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Pera Pera on the wall...

July is a month renowned for summer holidays, and it was a depleted, skeleton OCC crew that assembled in El-Santo for pre-drinks prior to the July meet. Shorn of the stability brought by the Chairman (away in the UK) and the Vice Chairman (just down the road but looking after a lonely dog), there were palpable nerves as to how the meet would go.

This month’s chosen venue in the endless pursuit of curry excellence was Pera, an old favourite of the OCC and just over a year on from Pera being the OCC’s first post-lockdown curry. Thankfully, in Shanghai’s brave new world, this time we were able to visit the restaurant itself, tucked away in its own atmospheric corner of Found 158, rather than the post-lockdown event held in the offices of a German internet magnate of questionable repute.…

As stand-in Chairman Kam summoned the OCC members across 158 to Pera, he began his evening long battle to keep the group under control and released trialist (posh) Alex from his intense one one-on-one welcoming/grilling from the stand-in Vice Chairman (July) Sammy.

Aspiring Chutney Master James Prowse was nominated to order and became immediately bamboozled by both the menu itself and the extensive choice. Fortunately, the OCC is like a family, and not wanting to see a fellow member flounder, other members stepped in to help. Starters included Vegetable Samosa, Onion Bhajia, and Masala Papad, all of which were happily devoured by the assembled members and washed down by drinks of choice, which were both copious and mainly Stella Artois.

Whomever it was that helped James with the ordering ensured that we did not go hungry, with the main dishes of Mutton Rogan Josh, Saag Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Aloo Gobi, and Mutton and Chicken Vindaloos being accompanied by the obligatory shots from Sammy in his more traditional role of Shotmaster - this month providing Rum rather than Baijiu to the great relief of all assembled. The flavourful Mutton Rogan Josh was voted the dish most preferred by the OCC members, with honourable mentions going to the Chicken Saag and the Mutton Vindaloo.

While Chairman Kam kept his speeches amusing and appropriately to the point, the evening was not short of longer speeches from others in temporary leadership positions and was also punctuated by incoming landline calls, questionable suggested rules & an angrily produced but tasty chutney from the aspiring chutney master. The team at Pera, while perhaps slightly confused, provided attentive and friendly service throughout.

Once all had happily eaten their fill and drunk to the point where the memory becomes hazy, trialist (posh) Alex stepped up to perform his poem, a clever erotic ditty about a naan and a poppadum and their trip to Puxi, all performed in a style suitable for the Bullingdon Club.

Once the food was eaten and the meet closed, members drifted away quickly, perhaps concerned at the prospect of bumping into young people arriving at Found for a Friday night out. Only five OCC members remained for a photo with the Pera staff and to sign off another fine OCC evening.

Many thanks to the staff at Pera for an enjoyable night, for their patience, and of course, for the great food and service!


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