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A flawless neighbourhood restaurant serving up North Indian specialities with plenty of panache.
Bringing North India’s roadside café culture to a crossroads in Maida Vale, Dhaba@49 is everything you’d want from a local restaurant: friendly service, keen prices and bang-on deliciousness. There are Dishoom-style inflections to the interiors (geometric tiles, vintage Indian prints, tiffin tableware etc.), but sweet little touches like velvet blue seating or the disco playlist keep it feeling unpretentious.
Dhaba@49 prides itself on its chaat – the crispy-tangy-spicy snacks typically served in dhabas, or roadside restaurants. The samosa chaat featured plump, crisp triangles snuggled into a sauce of earthy, cumin chickpeas, drizzled with bright green mint dressing, sticky tamarind and stark white yoghurt. The finishing rainbow flourish of pomegranate seeds and purple micro-herbs lifted the flavour and gave this traditional Punjabi snack a dash of elegance.
Dishes either fell into that kind of more-is-more, carnivalesque approach to flavour and colour, or were confidently simple. Like the striking methi makai masala; a silky, bright green spinach curry studded with juicy corn kernels, which looked straightforward but had subtle undertones of fresh fenugreek. Fish curries are so often overcooked, but the white fish in their Goan seafood moilee succumbed to the golden turmeric, mustard seed and coconut sauce at the touch of the fork. Our only complaint was that there wasn’t more of it.
In fact, pretty much every dish was flawless: fluffy pilau rice, buttery layered lachha paratha, even the deep-fried spinach leaves were executed with pitch-perfect precision. It might be modelled on roadside food, but this is one restaurant that’s seriously worth travelling for.
49 Chippenham Rd
|Transport:||Tube: Westbourne Park|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: £65.|
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