With critically acclaimed Chef Abdul Yaseen at the helm I knew I would be in safe hands, as after spending over a decade spent at the iconic Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Kitchen, he has launched his first solo project in the form of Darbaar. I love the slick yet exotic feel to the venue as soon as I arrive which has a sharing dining experience layout, inspired by the banquets of the Indian Royal Court. The main dining area also boasts an open kitchen, providing a clear view of all the hustle and bustle of the food being created.
The service was friendly and very helpful and accommodating to our requirements with spice levels etc but they didn’t cross the line of being over-bearing in their approach. For an Indian restaurant they have a fabulous cocktail menu with a few spicy curveballs thrown in to keep in line with the cuisine.
Food wise things began swimmingly with the hariyali spiced potato & date samosa chaat which came encased in a beautiful, buttery pastry, the date gave it a great texture and a touch of sweetness. Dishes came out steady and fast as we worked through a set menu with standout dishes like sufiyani lamb seekh kebab which was succulent and aromatic, and the paneer bhurji with smoked chilli and oven dried tomato that had a touch of spice to keep things interesting without being over-powering, that being said the dhal curry was just over the line of spice for my taste. A seasonal fruit medley was an interesting choice as the fruit has been cooked slightly with Indian flavours; I actually really enjoyed the pineapple as its juices had soaked up the spices while the apple tasted too close to an actual apple for me to enjoy its relevance on the plate.
Suitably stuffed we had a brief reprise before being served our final dish of spiced carrot cake; a bitesize portion of carrot cake topped with a smidge of cream and caramelised fig – a blob of ice cream would have served well.
All in all Darbaar is a great catch although a little hidden out of the way, it’s not a long walk from London Liverpool Street. They have a bar section ideal for post-work drinks and a private event space for bigger events. Also most importantly they have Japanese toilets with heated seats and all sorts of buttons offering massages and other daring pampers.