VIJAY’S VIRASAT: Restaurant with a familiar name

Those of you who have been following this blog since the earliest days will now that the editor/blogger/journalist (i.e. me) who runs the blog is named Vijay. Those who know me in real life also know of my reputation as a bit of a foodie. So the next bit will be quite interesting.

I live in Ilford, just east of the big smoke in the United Kingdom they like to call London, and within a 5 or so mile radius from my home are three establishments involved in the food industry that bare my name. First, there’s Vijay’s Chawalla, a Gujarati vegetarian restaurant located in Green Street, Upton Park. I was fortunate enough to visit the Chawalla many eons ago and their fare is amazing and sumptuous. Jumping back to Ilford again, you can take a trip down the High Road to Seven Kings, where you can buy all your kitchen staples at Vijay’s General Store, situated on the Green Lane. Now before you all start thinking I’ve turned into some kind of Richard Branson figure, buying up stores and restaurants, living it up on a yacht moored in Monaco, and giving Tesco et al. nightmares in the boardroom, I do not own the above mentioned establishments. I’m just lucky enough to have the same first name. And of course, my family and friends use the resto names as good ammunition to tease me with.

 

Recently a new Indian restaurant has joined the Vijay’s club. With the catchy and alliterated desi name of Vijay’s Virasat, this eaterie found its forever home in Horns Road, Ilford, not far from the junction of the A12 motorway (Eastern Avenue) and Ley Street, just north of where HEM News Agency’s HQ is based. The area around the junction is a shopping and eating out paradise, home to many high street stores, homeware vendors and other restaurants such as Mirage and Restaurant Oasis. This part of the Newbury Park district lies slap-bang between two residential areas, so guaranteeing a healthy footfall from a business perspective.

Vijay’s Virasat  was brought to you by the Vijay behind the aforementioned Chawalla, and a Indian sweet shop called, not surprisingly, Vijay’s Sweet Mart. For three decades, my very astute namesake has been bringing vegetarian Indian food to the denizens of east London, and with Virasat, this is their first foray into the curry-and-poppadom sort of Indian cuisine most people in the UK are familiar with.

The restaurant, which unlike the other businesses in the Vijay’s portfolio offers non-veg in addition to veg, is a modern celebration of the culinary crossing over and intermingling of British and Indian cultures that took place during the days of the Empire, as well as the influences on Indian cooking from Central Asia, Portugal and the lands of Arabia. After many centuries of this cultural mixing in the kitchens of south Asia, it has culminated in the menu of Vijay’s Virasat, with its Mughal and regional influences, with a little East African food thrown in for the British Asians who came from there.

You get the standard things and dishes you would find in a Indian restaurant, such as a tandoor (clay oven) for making naans and chicken dishes and the usual curries, rice, rotis, snacks etc etc. There are two different types of starters available, with a choice of vegetable, chicken, lamb and seafood mains to tantalise your tastebuds.

Some unusual and different menu highlights include the ‘Chicken Lollipop’ (chicken drumsticks deep-fried in a Chinese batter and then tossed in a hot garlic sauce), the ‘Chicken 1965’, which is not a dodgy electro music outfit but “spicy fried chicken tempered with curry leaves, mustard seeds and chillies”, Konkani fish masala, chilli and garlic flavoured naans and matka kulfi, a type of ice cream.

Thankfully for my reputation, Vijay’s Virasat has largely been a hit with London’s spoilt-for-choice diners, with the restaurant achieving a rating of 4.7 out of five stars on Facebook, but hey that’s how us Vijays roll!!

I have not yet had a chance to sample the dishes and the ‘rapturous experience’ of dining at the Virasat, and it certainly looks good. When I get round to it, I’ll tell you all about it.

 

SOURCES/IMAGE CREDIT:

Vijay’s Virasat, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/vijaysvirasat/

Vijay’s Virasat http://vijaysvirasat.com/ 

“About Us” – Vijay’s Virasat http://vijaysvirasat.com/#about-us

“Menu” – Vijay’s Virasat http://vijaysvirasat.com/#our-menus

“Reviews” – Vijay’s Virasat, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/pg/vijaysvirasat/reviews/

 

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RELOCATION, RELOCATION, RELOCATION: HEM News Agency moves office

This May Bank Holiday Monday, HEM News Agency writes to our beloved fans and readers from a new home office in Ilford, only a short walking distance from the town centre, after four years in the Plaistow area of east London.

For those of you not familiar with Ilford, it is a suburban district which sits just to the east of London. Traditionally part of Essex, Ilford is today considered an outer stretch of Greater London. Home to hundreds of homes, offices and shops (including the great Ilford Exchange shopping centre), the area is becoming increasingly popular with people looking to escape the rising house prices and rents of London itself, and some have described it as ‘upcoming’. Ilford is very hectic, but also relaxed at the same time. It is an ethnically diverse area and I have also family around here, many of them established here for years.

 

 

I arrived here on Saturday, 27th May 2017, after seven hours’ packing and cleaning, hiring an estate car to take me and all my belongings. For a month before, after my landlord served notice on me to leave, I was frantically searching for another room to rent (and base my blogs from too) and had to deal with a lot of timewasters. Finally a week ago, I got in touch with an estate agent in Seven Kings, Ilford, who showed me the property. I was satisfied with the room, and duly handed over the monies, including their eye-wateringly steep agency fees.

As mentioned before, I had been previously living and blogging from a houseshare in south Plaistow, close to Barking Road, and a stone’s throw from Canning Town and the border with Tower Hamlets borough. The landlord, who lived in the property with us, one day wanted a ‘quick chat’ with me, and that’s when he dropped the bombshell. For the day job, he worked as a solicitor with his own firm, and after he took over the firm in its entirety, suddenly found himself with boxes and boxes of case files relating to the law firm’s clients filling up his office. As a result, he proceeded to punch a hole through the ceiling to create an access point to the house loft, leaving my room covered in dust.

Back to the conversation, he told me that he wanted to stop renting out the house to lodgers, and that he needed my room first to convert into storage space for those files. He also planned to move his daughter and grandchildren into the house too. Once the smoke from the bomb cleared, I realised my time was up. It was my signal to exit stage right.

Here in Ilford, the Bank Holiday break has given me a chance to more or less familiarise myself with my new room, house and housemates. Not everything is perfect or ideal, but this is the nature of flatsharing. I am impressed with the room though, and am adapting quickly to the rhythm of this place.

As the Half-Eaten Mind Blog, this site began life in another houseshare in Stratford five years ago. Since then, I have moved twice. Moving and hunting around for places to call home is very stressful I can tell you, but until I can save enough for a deposit for my own home, this is my reality. Renting rarely provides stability. I plan to stay here in Ilford another year or two, then possibly look to progressing to a rented studio apartment, or maybe try for a mortgage, depending on my situation then.

New location, same great articles.

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Ilford station signage 2015 01.JPG” – Sunil060902, Wikimedia Commons (13 June 2015) is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ilford_station_signage_2015_01.JPG

WELCOMING 2017: Ilford’s Ashgrove restaurant launches NYE night

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Ilford, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH

 

 

Popular Ilford based Indian gastropub the Ashgrove Restaurant has formally announced a special New Year’s Eve night to welcome in 2017 for local partygoers to come and enjoy great music and traditional and contemporary Punjabi, Indian continental and Chinese fare, great music and visual entertainments.

The restaurant, a short walking distance from Seven Kings town centre, will have music entertainment on the night provided by DJ Kash of local outfit Kash Events, which provides party and other event planning services as well as boasting a wide music portfolio from the Bollywood, bhangra, RNB and ‘club classics’. The NYE event is currently being promoted on the restaurant’s social media page where they promise it will be an ‘amazing evening’. A finger food buffet will also be available.

Located on Green Lane, Ashgrove, which was formerly a public house, is renowned locally for its dishes, including chilli paneer (Indian cheese), lamb and chicken grills, kebabs and snacks – including vegetarian, coupled with a well-stocked bar. The restaurant is popular with local sports fans who flock to watch football matches on its many widescreen televisions. It also boasts a beer garden to round off its unique ability to combine a traditional English pub with a modern Indian restaurant.

The event will be held on 31st December 2016, with tickets costing £25 for adults and £10 for children under 12, with buffet included. People interested in attending should call +44 208 599 4181 or email info@ashgroverestaurant.co.uk. The Ashgrove Restaurant is situated at 271 Green Lane, Ilford, Redbridge, Essex, United Kingdom IG3 9TN.

 

SOURCES:
Ashgrove Restaurant, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/ashgroverestaurant/
Kash Events, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/KashEvents/
KASH EVENTS http://kashevents.co.uk/
“About” – Ashgrove Restaurant, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/pg/ashgroverestaurant/about/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“The Host” – SteFou! (Stephen Oung), Flickr (13 September 2011) https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephen-oung/6268131892