Not long ago I ended up in the fast food outlet-cum Indian restauarant Tiffin Bites in Canary Wharf with some other academics on a Friday night (it was after a conference and it was close to hand). The experience was a glitzy neon affair with eager young waiting staff who all seemed to be the type of webbed hand antipodeans who are often behind bars in London. Didn’t feel like a furry flock wallpaper joint at all and barely Indian at that. When my own dad briefly experimented with running an Indian restuarant in the 80s he got complaints about an oriental-looking Bengali waiter out front because the poor chap “didn’t look Indian enough” and I had a bit of a flashback to the incident in Tiffin Bites but suppressed my urge to say anything on that point to any of them.

Now the nation’s leading academic expert on the curry industry Sean Carey reports in the New Statesman that Shlipa Shetty (who attracted the racist insult “Shilpa Popadum” in the Celebrity Big Brother house) owns a third of said eaterie as well as other things and has designs on Brick Lane next where the existing 47 Indian (ie Bangladeshi) restuarants could be vulnerable. A hustler proffering Carey a flyer for his own Brick Lane restaurant is quoted as demanding what the jiggins does Shetty know about Indian food?I know that the “housemates” were worried about her cooking the chicken – the question was where exactly her hands had been as I recall – but in answer to the question I imagine she’s eaten a fair bit of it in her time.

For a special issue of the Darkmatter learned e-journal in which academics aeriate theories on Shettygate click here. More research by Sean is here. Sorry for choice of story but I am finding it difficult to get too worked up about the Lib Dem conference.