaking his stuff to make his signature Tea Martini infused with masala spice. Just the cocktail for a chilly October, a refreshing perk-me-up with warming spice.
We started with homemade poppadoms with three homemade chutneys, the tomatoey tamarind one (in the middle) was my favourite.
Next up was a creamy tandoori partridge cappuccino with masala puff pastry straws.
Then, a venison samosa, crispy and hot, filled with shredded venison and served with Atul Kochhar's signature quince chutney.
Roasted mallard duck with spiced port wine red cabbage and a vinadaloo sauce followed. A rich autumnal mix of flavours - and for those of you who are scared of vindaloo, this was the real deal: delicately spiced and fragrant. Bread straight from the tandoor, creamy lentils and rice were the sides.
And, to finish a spiced wine poached pear with pisatachio kulfi and custard sauce.
Keen to come to one of our events? Keep an eye on my Eating Out pages in Sainsbury's magazine each month. We'd love to know what kind of reader even you'd like to come to next... a cookery demonstration? A special dinner? Afternoon tea? A wine tasting? Write and tell us in the comments box below, all ideas are very welcome!
BENARES TEA MARTINI
Chai tea bags are easy to find, they are in the Twinings range