The more you know about something, the more demanding you become.
Which is why I never, EVER order lemon tart in the restaurant. And why my boyfriend had never found an Indian restaurant he was happy with in London.
So it’s with trembling legs that I led him to Darbaar for dinner.
Opened by the end of last year by Abdul Yaseen (of the Cinnamon Group fame), Darbaar was designed to bring the regal feel of the Maharajan court to London.
Which is exactly the vibe you get from the restaurant itself.
It’s a very ‘grand’ sort of place, with velvety curtains, honey-coloured wood and golden touches here and there.
Which makes Darbaar the perfect spot for a business lunch or a late-night romantic date.
The menu draws its inspiration from all around India, featuring both classics and unusual dishes, as well as a couple of re-visited British classics.
The cocktail menu goes along the same lines, with loads of tropical twists on classics.
Including a (slightly scary) Cinnamon Mai Tai…
…and a deliciously refreshing Spicy Mango (frozen) Daiquiri!
With fresh mango, ginger & chilli blended together with rum, it’s an absolute must-have for any mango lover! (plus I’m sure it counts as one of your 5-a-day!)
Amritsari Spiced Calamari Fritters
A.K.A. deliciously soft calamari rings encased in crisp, spicy batter and served alongside a creamy red pepper dip.
Followed by super moist, succulent Nawabi Chicken ‘Pasanda’ kebabs.
Drizzled with the most delicious green chutney!
There were high expectations regarding the Butter Chicken.
A true Indian classic, and #1 dish to judge a restaurant on, according to my boyfriend.
His verdict? ‘Promissing’.
Which might not sound like much, but is the closest he’s ever come to being happy with Butter Chicken in London!
With a side of Masala Okra, which I wasn’t sure I’d like but ended up scooping up more than my fair share of!
All with some bread and raita. Just as it should be.
But if the starters and mains were rather on the traditional side of things, the dessert was anything but.
A stunning, modern take on Kulfi.
Beautiful in its simplicity, the parfait-style frozen dessert, perfumed with almond, saffron and cardamom was served alongside black-salt seasoned berries. It just made so much sense and was the perfect way to end the meal.
Just like most Indian restaurants, the more the merrier! Go with loads of friends, totally over-order and share it all.
In terms of a rating? Let’s say naan out of ten.