Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Fit for a Queen: Darbaar

Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of Darbaar, a new Indian Restaurant in the heart of the city aiming to give you the royal experience. Darbaar's is the brainchild of Abdul Yaseen, who was part of the founding team of the Cinnamon Club and went on to become head chef of the well renowned Cinnamon Kitchen. However, now it seems he has branched out on his own to create another pretty spectacular dining experience. The whole concept is based around the idea of food you can share and is inspired by the decadence of Royal Indian Court banquets. Understandably then, my sister and I were rather excited as we walked up the red carpet (past a rather fetching elephant) and into the restaurant for the first time.

We were greeted by sunset cocktails and trays of canapés which, in anyone's books, can never be a bad thing. Lu and I, never to be shy around food, dug straight in and went to explore the (rather large) restaurant. The decor was sleek but beautiful - we both especially loved the dramatic light fittings over head!

In the main restaurant area, there was a long bar from which you could see straight into the kitchen which included an open clay oven! I loved being able to watch the chefs dash around preparing the dishes. However, as you'd expect, the real stars of the show were the platters of treats circulating around.

 Now, I am by no means an expert when it comes to Indian food, so I have to admit I was not exactly 100% sure what I was putting into my mouth, but to quote one of the few remaining memories of English GCSE, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". The food was delicious, who cares what it was called?!

 After having eaten perhaps slightly more than our fair share of canapés (including some deliciously creamy prawn cups, sizzling lamb and delicate pastry filled...things) we realised we had made a near fatal mistake. Main courses were coming out and we were running out of room.

Around came pretty little silver buckets filled with rice and delicious curries, along with a variety of other dishes. If Abdul aimed to create food to share, on one hand he definitely managed it ("Lu, try this, it's amazing!) but on the other he had failed miserably ("No, get your own, this is ALL MINE!").

 We were also lucky enough to meet Abdul Yaseen himself. Even better, he came armed with a tray of flavorsome carrot cakes! My sister and I waxed lyrical at him about his food while he laughed at our enthusiasm for the Indian deserts. Lulu and I had a wonderful evening at Darbaar. The food was excellent and the cocktails good fun (did I mention there were bursting blue bubbles hidden at the bottom of one?!). All I can say is that I'm excited to return!

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