East meets west in perfect harmony - The Leamington Observer

East meets west in perfect harmony

Leamington Editorial 1st Mar, 2024   0

FUSION food can all too often be intimidating; even a little frightening.

That is certainly not the case at Fusion Clan in Warwick, which opened its doors in January in Smith Street, in the former home of The Pickled Crab.

Fusion Clan is the long held vision of three friends who all originally hail from the southern Indian state of Kerela, but who have now made their home in south Warwickshire.

The menu, which reflects the trio’s Kerelan heritage and that of their adopted homeland, is as interesting and diverse as the owners themselves – Aby Joseph, Thomas Mathew and Joshi Johny.




Aby, who now lives in Warwick, relocated from Kerala to Stratford 13 years ago to pursue his nursing career and is now a clinical services manager in Stratford.

His selflessness, leadership, and empathy in helping with residents’ and staff’s safety and well-being throughout the pandemic, led to him making headlines last year when he was awarded the British Empire Medal. Self-effacing Aby is the first to say the royal recognition was a team award, achieved thanks to the people he works with.


For Thomas, from Stratford, the venture could not be more different from his 20 years spent as a marine mechanical engineer with Kuwait Airways and, more recently, as a film producer.

With his first movie, the thriller John Luther, receiving widespread acclaim, he is now preparing to start filming on a follow-up.

The pair have been friends since 2011 but it was only after a chance meeting with experienced chef Joshi that their vision began to take shape.

Aby explained: “The first time I went out for an Indian meal after arriving in the UK, I really liked it. . . but it was nothing to do with India. This is not the usual thing I would eat back home, I thought, so how can they say this is Indian? There are some very popular dishes over here that are actually nothing to do with India, not authentic at all. Then I went to another restaurant and it was the same story. So wherever you go, it’s the same taste, you don’t get something different.

“I always wanted to run my own business and for the last ten years the three of us would talk about having a restaurant. We planned on doing it much sooner but then Covid changed everything.”

For those simply looking for a madras or a jalfrezi then Fusion Clan is not for them.

With the greatest respect to those who enjoy such ‘Indian’ favourites – myself included – they will find Fusion Clan very a different proposition, but one to be embraced and most certainly savoured.

That is down to the man in the kitchen. Having started his culinary career at a top hotel in India, since moving to south Warwickshire Joshi has worked as a chef at the Peacock Hotel in Kenilworth, Ettington Chase and Crowne Plaza Hotels in Stratford, and Walton Hall in Wellesbourne.

Now at Fusion Clan he is using his 30 years plus experience and obvious passion for food to realise a long held dream.

Joshi said: “I wanted to create dishes influenced by our roots, using unique and authentic south Indian spices but fusing them with European dishes, so adding new flavours. There has been lots of experimenting until I perfected the menu and diners so far are complimenting us on how different the experience is.

“I’m striving to create a fine dining experience that people can afford. There’s lots of different elements, each and every one freshly prepared on the plate, right down to the sauces.

“We are excited to share this food because we know people are going to love it.”

He oversees a menu using local meats, fruits and vegetables alongside the specially sourced spices and rices from Kerala, including jeerakasala rice, a more fragrant and flavoursome rice because it is grown at high altitude which is included in the Geographical Indication registry of India.

And he makes sure every every ingredient earns its place on every plate of food which leaves his kitchen. Diners are unlikely to have eaten food quite like this before and there is certainly no where in south Warwickshire serving food like it.

It is testament to Joshi obvious skill in the kitchen and to his love of experimentation.

Take for instance starters such as Muringakol Chicken soup – a wonderfully moreish spiced consomme with red lentils and bread which is even served with herb-infused flavoured butter, or the wonderful very east meets west Kattirachi Arancini – in which kuttanad red rice is married with venison and mozzeralla, rolled in panko and deep fried, and served with fennel and coriander chutney.

Mains include equally triumphant dishes such the strangely named Kumarakom to Cornwall – Joshi’s signature dish and one he is rightly proud of – a Keralan spiced grilled seabass dish, featuring kappa (a type of tapioca), served with tamarind-infused sauce, or Lamb Chaps – the tenderest perfectly spiced lamb accompanied by malabar parotta (a layerd flaked Kerela style bread).

Desserts, be they east or west or a meeting in the middle, are no after thought, from the heavenly Fusion Clan Delight Trio – lemon and raspberry parfait with white chocolate mousse and rhubarb and custard ice cream, to the comforting Rava Kerari – a warm south Indian favourite made primarily with semolina and flavoured with saffron and a hint of cardamon, served with vanilla pod ice cream.

And then there are dishes such as Warwickshire Pork Plate. Cheese Spinach Tortellini, Beef Coconut Roast.

Diners may initially be slightly apprehensive on first viewing the menu (an extensive lunch menu is also available) but the tastebuds of those who join Aby, Thomas and Joshi in their exciting new culinary adventure are likely to be richly rewarded.

Visit www.fusionclanwarwick.co.uk for full details.

 

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