I’m starting to love a round-up post. Reason being I’ve been a little bit too unwell to get out and about eating lately and also no one has invited me to do a restaurant review for ages (hint hint). I do get out and about a lot with my job, but the last place I went with work was Bounce, Farringdon which was a while back now. When I started toying with the idea of my next round-up post, I was trying to think of ways to do something a little bit different. Chinese and other Asian cuisine has been featured quite heavily in the press over the last year, and rightly so with amazing restaurants like Foley’s having homes in the city. With Chinese New Year around the corner, I kind of feel like EVERYONE is going to do posts about Chinese restaurants.
So I’m going to do Indian.
One of the things that draws me to Indian food is the fact that I LOVE anything spicy.
The Punjab – ££
Great for: A family trip
(Picture source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26747591@N08/16536844621)
One of the things I love about the Punjab is that even though it is in central London, it really captures that “local Indian” feel. But it captures all of the good parts of local Indian restaurants like amazing, authentic, freshly cooked food rather than tacky decor and questionable hygiene. (Can’t grumble about The Coriander near me on Whitmore Way though, they know me by name).
Offering up a varied menu of Punjabi cuisine, the Punjab was started in 1946 and lays claim to being the oldest North Indian restaurant in London. Grandad’s special Kali Daal is a must for those wanting to sample the huge array of vegetarian dishes. For meat eaters, the Chicken Jalfrezi really is a must. Without being too spicy – the dish bursts with flavour without drying out the chicken. You’ll also find an incredibly varied wine menu and traditional Indian beer.
Average price for a meal for two: £60 – £80 including drinks.
Dishoom – ££
Great for: catching up with friends
(Picture source: http://www.dishoom.com)
I wavered about putting Dishoom on here because I didn’t want to seem like I was just trying to keep up with the “trendy” crowd. The trouble is, Dishoom really is a great restaurant. You can’t really be mad at it for being popular with hipsters. A lot of people complain about the queues, but when I visited the Covent Garden one earlier this year I just booked in, pretty easy process. We sat downstairs, and it was intimate with a nice amount of space in between the tables, if not a bit dark.
When it comes to choosing food, although not vegetarian, I do tend to go for vegetarian options a lot. Especially if there is paneer on the menu. Some people may find it crazy but I actually prefer a paneer tikka to a chicken one. The Paneer Tikka at Dishoom is ever so lightly flavoured, but really tasty. A lot of Indian restaurants have the habit of throwing a lot of different flavours at paneer, because lets face it, it isn’t overwhelming on it’s own. But this really isn’t necessary. This is very lightly marinated. Another thing I noticed was that the “squeaky” texture paneer can sometimes have wasn’t present here, which was great. That really is my least favourite thing about paneer and halloumi.
The real jewel in the crown for me at Dishoom was the Gunpowder Potatoes. I love a bit of spice. Spice up your life every day I say. Marketed with the cute little phrase “the seduction is in the tumble”, these fully skinned potatoes are a cross between a roast potato and everyone’s favourite Indian side dish – Bombay potatoes. You really can’t go wrong can you?
Average price for a meal for two: £60 – £80 including drinks
Bombay Chow – ££
Great for: impressing a date
(Picture Source: https://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/bombay-chow)
Ok, two confessions to make. First things first, I haven’t been to Bombay Chow yet. Also this is an Indian-Chinese restaurant rather than just straight Indian. I once went to an all you can eat in Birmingham that was an Indian/Chinese and cost about a fiver. As you can imagine the quality wasn’t great but the idea of eating as much as I could fill my face with from an Indian AND Chinese menu was splendid. A bit more of an upmarket idea, Bombay Chow celebrates the Hakka people who are today living in Mumbai. They made their way from China and had a big influence on the food there.
Bombay Chow say on their website “At Bombay Chow we want to offer you an authentic selection of dishes and specialities of the indo chinese cuisine that we all love , and cater dishes that have attained a cult status like ‘the manchow soup’ ‘chicken lollipop’ ‘manchurian’ ‘hakka noodles’ and many more.”
This is definitely on my review list for 2019!