Photos from 19th August 2011: khana commune debuts in London

khana commune, founded by my younger sister Zina Alam, has been taking food-crazy Singapore by storm since November 2010. It’s been so exciting watching the concept grow from a distance here in London – through her delectable blog, that when Zina suggested we throw a dinner in London during her holiday here, we were immediately intrigued.

When better to take a stab at pulling off something radical, than when the expert herself (Zina had thrown 20 supper club dinners in Singapore by then) is in town?

We had a bit of an uphill task – we have an active 7 month old baby, a comparatively smaller living space and no domestic help… but, we’re big foodies and we love having people over so that’s got to count for something.

Our friends Affan and Unaiza took baby out for the day, while we rearranged the living room to make space for the largest setting on our lovely Mascotte table. We pulled our IKEA chairs out of storage, borrowed two antique ones from our next door neighbour, another four from our friend Layla and here’s the final result:

Finally satisfied that we could accommodate 10 people for a sit-down dinner, it was time to start cooking supper.

One of our guests Sam Cho took some exceptional photographs that evening and these are featured below. Sam later also wrote a review. You can see it all here. Thanks Sam!

On the menu:

king prawn & french bean bartha (mash) in delicate crustades

garlic & herb lamb chop with a summer raspberry & chipotle sauce and beetroot salad

For the mains:

mama’s chicken curry


oven baked whole chilli mackerel

tarka dahl with caramelised onion and coriander

spicy mango salad with a hint of mustard oil

okra stir-fry

creamy home-made pistachio kulfi with an almond thin

a non-dairy alternative dessert for one of our guests

Yemeni coffee brewed from coffee husks, not beans

My other half, Abdul-Rehman, is a coffee aficianado and he treated our guests to a batch of some rare Yemeni coffee (kisher/gisher) – brewed from coffee husks, not beans. A clean, refreshing beverage – more like tea, than coffee, that ended the evening perfectly.

For those so inclined, there was freshly-ground aeropresse coffee too.

Coffee demo

The group was a lively bunch who seemed to hit it off from the get go – there was a solicitor, a management consultant, an artist, a journalist, a surgeon, a photographer and a charity worker to name a few. All wonderful guests who reminded me (after months of keeping a low profile, enjoying our baby) how much I truly love meeting new people over some home cooked food. Thanks all, for making the first khana commune in London so fab.

Khana Commune London - 19th August

D and S are missing from the photo above as we forgot to take a snapshot before they left.


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Menu for 19th August 2011

to start

king prawn & french bean bartha (mash) in delicate crustades

garlic & herb lamb chop with a summer raspberry & chipotle sauce and beetroot salad

For the mains:

mama’s chicken curry

oven baked whole chilli mackerel

tarka dahl with caramelised onion and coriander

spicy mango salad with a hint of mustard oil

okra stir-fry

pulao rice

to sweeten

creamy pistachio kulfi with an almond thin

Yemeni coffee brewed from coffee husks, not beans

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