A couple weeks ago we went for dinner at Darbaar, an indian restaurant that Amen found. He had a list of a few other restaurants but after I looked at the menu, Darbaar was the winner. The restaurant is owned by award winning chef Abdul Yaseen, who also featured on Celebrity Masterchef. It is located in the city, between Liverpool Street and Shoreditch. We walked from Liverpool street station and being a Friday evening we walked through all the city workers out for drinks.
When we arrive at Darbaar, my first thought was the restaurant looks pretty and fancy, which followed through inside. We are greeted by the hostess who was talking to owner and exec chef Abdul. She checks us in, takes our coats, and leads us to our table. The restaurant was fairly empty at 6:30pm (but it had just opened for dinner). There was a family already seated, and another group of friends. Soon as we were seated, our friendly waiter hands us the drinks and food menu.
The restaurants décor is modern, not too dark and very spacious. Darbaar has a big open kitchen – tandoor clay oven and a robata grill, which is used to cook most of the dishes. Our table had a good view of the kitchen, so we were able to see all the magic happen. After about five minutes with the menu, our waiter comes over to take our order.
I ordered the Haryali Date and Samosa chat, Wood fried nanza (chicken), Kasturi free range butter chicken curry with steamed rice, Tandoori bread and a Cucumber and mint raita. Amen orders Spiced calamari fritters, Stir fired shrimps, Murgh malai kebab with a basil, beetroot raita and the Mewari oven baked leg of rabbit with chilli and corn sauce. We also had the papadoms and chutneys to snack on. For drinks I had the passion in fashion mocktail, which was better than my favourite virgin mojito, and Amen had his still water with lemon and ice – that’s his new favourite thing *rolls eyes *.
What did we think of the food? Simply amazing. For me, I would say it’s the best Indian restaurant we have been too. For Amen, he still wants to give Gymkhana another go before he agrees with me lol 😝. I think Gymkhana is good, but limited and not as authentic as Darbaar (read about Gymkhana).
Lets talk about the dishes individually. The haryali date and samosa chat was one of my favourites, it was perfectly spiced and I loved it even more because it had pieces of samosas, Amen loved it too. The wood fried nanza with chicken (there is a paneer option too), was essentially an Indian pizza, very tasty on soft fresh bread and was quite spicy, Amen also loved it – yes, the gym freak eats all my food as well as his own lol. Butter chicken curry is my favourite indian curry and Darbaar does it so perfectly that I was slightly annoyed I couldn’t finish it all. The chicken was tender and the curry was not too spicy or sweet, it had the perfect balance.
The spiced calamari fritters we shared because I now happily eat fried squid 😀 YAY! They looked like onion rings but tasted delicious. Amen left it all to me, since he did eat my starters and he loves that I’m eating fish. The shrimp was all for Amen, and he enjoyed it because it was spiced well.
The murgh malai was diced spiced chicken thighs; for me it was a little dry, but Amen loved it with the basil and beetroot raita. Amen thought the leg of rabbit was tasty and had a good flavour to it, but tasted like chicken just not as tender. Also, he adds that it could’ve done with a little more heat, because it was mild to moderate. The fresh breads are always amazing and we both love it when it’s cooked in the tandoor oven, that’s the only way to get Amen to eat bread.
Overall, the restaurant had a modern and indian twist to it, which worked really well with the open kitchen. The waiters at Darbaar are all so friendly, attentive and very informative about the dishes. Also, they don’t try and sell you on the most expensive dish, which is always a plus. The food is delicious, with very good portions, and you wont be left with a pricey bill. If you’re after tasty, authentic Indian food with a royal touch then Darbaar is the place. The only downside to Darbaar is the odd location, as it’s tucked away from all the other restaurants that we had passed on our way there. We would highly recommend Darbaar for all types of dining experiences. Just to add, the restaurant did pick up quickly after 7pm and by the time we left around 8:30pm it was definitely busy.
Dress Code: Smart casual
Amen Star Dish:
Shiima’s Star Dish: Haryali Date and Samosa chat and Spiced calamari fritters
Price: £55 each (based on this meal as we ordered a lot)
Rating: 4.7 out of 5