Delightful Contemporary Indian Food at Colonel Saab

Monday 15th Apr 2024 |

London is renowned for its Indian food and is home to over 8,000 such establishments. The first Indian restaurant is said to have opened in London in 1810 and the floodgates opened, so we’re very spoilt for choice in the capital.

These restaurants cross all price ranges, from takeaways to Michelin-starred setups. And now there’s somewhere new and fabulous adding to London’s rich Indian tapestry.

Colonel Saab

Colonel Saab, just off Trafalgar Square is the second venture of Roop Partap Choudhary (his stunning first restaurant of the same name is on the edge of Covent Garden). This stylish restaurant is inspired by the travel stories of his parents Colonel Manbeer and Mrs. Binny Choudhary (Colonel Saab and Memsaab).

It’s even named for his Dad who was an Indian army officer. The restaurants serve as a tribute to his
family and a physical representation of their journey and the many beauties of India, both physical and culinary.

Colonel Saab

The large restaurant is adorned with eclectic Indian art and artifacts collected by the family on their extensive travels. There are pictures and carpets, family memorabilia, doors, and clocks all carefully chosen and skillfully displayed. And the opulent main dining room is illuminated by a canopy of ornate chandeliers from Firozabad. It’s quite literally dazzling.

As is the menu – seriously my mouth started watering as soon as I started reading. Always a good sign. There’s a lot to ponder with a wide range of both meat and vegetarian options. We started with some of their poppadoms and chutney to help us focus on the serious business of ordering. Three different types of poppadoms arrive – delicate, flavoursome and beautifully light and crispy – served with two zingy
chutneys – pineapple and tomato. And accompanied by one of my favourite cocktails ever – a spicy gunpowder margarita. The perfect start.

Colonel Saab

For our appetisers we chose the prawn chimichurri – grilled, spiced black tiger prawns served with a chimichurri sauce and chaat masala. An impressive balance of spices complemented the sweetness of the prawns perfectly and finished with a good chili hit.

There’s a Chaat Bar selection where our next choice came from. Chaat is a savoury snack typically served as hors d’oeuvre (my favourite French phrase), or from food carts across India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The Purana dilli is a mini samosa filled with masala chickpeas and served with crispy sev (noodles), a yogurt sauce, tamarind and chutney. It’s impossible to describe how all of this combines to produce the tastiest of snacks ever. Chaats have to be tasted to be understood. Just do it!

Colonel Saab

For mains, I couldn’t resist the beef pepper fry – a typical Keralan-style dish cooked with coconut and Thellicherry black pepper. The melt-in-the-mouth beef is packed with flavour and spices and served with flaky, layered, buttery parantha bread.

Possibly the best bread I’ve ever eaten. A simply heavenly dish.

We also ordered the Sunday lamb curry with basmati rice. A rich and luscious sauce with tender morsels of lambs and more perfectly balanced spices. A bowl of soft and hot cumin potatoes completed the meal. And what a meal.

Colonel Saab is one of those places where you can feel the love that has been lavished on its creation. From the intricacy of the design and decor to the attention to detail and of course that unforgettable food. London’s Indian food scene just gets better and better.

Words by Sandy Cadiz-Smith

A splendid stay in York with Hotel Indigo