- Restaurant: Bukhara (Pop-Up)
- Location: Sheraton Park Tower, London
- Site: http://www.bukharalondon.com/
- Price: £80/person (set menu)
- Jelly Good Food Score: 10/10
I should start by saying that Indian food is my absolute favourite cuisine; from the blend of spices to the varying types of food that you can get. A rich, creamy, mild, saucy curry to a fiery, dry, dish of Indian cheese cooked in the tandoor with fresh vegetables – the flavours are vast and the ingredients stand out on the palate to be tasted individually and altogether. The best Indian food doesn’t blow you away with killer spice, but lets you taste all the flavours first, with the spice building up. I’m hungry just writing about it!
Bukhara in New Delhi, is a very well respected restaurant. My friend from India was amazed that they were coming to London, and advised to book a table without a shadow of a doubt. I will say that he was absolutely right, and they didn’t disappoint in any way.
The “mother restaurant: is “Situated at ITC Maurya, New Delhi, a Luxury Collection Hotel, BUKHARA is recognised as one of the world’s best Indian restaurants and a beacon of epicurean excellence that continues to attract dignitaries, celebrities and culinary savants from all corners of the globe.”
“For thirty four years, my passion has been bringing to life the unique tastes of the North West Frontier and the techniques of tandoor cuisine, inspired by the camaraderie of the campfire,” says Chef Manjit Gill. “This pop-up is an amazing opportunity to transport the tastes of BUKHARA from New Delhi to London, taking a new generation of diners on an epicurean adventure that we hope will inspire guests to visit or re-visit India soon.”
When walking in, the scene is set from the very start – from the huge Indian elephant at the entrance (a lifesize model!) to the superbly dressed staff.
You start with water, served in copper tumblers. It’s believed (and proven to a degree) that water in copper tumblers, after time, is cleaner than water in other types of container. I’m not sure what they’re trying to say about London water, but I kinda liked the attention to detail!
I don’t have many photos of the food – in fact this is pretty much the only one. The menu consisted of chicken, prawn and lamb. The best thing – it’s all eaten with your hands. Not a single knife or fork in sight. I’ve seen some describe this as gimmeky for London, but for me it just added authenticity, and that’s exactly what I want from this kind of restaurant. I don’t want anything to be dumbed down, I want it exactly as it is in India.
Saying that, I’m quite sure that the dishes were less spicy than in India. I would describe all the food as mild – some more spice would have been great. That’s not to say the food was bland – FAR from it – layers of flavour are distinct between the meats, and easily the best prawns I’ve ever eaten, cooked to perfection.
The Daal is one of the signature dished for Bukhara. Cooked for nearly 20 hours this is a dish that is absolutely bursting with flavour and smoothness topped with melted Ghee – heavenly. It was so apparent how much I liked it, that they offered me a second serving – there was no way I could turn that down.
The desert was my least favourite dish, but I’m generally not a fan of them. Given the choice, its starter & main for me! Also, byt this point I was completely stuffed – but I took one for the team, and ate the lot…
The dish on the left was hot, and the one on right cold. The waitress gave us plenty of information about the dish, and explaining that it would probably be best to eat the hot one first!
If I was forced to have any criticism, it would be on the choice of wines – not only was it a very small selection, but they all about £30 each. I think a much wider variety would have enabled them to compliment the food better.
In summary, a totally fantastic experience that I’ll remember for a long time – something that all other Indian meals out will be judged against.
Jelly Good Food Rating: 10/10 & “Jelly Hall of Fame”