Hot meals from Brixton that satisfy more than hunger

(From left) Head Chef Shanthini, Trainee Chef Rekha, Head Chef Radhika

Papi’s Feasts is a brand new hot meal delivery service from social enterprise Papi’s Pickles, formerly of Brixton, Borough Market and catered events.

Papi’s Pickles had a pop-up showcasing their festival themed menus at Cornercopia in Brixton Village.

The base for the new service is Beast of Brixton on Acre Lane.

The pivot comes after Papi’s Pickles’ earnings were essentially wiped out by the pandemic, and the UnLtd charity stepped up to support.

UnLtd works with social entrepreneurs to fund their ideas.

Papi’s Feasts offer a chance to get authentic Tamil cooking at home; but they are only available until 9 April.

The sharing feasts are inspired by the thali, a traditional way of presenting many dishes in a circle of individual metal bowls.

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A collection of sample dishes from a Papi’s feast thali, including Paneer Poriyal and Jeera Rice

The all-female team of chefs brings Tamil flavours and culture to the UK, while the enterprise also provides employment, training and a support network for long-term unemployed women from these communities.

The woman behind Papi’s Feasts, (and Pickles) Abi Ramanan, is recognised for her work to leverage the power of the food industry to do social good.

She has campaigned for the Fairtrade FoundationOxfam and Sustain.

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A Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

Abi founded Papi’s Pickles in 2014, with her mother and aunt, as a way to empower women who had to leave Sri Lanka due to its long and brutal civil war.

Abi says: “It became apparent that there was acute need in these communities in London and, because we spoke the language and had some cultural overlap, it felt worth trying.

“Female refugees and migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and remain far from safe and secure employment, so achieving any form of economic independence is deeply challenging.”

Papi’s Pickles aims, therefore, to give the women employed a safe work environment at a living wage, and to use community spirit and training to build confidence.

hands holding dish of Asian food
Trainee Chef Rekha holding Masal Vadai

The menu is subject to changes but includes:

“Slow-cooked, aromatic curries with meat from independent family-run butcher HG Walter, freshly made paneer dishes, dhals simmered with roasted and crushed organic Steenbergs spices, and fragrant steamed rice dishes scattered with pomegranate seeds.

“Hand rolled roti, some poppadam dipped into their savoury, tangy and piquant pickles, and a perfectly sweet dessert, fragrant with exotic rosewater and saffron.”

All packaging used is recyclable or made from sustainable sources.

The service has won praise from top food writers.

Award-winning food author Anna Jones said: “it was some of the best food I have eaten in a while.”

Top cook, author and Sunday Times columnist Rosie Birkett said: “I love everything about Papi’s Pickles – bringing women together with a sense of purpose and community, empowering and employing through food and providing delicious, authentic, beautifully made food for everyone to enjoy”. 

Deliveries (within a 2.5 mile radius of Brixton) are Thursday and Friday evenings, 5.45 to 8pm. There is free delivery on orders over £40, and 15% off on orders over £80.

Collection is from The Beast of Brixton (89 Acre Lane, SW2 5TN) and comes with a free jar of pickles.

Order two days before 

Instagram, Twitter and Facebook: @papispickles

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