The Tibetan street pop-up has made a temporary home for itself at Silvie’s on Iffley Road. I haven’t actually been to Silvie’s bakery and café before, and from the outside, this quaint guesthouse could easily be missed. On coming inside, it’s like being in someone’s house. They do their own locally and ethically sourced breakfast, lunch and dinner with a seasonal changing menu, and are known for their homemade cinnamon buns. They rent out the space, and its latest inhabitants are Yoshi’s team from Taste Tibet every Thursday until 4th April 2019.
We first start with the momos - I overheard a young lady from the table next to mine telling the waitress her friend had named their cat after these! These are the ‘unofficial national dish of Tibet’; they are time-consuming to make, so something of a must if you like dumplings. I went for the vegan option, accompanied by the chilli jams and another soy-type sauce. They could have been slightly hotter in temperature for my liking, but were very tasty. I think I enjoyed the casing than the green vegetable vegan filling! Although the homemade chilli jam didn’t have the depth, richness and spiciness of a balachaung (this would have been a perfect accompaniment), this jam was sharp, spicy, and had a light sweetness which really complimented the momos and was easily soaked up by the casing!
Next, I went for the popular Taste Tibet famous chicken curry. I should have known better here, as I always find chicken curries, which are not on the bone, tend to lack tenderness. This was just borderline for me as the chicken was slightly set. If you are used to thicker curries or coconut-based ones, think again. This Tibetan treat was lighter and runnier in consistency, and on first tasting you could be misled into thinking it’s missing something, before it develops into an array of flavours and then a kick of spice. I think that for me personally, this would have worked much better with either fish or vegetables, as the chicken just seemed too heavy for the flavours. This dish was accompanied by white rice. I had seen somewhere online they do flat bread, but they were only serving what was on the menu displayed on the day.
Taste Tibet is obviously very popular as, while I was dining, many people arrived to collect takeaway bags, I’m still not 100% sold; I think I was expecting something else, particularly when it came to the curry, but I always enjoy trying something different. The food portions were a generous size, and we had the option to take away any leftovers.
Taste Tibet are at Silvie’s for a limited time, so get down quickly if you want a taste of ‘Himalayan soul food’. If not, their stall can be found at Gloucester Green food market in Oxford on Wednesdays and Saturdays - see here for their website. I definitely will be going back to try out Silvie’s itself, however.