Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Samarqand [Restaurant Review]

Samarqand Central Asian Restaurant & Bar 
18 Thayer Street London, W1U 3JY
Meal for two, including wine, approx £100.

Finding the restaurant proved a little tricky, even for seasoned Londoners. However it's well worth schlepping up Mandeville Place to find Thayer Street and this Eastern European/Oriental fusion basement restaurant. It takes it's name, I'm guessing, from the second largest city in Uzbekistan, and the capital of the province of Samarqand.
The decor is modern and slick, with touches of traditional patterns, and a horse. Yes, a horse. In the centre of the dining room, stands a life-sized Mooi horse lamp, overlooking the diners as they chat, laugh, and eat their beef. We were seated in the cushion-lined alcove, with a large screen showing ice hockey, a match attended by Mr Putin. This screen was later pulled up to reveal a DJ playing loud dance music.

To begin we ordered Hereti, a Georgian dry white wine, which tasted much like Sauvignon Blanc. 
 The food was billed as wonderful, exotic, with succulent flavours, and enticing spices. To be fair, the dishes on offer, whilst unpronouncable in some cases, seemed to be borrowed from neighbours, the manty dumplings were much like Polish pierogis, and the shashlik was very familiar to my German friends, as was the borsht, and the plov, whilst easily the tastiest dish sampled, was reminiscent of pilau rice.

 We took some photos, enjoyed each other's company, heard some Eastern European and Russian accents, and in the end, sampled some traditional neat vodkas to finish. 


Starters:

Zabon Salad


Zabon Salad

Ox tongue salad with cucumber, water cress and dill dressed with lemon and olive oil dressing
If you can get over the 'tongue' thing, this is a tender flavoursome dish.

Borsht

Borsht

Traditional Russian and Ukrainian beetroot soup, with veal and vegetables served with sour cream
Colourful.


Khachapuri

Khachapuri (V)

Flat bread filled with cheese.
Filling.





Mains:


Almaty Plov
A traditional Central Asian rice dish cooked with succulent lamb,
three types of raisins, chickpeas and berberis served with Asian
tomato salad.
Spicy and full of flavour.
















Chicken Shashlik
Marinated diced chicken grilled on the charcoal.
Lightly flavoured, and safe.











Manty
Steamed large lamb dumplings with Central Asian herbs.
A little slimy, the Astana  Manty with pumpking and chives had more
depth and flavour.





































Desserts:

Napolean Cake
Light crisp cake made with layered pastry and cream.
For me, the best dessert of the evening.



Honey Cake
Sweet thin layers of  cake soaked in honey and nuts.
Although recommended by the waitress, this cake was quite
dry and stale, with no evidence of honey or nuts.

Ice Cream
Pretty.





Fruit Platter
Huge.

Photos of starters taken from Samarqand website.
Other photos by Shani Jay.
Square Meal SamarQand Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon