On Saturday evening, The Handbook made a trip South of the river to review Est. India, a newly opened Indian restaurant in Southwark.
The décor was fairly standard: minimal and neutral, but modern and clean. When we arrived at 7pm, the restaurant was pretty empty, although it had filled up quite a lot by the time we left. We were seated at a comfortable booth table. To drink, we ordered my favourite, mango lassi, and it didn’t disappoint: deliciously sweet but not overwhelming – the perfect accompaniment to a spicy meal.
The menu is extensive, and it took us a while to choose what to eat. In the end, we decided on a selection of starters, small plates and main courses, all to arrive at the same time so we could sample as much as possible! Est. India’s speciality dish is dosa, a filled rice and lentil crepe, so we ordered one of those, as well as poppadums, vegetable samosas, makai aloo tikki, tandoori broccoli, chicken korma badami, bhindi masala, and of course, pilau rice and garlic and coriander naan bread. Over all, the food was really tasty – it definitely isn’t your typical Indian restaurant food in that many of the favourites are missed off the menu, and there were lots of things on there that I had never encountered before. We were a little bit disappointed by the dosa as we found it quite bit bland, but everything else was flavoursome and very satisfying.
For dessert, we tried the gajjar halwa, an Indian carrot cake, and the kheer which is Indian rice pudding. The rice pudding was delicious – really homely and comforting, with wonderful aromatic spices – but we were a bit underwhelmed by the carrot cake, which was very sweet and sticky.
Overall, we did enjoy our meal at Est. India and would recommend you give it a try if you live in the Southwark area, but we were a little disappointed in the speed of service, and the staff weren’t very helpful in explaining dishes and so on – I would recommend looking the menu up before you go so that you can find out what certain dishes are. So there are definitely a few things about the restaurant that could be improved, but for a recently opened restaurant Est. India scores fairly high.