Table Talk with Selina Periampillai

From The Guardian to Good Food Guide, Food Network to Delicious, Selina Periampillai is the go-to chef when it comes to Mauritian cuisine. After trawling the streets of London for an authentic taste of her heritage, she soon realised that there were very few traditional spots sharing plates from the tiny island her parents call home. As a self taught cook, Selina made it her mission to bring the flavours, colours and feasts of Mauritius to the masses and established Taste Mauritius. From supper clubs to pop ups, private catering to her very own cookbook ‘The Island Kitchen’, Selina wows with vibrant dishes of cari poule, dhal pita and exotic coconut ices to name a few.

When she’s not serving up a taste of the tropics, Selina spends time with her husband Jason and young daughter, Persia, munching their way round London. Here we share Selina’s favourite spots across South London and beyond…

1. I’d like a table for…
My husband and I having some quiet time! A tasting menu at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons by Raymond Blanc. An overnight stay and cookery class would be perfect too.

2. Early-birds catch the coffee at…
Filtr in Sanderstead, it’s relatively new and we’ve discovered our fave place for coffee at the moment, we are normally the first ones there in the morning! We opt for a selection of vegan rolls, croissants and oat lattes. It’s super friendly for kids too with a playground across the road to burn off those cakes.

3. Best brunch with kids?
At the weekends we always head for a bit of brunch together, my daughter Persia loves her pain au chocolat while me and the hubby venture for a substantial vegetarian breakfast. We love going for walks in Crystal Palace park then end up at Brown and Green LIFE.

4. Children’s menu must-visits…
No matter where we are Wagamama’s or Pizza Express always win. Nice and simple, happy kid happy parents.

5. Where do you grab a bite with mums en masse?
Got to be a place with space! Any coffee joints with play areas for the kids.

6. Hidden gem for treating tiny ones?
We recently took the little one to Biscuiteers on Northcote Road in Clapham. We got to do some biscuit decorating while enjoying hot chocolates and taking home our creations with us. A lovely special treat for kids and parents alike.

7. Best piece of advice for dining out with kids?
I always pack some felt tips and some new stickers/activity book for her to get stuck into, the iPad is the last resort!

8. Date night – takeaway or take me out?
When those nights come around we always make loads of plans to go out but end up with a movie, wine and takeout at home. It’s nice to relax but on occasion when feeling adventurous we go out for dinner as a treat like recently to Simpson’s on the Strand.

9. My earliest food memory…
Making porcupine stew for my parents..no porcupines involved! Just mincemeat with rice rolled into balls and baked in the oven with vegetable soup. I was so happy I made this by myself – I still remember it to this day.

10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you?
My soul mamas, I’ve got to know them in the last year and we have a What’sApp group, I always look forward to seeing them. We understand each other and have a great time letting off steam!

THE ISLAND KITCHEN: A CULINARY TOUR OF MAURITIUS AND THE INDIAN OCEAN
This ravishing cookbook will take you on a journey around the Indian Ocean islands, to taste the flavours of the colourful markets of Mauritius, the aromatic spice gardens of the Seychelles, the fishing coasts of the Maldives, the lagoons of Mayotte and the forests of Madagascar.

Selina Periampillai, born in London but of Mauritian descent, celebrates the vibrant home-cooking of the islands, with dishes such as Sticky chicken with garlic & ginger, Mustard- & turmeric-marinated tuna, Seychellois aubergine & chickpea cari, and Pineapple upside-down cake with cardamom cream.

With 80 simple recipes for everything from quick mid-week suppers to large rum-fuelled gatherings, and beautiful food photography and illustrations, this book will take you straight to the warm, welcoming kitchens of these beautiful islands.

Discover more about Selina and how to get your copy of The Island Kitchen here

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