As one of the ten biggest cities in the UK with a population of around 800,000, Sheffield ought to have an exciting dining scene. However, prior to a recent weekend in the city with old friends, it was somewhere I had only visited twice previously in my life. I went to Sheffield with an open mind and came back impressed. How typical the two venues were of the city’s dining scene it is hard to gauge, but our experiences on both nights represent a wonderful microcosm of much that is exciting across the UK’s overall dining scene. In summary, it is a story of both constants and reinvention.
Est. India apparently offers “traditional, fine, urban” dining, per its website. Even if I would not necessarily choose to be so profligate with my descriptors, in summary Est. was a great venue with some impressively decent food.While there are some obvious classics such as the Korma and the Jalfrezi, it’s the novel that pushes the boundaries…
That there always seem to be queues outside every branch of Dishoom I have attempted to visit must surely be a sign that the operators of this now 7-strong chain must have hit upon a winning formula. Luckily enough my wait ended earlier this week when I lost my Dishoom virginity by visiting their Carnaby Street branch. There was no let-down, no anti-climax, just a desire to return.
Britain’s love affair with curry is well-documented and remains unabated. Restaurateurs therefore assume that it is a fairly safe bet opening yet more high-end Indian venues in swanky parts of London. Onto the scene late last year came Kahani – Hindi for story – backed by a top chef, formerly of Tamarind fame.
Passion and execution are two things that diners expect when eating out. Both were in spades at Patri, a small Indian restaurant located on a Hammersmith side street. Similar to the approach pursued by better-known Indian establishments such as Dishoom and Darjeeling Express, Puneet and his team at Patri are seeking to bring their home-based experiences of Indian cooking to the broader world.
Regular readers of the Blog will know that Gourmand Gunno can often be found in Indian restaurants. However, with a choice of some 150 such dining establishments in Edinburgh (a city with which Gunno is not at all familiar), how to choose? Luckily, fellow food Blogger Adele (aka ‘Tartan Spoon’) suggested a trip to Navadhanya. ..
‘No,’ was what I wanted to scream straight out when first I learned about Farzi Café. Everything about it struck me as wrong or offensive. The restaurant is subtitled as being a ‘modern spice bistro’ (what is that supposed to mean?), it is backed by ‘the Czar of Indian Cuisine’ (per the details on its website) and I learned through the Internet that farzi means ‘fake’ in Urdu. Add into this that London’s newest batch of Indian openings have all met with mixed reviews, and my expectations were certainly low heading to Farzi Café. The good news, however, was that they were comfortably surpassed…
Restaurants come and go in London, with around half shutting within a year of opening. I fear Kanishka may well fall into this category. Maybe I was negatively prejudiced towards the venue, having never rated chef Atul Kochhhar’s previous Benares venture, but I have no specific desire to return to Kanishka. The décor felt brash, the vibe wrong, and the food not quite good enough to justify the inflated price tags.
Any restaurant that not only opened in 1972 but has expanded its premises since then must clearly be doing something right. That there are often customers queuing (an hour’s wait is apparently not abnormal) is further testament to Tayyabs. Based on our recent week night visit – which fortuitously did not involve any queuing – the reason is very apparent. It has nothing to do with the insalubrious venue/ décor, and everything to do with the food: which was top-quality and delivered at compelling prices
Four years is a culinary lifetime, particularly in London, but I have always retained fond memories for Ma Goa, a Putney-located Indian restaurant. Finding myself in the area on a recent weekend, the opportunity to return seemed too good to pass up. In summary, the restaurant has had a make-over, but the food remains as differentiated as before.
London does not lack for competition when it comes to high-end Indian restaurants, yet there is always room for more. When Indian Accent opened just under a year ago, expectations were certainly high for the venture, given the plaudits accorded to the original in New Delhi and its first offshoot in New York. Choosing to locate yourself on the same street as London’s Gymkhana is also tantamount to laying down a challenge; we can do at least as well, if not better than you. A recent visit saw both my dining comrade and I highly impressed by Indian Accent…
What to make of Roti Chai? Identity crisis could be one answer. Now read on…. We opted for what Roti Chai calls its ‘street kitchen,’ a more informal setting based at street level. At 12.15 on arrival, it was pleasant, with a certain buzz. An hour later, it was hell…
Visit-one to Jamavar in March for a work lunch filled me with the belief that this could be among the best Indian restaurants in London. A second visit, on a recent Saturday night sampling the full tasting menu reinforced the notion that Jamavar has a lot of potential; but, our experience was let down by the service.
The word Wapping generally brings to mind either images of dastardly deeds in the docks of Victorian London or Rupert Murdoch’s destruction of the British newspaper industry, not a place for culinary surprises. Yet this is precisely what experienced when seeking an Indian meal after a mini pub crawl in the area.
After my somewhat disappointing recent visit to Vineet Bhatia, it was a decided relief to eat at Jamavar. It reminded me once again just how good Indian cooking can be, when in the right hands. The pedigree of head chef Rohit Ghai says it all – having previously worked at Gymkhana, Trishna and Benares, he clearly knows what he is doing.
The appetite for the new and the slightly different seems almost insatiable when it comes to restaurant openings. And so onto the scene comes Jikoni, which could arguably claim to be London’s first restaurant that is Swahili-influenced. Indeed, the restaurant takes its name from the local word used in the Great Lakes area of Africa for ‘kitchen.’