By Esin Huseyin
Now, I’m sure by now that you guys are getting to grips with the types of food posts I usually post – *cough* burgers *cough*. But there is nothing more ironic about this food review, than vising a traditional Indian restaurant on #nationalburgerday. Oh, Esin.
Having read the accolade of prizes and features; Best Indian Restaurant by Time Out Magazine, fresh British produce, traditional grill and Tandoor ovens, as well as the fact that this place is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary – to say that I was excited to try this place, is a bit of an understatement.
Considering this restaurant is located in the heart of Soho, on Dean Street, I was expecting a busy vibe – but it was completely empty, we were literally the only table. Now, I don’t want to be too harsh, this could merely be because it was nearing the end of their lunch service. But, you can tell a lot about a restaurant, just by being there during their “quiet” period – the staff were very attentive.
We were given the A La Carte menu, which actually had the date Wednesday 27th August printed on it, which led me to believe that they regularly update their menus so there are no confusions – I was impressed by this. The menu is split up in to several categories; Starters, Charcoal/Grills (Mains), Vegetarian Mains, Mains, and Rice & Breads. There was actually a great selection of vegetable, poultry, and meat dishes – we attempted to navigate the menu, and try to pick a few dishes from each area.
The dishes we went for were:
- Khumb Tandoori – Mushrooms stuffed with cheese, green chili & white pepper
- Anaari Champ – Grilled Scottish lamb chops topped with star anise & pomegranate sauce
- Lucknowi Murgh – French corn-fed chicken breast pieces in a spicy brown onion, dried coriander, saffron & red chili sauce
- Saffron rice with cumin
- Selection of breads
Now, I’m more of your Chicken Tikka Masala type of girl, and I most definitely have my two favourite places; one located in Southsea in Portsmouth, and the other in Plaistow – I am yet to find anything that tops these. Completely different ways of cooking, completely different styles, but I was finding it hard not to compare this restaurant to my beloved curry houses.
All of the portions were generous, in fact they were more than enough for the two of us to split, with some left over in fact. They arrived pretty promptly, don’t think we even waited longer than 20 minutes between courses, and the food was hot.
Now, you may think I’m weird in saying this, but I’m not actually the biggest mushroom fan, but these mushrooms…how can I say, didn’t taste “squidgey”? They had a great consistency, and were completely smothered in cheese with just the right amount of chili for a kick. Quite fresh, great to start with.
The lamb chops, now I love pomegranate sauce, so I was expecting big things. I was slightly put off when this dish arrived because the sauce had in actual fact developed a film – ick. The lamb looked suspiciously dark and hard, but was actually super tender; however, it did get a little sickly after a while.
The chicken in the curry was absolutely amazing, super tender and fresh. The sauce had a beautiful kick to it, there were in actual fact whole chili’s in the dish. There was plenty of sauce to chicken ratio, which I love, as I like to eat mine alongside the rice. The only thing that confused me was the consistency of the sauce, as I genuinely expected it to be slightly thicker. Nonetheless, the flavours of onion & saffron were incredible, and this is a definite must if you visit this restaurant.
The saffron rice was more than enough to share between two, and the saffron was strong but not overpowering. The bread selection had 4 variations of naan bread; plain, poppy seeds, coriander, and something we’ll call miscellaneous because I couldn’t quite place…sorry! The bread was super soft yet crunchy, literally just how I love my naan bread – I liked that they were small sizes as too much bread is a dangerous game.
Overall the meal was enjoyable, I don’t think it was the best Indian I’ve ever had; the price of the dishes are a little higher than your average, but you have to treat yourself every now and then.
Have you been to The Red Fort? What did you order? Can you recommend a good Indian restaurant in London? Let us know in the comments below.