They say you can’t see tears in the rain which is all the more fitting as I sob away my lost summer that has been stolen from me in the form of bad weather. Glorious picnics in the sun and rooftop yoga dreams have been dashed but all is not lost as there are still plenty of fun things to do indoors. Comfort eating namely, and what else better to banish the blues than with a good curry?
The Strand Palace, amongst its multiple restaurant and bars, is the proud home to Dawaat, a delightful Indian restaurant. Whilst Martin Lynch is the Head Chef overlooking all food activity, Asharaff Valappil is the Indian Sous Chef who brings his cuisine knowledge directly from India, ensuring true authenticity.
You can’t really go wrong with a menu like this where everything that is brought out leaves you wanting more, shining starters include Paneer Tikka (Indian fresh cheese marinated in tandoori spices) and Papri Chat (tangy, hot and sweet flavours mixed into chickpeas and potatoes topped on crunchy wafers). Over on the mains the Navratan Korma, a favourite dish of mine and the option I usually go for at an Indian, was given a slight twist with the addition of creamed cashews in the sauce – a welcome ingredient as I am all on board for anything that makes food creamier. Non-vegetarians can opt for dishes like Chicken Jalfrezi or Goan Prawn Curry.
Sides don’t normally get much of a write up but I would be doing a disservice to hungry Handbook readers if I didn’t give rightful praise to the Peshwari Naan, a traditional Indian flatbread (more chapatti than naan) with coconut inside as a filling. It was slightly sweet but not out of place at the dinner table, it reminded me of a pancake and is definitely one not to miss. Another worthy side is the Yellow Dal Tadka, a lovely creamy lentil dish with undertones of garlic.
Another favourite dish of mine and an absolute must have when I see it on the menu is Gulab Jamn – Indian doughnuts! Just slightly too big to be bite-size, they come drenched in a mouth-watering syrup with ice cream and are little mouthfuls of heaven. Other options on the dessert menu include Cheesecake and Mango Kulfi.
Dawaat is soon to begin a refurbishment, to give it a more fun, colourful feel but I am pleased I got to see it as it is now as it means I have an excuse to come back. I had to be rolled out of the restaurant and left to my own devices to waddle down to Charing Cross station after my intense gorging session but it was definitely worth it and I can’t wait to do it again.