Darbaar Restaurant

Restaurants, Indian Shoreditch
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
24 Love It
Save it
Darbaar Restaurant

An Indian restaurant from a former head chef at the Cinnamon Club.

It sounds like somewhere you’d go if you were already very drunk. ‘Lesshhh go to… da… baar…. ’ And, actually, the front bar of this City Indian isn’t a bad little spot: on our visit, the drinks – mixed by the charming GM, a one-time bartender who happened to be helping out – were excellent. The plush stools were comfy. If it had been a tad busier, it would have been quite fun.

The restaurant, however, is more of a mixed bag. The high-ceilinged, minimalist space – all dark tiles and sleek wood – is entirely devoid of character. It’s the dining room equivalent of someone who’s had too much botox. Yet staff could not have been more attentive, with owner and exec chef Abdul Yasseen (previously head chef at Cinnamon Kitchen) taking time out to chat to his few diners and generally press the flesh. We wish he’d spent more time in the kitchen, though: the cooking might have been a bit more consistent.

Our main courses were glorious: moist on-the-bone baked rabbit, with fiery corn-kernel sauce, and an exceptional goat biryani, prepared in the hyderabadi style (slow-cooked in layers in a clay pot) combining tender meat, fluffy rice and just the right level of heat. Yet starters and puds under-delivered on their lofty descriptions. Our ‘nanza’ (an Indian pizza) promised a topping of ‘paneer bhurji’ (spiced, crumbled paneer), ‘smoked chilli’ and ‘oven dried tomato’, but turned out to be a pedestrian paneer flatbread dominated by slices of semi-raw red onion. A chocolate ‘brick’ in a dessert was just a cake, and a too-dry one at that; ‘marinated winter berries’ in another a mix of plain berries. At these prices (£6.90, £7 and £6.50 respectively), you’d expect better.

But stick to big plates and bring your own fun (ie a group of friends) and you can eat well here, even – if you opt for the under-£15 daily lunchtime special – without breaking the bank. A final note: before you settle the bill, be sure to spend a penny. The loo seats are pre-heated and come with more buttons than one of Napoleon’s jackets. They connect to the bar, too, so if you do end up coming here for a drink when you’re already very drunk, you can still treat yourself to some high-tech bottom-warming.

More Less
Darbaar Restaurant says
There’s a huge open kitchen which features tandoor clay ovens and a robata grill which is key for many of the dishes. The menu features healthy grills, street tapas, spit roasts and biryani. There are also signature sharing dishes such as Nawabi slow-roasted leg of lamb and Keralan shrimp cocktail.
More Less

By: Tania Ballantine

Posted:

Venue name: Darbaar Restaurant
Address: 1 Snowden St
Broadgate West
London
EC2A 2DQ
Opening hours: Monday to Friday Lunch - 12pm to 2:45pm Monday to Saturday Dinner - 6pm to 10:45pm Bar - 3pm to 6pm
Transport: Tube: Liverpool St or Old St
Do you own this business?
To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com

You may be interested in:

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|4
1 person listening
tastemaker

Located in the Shoreditch area this is an upmarket modern Indian restaurant. The restaurant is set over a huge space of 5,500 square foot.  On entering there is a big reception area with a cosy bar area to the right, as you walk on through you come into a big restaurant area.  With high ceilings and big window, there is plenty of light and space to enjoy your meal. There is an open kitchen with stool seating at the edge, so you can watch and enjoy the chefs cooking away.  As well as smelling the delightful smells you might catch a tip or two to take back home.


Don't expect your traditional Indian dishes here, the food is all based on grilling and roasting with added spices. We went for 'Thrill of The Grill' menu, which was six courses.  There was plenty of food, each dish was beautifully presented and of a good size.  For £65 I'd say you definitely get value for money.


The tasting menu started with an appetiser of tawa hari tikki chaat a lightly spiced dish with chickpeas.  Two starters griddled scallops with prawns and mrugh malai kebab with lamb chops. I love seafood and the scallops were perfectly grilled and the lamb fragrant and soft. The middle course was tawa macchu bream in a banana leaf with a creamy cabbage on the side. The main course was epic slow roasted leg of baby lamb served with a bread basket, lentils and saag.  So many lentils I couldn't finish them to save room for dessert;  shahi kulfi with pistachio and saffron.


I would definitely recommend the tasting menu as you get to try a lot of dishes, just make sure you bring your appetite to match.

Tastemaker

If the Brick Lane curry houses set your standards for the Indian food, then coming to a place like Darbaar can be an eye opening experience. This modern Indian restaurant serves absolutely delicious food in a classy environment.


The baby aubergines with dried plums were the most tender I’ve ever tried, they just were melting in my mouth.

The king scallops were beautifully cooked in a creamy, slightly coconutty sauce.


The gigantic Madagascar prawns served on a little stove with tomato chutney were the most fiery dish of the night, but the spiciness was nicely balance with a coconut. I must say that coconut was present in most of the dishes we tried, but don’t worry if you’re not a fan, in some dished they are very subtle.


My friends also tried the goat and the rabbit and they both loved it. I don’t think there was a single we’ve tried that would not be of a great taste and quality.


If you love spicy, then you probably will also love their mango ginger and chilli daiquiri. My friend found it a bit too savoury, but I think it was just the right choice to kick off the evening.


And you must visit the toilet! They have Japanese style toilets with heated seats, washing and drying options. Massage sadly didn’t work, but it’s still an experience!


A fantastic restaurant and bar in the City. Something you can't miss! I have never eaten indian food of this standard. Excellent cocktails and brilliant service too, defo I'm going to be on their regulars list.


GREAT value lunch offer here, with some stunningly good Indian food. It's in the City so it's hardly the most charming of rooms but the food is just great. Definitely worth a visit.