Restaurant Review: Daawat at the Strand Palace Hotel, London
It’s always nice to catch up with the lovely @TomReader. Not only is he, ahem, rather handsome…, but he is also a talented filmmaker (check out some of his films here) and a bit of an adventurer, so unlike most boys that look like this or this…. he’s actually got good chat.
Now that we’ve got the perving out the way…
We hadn’t seen each other for a while so decided to meet for some supper in town, and with the weather in London having been so dire of late, I suggested we go for a curry.
I don’t often go for curries. There’s no particular reason why not, I just have to be in the mood. As it happened, this night I was. I’d heard that the brassiere at the Strand Palace Hotel had recently re-launched as Daawat, an Indian restaurant, and that the Head Chef, Krishna Shankar specialised in authentic Indian street food having picked up a wealth of tricks from cooking throughout India. It all sounded good and being bang in the middle of town was super convenient so we headed down.
We were sat down by a charming waiter who brought me over a Cobra, which is proper Indian beer (!) and Tom a Peroni (wimp) before talking us through the menu. He made some suggestions of the chef’s signature dishes and we decided to go with his recommendations.
Before long our food began to arrive. To start with, we shared a methi margh kebab which is a classic chicken tikka, some salmon marinated in mint, coriander and chilli, and tandoori prawns marinated in traditional indian spices. All of the dishes arrived on slate tiles with handy lemon squeezers on the side and were cooked exceptionally well. All of the meat was juicy and not too spicy so that you didn’t lose any of the flavours. The prawns were a particular favourite of mine dunked in a cool minty sauce, but if you read this website often, you know I can never turn down prawns…ever!
Next up, Tom had gone for the tandoor chicken simmered in cardamom flavoured tomato, cashew nut and cream sauce with a side of saffron rice and some chilli cheese naan to mop up the sauce with. I went for the traditional lamb biryani which came in a sort of pie crust and was unveiled in front of me which added a bit of theatre. Again, both our mains were hearty, tasty and beautifully cooked.
The only major fault I have with this place is that the atmosphere is not quite right. It may because the changeover from the brassiere was fairly recent so they are still trying to find their vibe, but in my opinion, it was trying to be more formal than it needed to be which took away a bit of the fun and left us not entirely relaxed. The lights could have been dimmer and the white tablecloths were a bit out of place.
Having said that, we laughed a lot (apologies to anyone else having a quiet dinner that night), had great food, and it’s good value for what you get. Would I go back here for a date…? Probably not. But if I was in the mood for some quick, wholesome, Indian food before a heading out to a show in town, I would definitely consider their pre-theatre menu which is a total bargain at 3 courses for £17!!
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