Indian food done well is something the Food Snobs cannot possibly refuse, so it was with excitement that we accepted the invitation to sample the menu at newly-opened Darbaar, just behind Liverpool Street station.
Opening in the shadows (almost literally) of Dishoom in Shoreditch, it’s clear where the competition lies, but with Cinnamon Kitchen Head Chef, Abdul Yaseen, branching out on his own and at the helm, Darbaar is in safe hands.
The food comes thick and fast, with a view to catering for the lunchtime service of nearby hungry bankers and brokers. Looking (and smelling) on as the food was cooked up in clay-fired ovens in the open kitchen, we were treated to a selection of sharing dishes, all bursting with flavour.
Our shrimp cocktail with coconut appetisers were hastily followed with a platter of tandoori salmon tikka, lamb seekh kebab and a personal favourite of shahi paneer. Alongside the starters we enjoyed a wood-fired Nanza, an Indian-styled naan-cum-pizza packing plenty of spice!
The show-stopper was the seasonally-changing Royal Pot (this time was tangri ala chicken), delivered with a bit of theatre inside a giant pot on skewers.
Think that’s enough? Never. Next up came the Royal Bengal style Madagascan prawn, followed by the best-tasting dish of the lot, a melt-in-your-mouth helping of butter chicken. There was still room for pudding, as we sampled a delicate carrot cake with an Indian twist.
Everything was washed down courtesy of selections from an extensive cocktail (we were treated to a dazzlingly blue Darbaar Royal on arrival) and wine list, carefully chosen to bring an already flavoursome menu to life.
No expense has been spared on creating a clinical fine dining experience in this little corner of Shoreditch, with rich textiles and grandiose light fixtures decorating the huge space (220 covers, no less).
But this combined with the short walk from Broadgate Circle somehow makes Darbaar feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Liverpool Street (and Dishoom, for that matter). As we sat down in the early evening and talk of the weekend’s football fixtures reverberated around the restaurant, we couldn’t help think we’d have been bit more excited by a daytime sitting.
That being said, the service was impeccable, and the food outstanding! In creating an experience reminiscent of the Indian Royal Courts, Darbaar treated us like kings, delivering the perfect venue for a awesome lunchtime feast!
We The Food Snobs x