Living just off Parnell Road, and a hop, skip and a jump from the city certainly gives us the opportunity to try out the latest oh-so-trendy eating establishments when they open. The husband had for months been keen to try Cassia, which to be fair could not be called newly opened, and a night or two back we did just that. I wasn't nearly as keen as he was because the idea of dining in a city basement providing Indian style food on one of the hottest nights of the year was not my idea of fun. However, he's both persuasive and determined at times and so off we trotted to Fort Lane.
The first thing I noticed was how very low the ceiling was - and how very loud the noise despite the fact that only a few tables seemed to be occupied. The staff were very pleasant though and so I ordered what I am certain was described as a pork fillet and he ordered Bengali fish. The greater part of the pork dish turned out to be the belly of the animal which is currently thick on the ground in the eating establishments of this part of the world and as we all know, very fatty. In fact I would go so far as to say that pork belly is definitely an acquired taste - one I am not at all anxious to cultivate.
I remember it from my childhood, as part of my mother's culinary repertoire along with neck of lamb, stuffed hearts and beef cheek. These are the staples of the British working classes, the dishes you eat when you can't afford `real' meat. It seems sad that they have become so evident these days in pricey restaurants.
The pork wasn't the best start but on the other hand the Bengali fish was nicely cooked and tasty. The accompanying rice was adequate and the garlic Naan was very good. Overall I would have to say that unless someone had informed me that this was Indian style food, I would never have guessed. The husband agreed with me there, though he demolished the pork belly with relish. We have been spoiled of course by too many visits, over too many years, to Brick Lane.