When Franklin Lobo started serving his Goan home-cooked curries at the Gloucester Green Market, they were a big hit. Within five years he had given up his day job to run his stand there four days a week.
“Indian food in the UK is so anglicised and certainly nothing like the Indian food I know and grew up with”
Sadly The Gloucester Green Market closed on March 18, so Franklin has launched a new home delivery service from Oxford, enabling even more of us to try his South Indian cuisine.
So what can we expect? “Goan food uses a lot of coconut milk, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves. It can be spicy but it can also be mild. It is quite like Malaysian food if you need a comparison.”
And we can concur, having sampled the delicious array of Goan curries that arrived on our doorstep this weekend! From Franklin’s best-selling fish curry, to Goan meatballs (beef meatballs in a vindhalo masala, so not for the faint-hearted, but full of zing with chilli, ginger and coriander all vying for attention).
We also tried the gentler mixed veg and coconut curry, and the bolder chickpea and green bean curry, whose freshness and strong flavours lifted them to a whole new level. The chicken xacuti was a new one to us, but its warm aniseedy flavours, from nutmeg to star anise shone through, and its chilli heat left us speechless.
We tried a bit of everything, it’s hard not to when each curry ranges from £4-£5 with rice only £1, and are now big fans. Franklin’s food is original, authentic, traditional, fresh and exciting – something to suit every palate and chilli rating. Plus you know it’s cooked with love, that he’s passionate about sharing his national cuisine with us, and it’s novel for most of us. I would have liked more extras – Indian breads, poppodums, something crispy, but perhaps in time these will come.
So what made Franklin start up Signature Curries? “The lack of good Indian food here,” he said simply. “Indian food in the UK is so anglicised and certainly nothing like the Indian food I know and grew up with.
RAED OUR FULL ALTERNATIVE TAKEAWAY GUIDE HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/the-alternative-alphabetical-takeaway-directory-from-a-gourmet-meal-to-a-bacon-sarnie-change-the-way-you-eat-and-save-your-local-pubs-restaurants-and-cafes/
“The Indian restaurant scene here seems trapped in the 1950s and 1960s, but with so many young people travelling abroad now, especially to India and Goa, they know what to expect when they come home, which is why you find so many authentic, genuine, home-made Indian food stalls at so many food markets now. It’s just a case of supply and demand.
“They don’t want a menu with 200 things on it that all taste the same. They want five or six choices which are all completely different, just like you’d get in India. So that’s what we do at the market.”
And will Franklin continue the same menu for the deliveries? “We want to diversify a bit, get a bit more experimental,” he smiles. “There are so many amazing Goan dishes to cook and try, so the delivery menu will change every week, although it will always feature the same ratio of three veggie curries and three non veggie.”
And his speciality? “My Goan fish curry is very popular,” he smiles again.
So why did Franklin decide to start up in the first place when he had a nice safe job in an Oxford wine bar?
“I’m Goan by birth and have always had a love of cooking, but worked in the hospitality business until now (Franklin was the bar manager at 1855).
“Recently I decided it was time to follow my heart and start up something on my own, and Signature Curries has really taken off at Gloucester Green.
The Gloucester Green market is a mecca of international food and cuisines, and attracts workers, tourists and students from all over Oxford who crowd in to try the mix and diversity of so many global tastes, all in one place.
“People come here on their lunch breaks and choose a different dish from several stalls. But they tend to eat it there rather than take it home, so doing deliveries will be a whole new experience for us,” Franklin says.
And if the home deliveries take off, might he continue the new service indefinitely? “Absolutely,” Franklin says. “After the pandemic is over I hope to keep delivering on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s a great way to reach an entirely new audience.”
Call 07955 030245 to place orders or email email@example.com
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @signaturecurry
MINIMUM ORDER: 5 MAIN dishes per order.
All curries are:▪︎ Gluten free, dairy free, nut free, Veg options are Vegan.
▪︎ Provided chilled, ready for you to refrigerate, freeze or heat up.
DELIVERY & COLLECTION TIMES:
LUNCH: Collection only, 11am – 12pm
Delivery 12pm -1pm, 1pm – 2pm
DINNER: Collection only, 4pm – 5pm
Delivery 5pm – 6pm, 6pm – 7pm, 7pm – 8pm, 8pm – 9pm, 9pm – 10pm
PAYMENT: Contactless payment ONLY will be accepted.
Menu for next week will be announced on Sunday.