Favourite Restaurant Exodus

This week, my three remaining favourite restaurants (after Oriental City in Colindale and Sadiya in Balham closed) have vanished or changed beyond recognition. This happend in the same week I managed to aquire a full-time job which would allow me to visit these places more regularly for the first time. Is life trying to tell me something?!

Casualty No. 1: The Kastoori. This unique Indian-Ugandan fusion restaurant had to close, because they could not extend the lease on their property. They make the most amazing everything: lassis (with just the right spice balance), starters (the amazing yoghurt ‘taste bombs’ or cassava fritters), main courses (smoked aubergines, drumstick curry, mung bean curry, chilli banana), puddings (kheer, yay!) and masala tea (the smoothest ever!). This is the place I always took friends for celebrations or special moments – and from today it will be gone. I hope they find a new place, soon! I’ll surely be checking there website!

Casualty No. 2: Hing Loon. I don’t know why so many people have given it such bad reviews on the net. I’ve never had a bad dish there. Wait – I think I know. The standard dishes that you can get at your local takeaway are pretty much what you’d get at your local takeaway. Basically, the strength of Hing Loon are its chef specials, hot pots and its noodle soups. I go there mainly for their hearty chilli and salt tofu/aubergine/onion combo. Also, I like the friendly staff, which in most reviews have been described as unfriendly (also, I’ve never found dirty toilets as other reviewers apparently did, and I’ve been eating at this place for several years). Last week, I wanted to take a friend there, and found that it had closed for redecoration. Today, I went past – and its colour had changed from red to purple. In fact, the purple theme now continues throughout its interior – before some peculiar old maps of old banknotes dominated the interior. The new layout feels kind of santised – and their menu has changed, too! Hopefully not the staff – today I did not recognise anyone. Will check again next week or so… I doubt, though, that it will feel as unassuming and chilled out as the place it once was.

Casualty No. 3: The New Diamond. Next to Hing Loon. While not exactly my favourite restaurant, it certainly was the place to go for my favourite starter ever. I liked this starter so much, I would usually order it supersize as a main course, as most of their vegetarian dishes were not so good. I don’t even know what this starter was called. It was served with salad leaves and some white crispy stringy bits, nuts and some kind of plum sauce. It was cold and utterly delicious and light, but filling. Also, the restaurant’s owner once gave me a quick Chinese lesson on Chinese New Year a few years ago, which was nice!

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