Oxford’s first vegetarian and vegan Indian cafe Delhish Kitchen is opening on St Clements, Oxford next month, where Cous Cous Cafe used to be.
“I didn’t even know people ate animals until I came to the UK”
Delhish, currently in the old Six Bells Pub on Church Street in Bicester, was recognised as one of the Top 50 restaurants in Oxfordshire by the Good food Guide 2020 last month, and is now relocating to the city centre.
Run by Jaya Patel, the vegetarian chef said: “The new premises will be a deli and cafe and we plan to open on November 14. I would have opened in Oxford before if I had had the confidence and the support that I do now.
“Now is the right time because my supporters have made me feel special and worth something since I opened in Bicester.
“So we will be sad to leave Bicester, but we can’t manage two places at the same time.”
So what can her new customers expect to eat at the new cafe? “I want to make it a really special experience, to inspire my customers with new dishes and food they may not know about. Like Mal puda, or khatapuda and garmanu.
“There are a thousand dishes we have in India, all vegan and vegetarian.”
we did have to fight the monkeys and tread on the snakes, and we stole tamarind and ate them until we were sick
So is this a reaction to the growing vegan and vegetarian trend? Jaya laughs: “I didn’t even know people ate animals until I came to the UK when I was 10 years old. It’s sad but I think people in the West eat animals because it’s convenient and part of their culture. For me it’s not even necessary. Meat sausages are full of spices and flavourings. That’s the taste. Not the meat.“
So where does Jaya get her inspiration from?
“In Gujarat, where I’m from in India. Plants and seeds that I ate as a kid running barefoot, barely clothed, happy as Jai in the jungle.
“The fruits I ate don’t even exist here. Not even Waitrose has them, yet in India they grow like brambles in the bushes,”
“But we did have to fight the monkeys and tread on the snakes, and we stole tamarind and ate them until we were sick. Most days I can’t even buy fresh tamarind in Oxford. In fact I’m off to Birmingham now to get supplies.”
Jaya’s love for food shines through, and having cooked for her family and husband until her marriage broke up, she then decided to start cooking for us as well.
Beginning in local farmers markets in Headington and Summertown, she gradually grew in confidence, enabling her to set up in Bicester.
“I met so many amazing people, who are friends now. I even get invited to their homes for tea. My son says I don’t know my worth. Maybe I don’t. “
If her cooking is anything to go by, she will soon, because while she doesn’t pretend to be anything that she’s not, Jaya’s new cafe will wow her new customers with her stunningly delicious food.
READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF DELHISH IN BICESTER HERE https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/review-are-you-a-lion-or-an-elephant-find-out-at-amazing-new-vegetarian-indian-kitchen-delhish-in-bicester/