Dinner at Darbaar, London's finest Indian
As we entered, a friendly female greeted us at the reception desk and took our jackets to the cloakroom whilst we were shown to our seats. Having not even looked at the menu yet, the impressive surroundings and vibrant yet relaxed setting already confirmed in my mind this was going to be an experience I would remember!
As the waiter took our drinks order, he informed us we "needn't worry choosing our food", as the chef was going to look after us. And he most definitely did!
To start, we were brought one of the house specialties, a 'Haroyali date and samosa chaat' - a delicious dish of flaky pastry samosas with a fruity filling, covered in a rich white cream sauce, with spices and a coriander dressing drizzled throughout. See the image below - it tastes just as impressive as it looks!
Following from the 'pre-starter' above was our actual starters - Tandoori salmon tikka and Sufiyani lamb seekh kebabs. As he brought it out the waiter told us it would be one the best salmon dishes we had over tasted ....a big promise, but one the dish certainly lived up to! The fish was cooked to perfection, perfectly flaky without being slimey, whilst the lamb kebabs were full of flavour, and perfectly complemented with the mildly spicy dipping sauce on the side.
Having already feasted a fair amount on 3 separate starters, there was no room to be feeling full.... we still had the mains to come! And as three delicious curries were brought to our table, the overwhelming amount of food made us wonder where we going to put it all.... but when they were so delicious, we seemed to have no trouble finding a space!
|Hope you're hungry!|
First up was the Kadhai Spiced Paneer - chunks of fresh deliciously firm cheese, coated in hot spicy sauce with coriander and fresh pepper chunks.
|Kadhai Spiced Paneer|
Next we had my personal favourite, the Kerala Spiced Shrimp. Being an absolute lover of seafood, but necessarily of spice, this dish could of gone down either way.... but luckily it went down the right one! With the creamy coconut milk acting as the perfect counteract to the spices, my pallete was refreshed enough to fully enjoy the freshly cooked shrimps.
|Kerela Spiced Shrimp|
And the third curry, a favourite of Sasha's (and my second fav!) was the Kasturi Butter Chicken....
|Katsuri Butter Chicken|
Whilst the chicken itself was delicious and tender, it was the creamy sauce that really set this dish apart. Luckily there was plenty off it for spooning onto the pilau rice and stack on naan breads we had for the table.
The staff could not have been more attentive, regularly topping up our waters and checking everything was OK. Head chef Abdul even came out to greet us, and chatted to the others diners throughout the night, which was such a nice personal touch.
Nonetheless, I'm happy to report my poor generalisation, based on one unfortunate experience, was very wrong, and the delicious Spiced Carrot Cake, served with Cardamon Cream and Lemon figs, restored my faith in the Indian desert menus!!!
A soft and spongy base, with the perfect balance of sweetness and subtle spice, the waiters laughed at how quickly Sasha and I managed to polish this one off. "Oh, you must have really thought that one was disgusting, look at all the leftovers" they joked, as they cleared away our empty plates! Well, it would have been rude to leave any crumb uneaten!
Finally, post desert we managed to squeeze in a couple of coffees, alongside a tasting of Royal Indian Tea with softly spiced biscuits. The perfect end to a perfect meal!
Oh, and before you leave, you MUST try out the toilets. Weird thing to say, I know, but with heated seats, a link to the bar to order your next drink, and more buttons offering a multitude of function for your derriere (washing, drying, even massage!), you'd be crazy to not pay them a visit!
All in all, we had a fantastic evening - I can't say which was better - the food or service, both were great! And if you think an evening like this comes at a price, think again! You can experience all the dishes we did by ordering their set menu, for only £35 per person. Alternatively, if you wish to choose yourself from the impressive a la carte menu, you'd be looking at around £25 per head.... depending on how many dishes tempt you, that is!