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A smart Fitzrovia spot serving Uzbek food and vodka. Lots of vodka.
For centuries, goods, ideas and food moved between cultures along the epic Eurasian trade route called the Silk Road, and the city of Samarkand was at the centre of it all – despite the marauding Mongols. But the only hordes in this underground restaurant that’s inherited its name are tie-less professionals tucking into upscale Uzbek dishes and an almost scarily extensive vodka list.
Uzbek food isn’t as challenging as you might think: many dishes are relatives of Middle Eastern and Asian favourites. Samarkand’s signature is plov, a pilau-style dish accompanied by vegetables, quail’s eggs, pomegranate seeds and a generous hunk of beef short rib. The slow-cooked meat was delicious and tender enough to split with a spoon; the rest was nice enough. A starter of flaky, pumpkin-filled somsa pastries was comforting but, as my dinner date put it, ‘a bit Greggs’. In fact, with its enjoyable (if slightly bland) food, tasteful tiled decor and decent-but-MOR cocktail list, Samarkand is playing it a bit safe. But maybe that’s to be expected of a place that was once razed by Genghis Khan.
33 Charlotte Street (Rathbone Street)
|Transport:||Tube: Goodge St|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £100.|
|Do you own this business?|