Last week hubster and me were invited for a preview of the new menu launch at Bengal Quay. So after work on a Monday evening we both made our way from different parts of the city to the beautiful docklands area. I had never been on the DLR before and as I saw the beautiful landscape unfold it put into a very dreamy mood, something to do with the tall buildings and the water reminded me of the amazing south Mumbai roads, glitzy five star hotels and a gorgeous coast line. I could almost feel the salty sea breeze on my face.
Situated within walking distance from South Quay station this Indian – Pakistani restaurant has a fabulous new menu, as we were about to find out.
I was delighted to finally meet Asma Khan who runs the popular supper club called Darjeeling Express and also the lovely Lisa who writes guest posts for my Fiona’s blog London Unattached.
It was chilly evening so I stuck to my trusty drink of cognac with warm water – Remy Martin this time and hubster too stuck to the same, the other guests enjoyed good red and white wines while the others tripped on tall glasses of Mango Lassi.
The starters were a selection of seafood which made hubster and me very happy as you my readers know well by now about our seafood obsession! We loved the Salmon Sooa which was Scottish salmon flavoured just right and wrapped snuggly in a little portion of banana leaf, it was melt-in-your mouth soft and I would go back just for this and of course the Lamb Nihari – Slow Cooked Lamb Shank in Pakistani Nihari Curry with Onions and Lemon – though opinions over which was the best dish at the table were a bit divided between hubster and me who went nuts over the Venison and Afghani chicken – humm.
The use of cute wooden clips to secure the banana leaf, the stainless steel lemon squeezer and that tangy tamarind chutney made me feel so very much at home.
The other starters were Imli Scallops – a very different approach to spicing up scallops with Indian spices and Tandoori Monkfish which was just the right kind of flaky and went down a treat – thumbs up from both OH and me.
The mini seabass fillets served with tangy crispies were served with a bhel like mixture in cute cones – which are always welcome for chaat fans like hubster and me and we really liked the seabass – but clearly this not the case with the rest of the table who had mixed reactions. This unusual combination seemed to work for us and was presented very nicely too.
The mains arrived and suddenly there was no navigation space on the table and we were very- very spoilt for choice.
I mopped up with buttery garlic naan the delicious Diced venison in red wine and mushroom curry – which disappeared fast from the serving dish and as a majority vote it became the star dish of the evening. The special fried rice was great on it’s own while the pulav rice was great with the lamb shanks. The lamb nihari gravy was fabulous and the meat was cooked to fall-off-bone perfection , for all meat fans out there – this dish is something that you must not miss! Game is not easy to pair with spices and serving it up in a curry form with mushrooms seems to be a winning combination – Asma too was very intrigued and happy with this dish in particular.
Neither hubster nor me are fans of sweet or creamy gravy but the Afghani chicken was fantastic, the mild curry flavoured with saffron and cream and the delicious soft chicken was just too good to resist – the chef did something very right with this dish folks.
The tarka dal was comforting and done to expected standards, which is always a good sign in any authentic Indian/Pakistani restaurant.
Expectedly we were stuffed to the gills and the prospect of consuming a selection of desserts seemed impossible. But that was only until the dessert plates arrived at the table of course 😉
The Indian in me was very happy with not one but two mango desserts to gobble – though the mango sorbet was definitely my favourite. Chocolate brownie came with a very unusual companion – a moreish passion fruit sauce which complimented the gooey chocolate taste very nicely. Again a winning combination.
Nestled in the by lanes of London’s business hub and a stones throw away from Canary Wharf this is a place I would recommend you visit and do not miss the Lamb Nihari, Afghani Chicken and the passion fruit sauce and brownie and if you can allow yourself the guilty pleasure the mango sorbet too. But if you cannot visit anytime soon and spend time then you MUST take away the Venison curry to mop up with plain pulavAND some garlic naan!
It’s after such a meal that I forget that I am in London and walk out with a wide grin on my face half expecting to see a Bombay black cab whiz past, I feel I will be passing by my favourite Bombay sights and take in the familiar sounds and the magic of my darling city … until I actually step out into the biting cold and the cold breeze envelopes – but then in so many strange ways I find even this comforting as we stroll into the quiet night air, the sense of intense activity behind the deceptively quite larger than life glass mammoth buildings of Canary Wharf is obvious to the those who care to observe and the bright Christmas lights can’t help make me feel warm and fuzzy inside – a feeling I could get used to very easily.
*With thanks to Humayun Hussain and Bengal Quay for the invite. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review .All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.