TIKKA masala, onion bhaji and pilau rice are on the menu for British expats in France after a plane carrying 90 curries and ten litres of mango chutney took to the skies.
Family-run curry house The Akash in Southsea has delivered its furthest takeaway to customers in Bordeaux with the help of long-term patron James Emery, an English expat and pilot.
Co-owner Faz Ahmed said: ‘It all started as a joke with one of our customers James who has been coming to the restaurant for 20 years.
‘He always said he wanted us to bring him curry and this year we have made that happen.’
In collaboration with a number of local businesses and Iroise Aero Formation, a professional flying school in Brest, customers can now purchase a meal – including classic dishes such as chicken tikka massala, lamb balti, Bengal naga chicken and vegetable paneer korai – for £32 delivered via a six-seater TBM700.
James said: ‘I am very excited and it has been amazing how this whole thing has snowballed when it started off with us just wanting a good curry.’
The 31-year-old, who moved to France in 2010, ordered his favourite spicy curry from the restaurant, chicken phall.
He added: ‘I am a chilli head and aviation geek so having those two together is great and I am very much looking forward to having an Akash curry in France.’
The food will be reheated after its one-hour journey to the region and tables have been set up in a hangar at Saucats Airfield for James and his friends to enjoy their meal.
Fareham Borough Council owns the airfield on the site of the former HMS Daedalus and leader Councillor Sean Woodward, who attended the take-off, said: ‘It is good news for the airfield and Faz and Jaf are so enterprising with this venture for taking curry to France.’
Co-owner Jaf Ahmed said: ‘We want to thank everyone who has helped to make this a possibility and can’t believe how crazy it has gone.
‘When I sent out the original press release and phoned Faz, he nearly dropped his phone in a tikka masala because of how much attention it was getting.’
Jaf added: ‘Akash means sky in Bangla and for us the sky really is the limit.’