Darbaar 22

1 Snowden Street , London, EC2A 2DQ

020 7422 4100

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SquareMeal Review of Darbaar

“Supremely comfortable and slickly designed”, this debut from Abdul Yaseen (ex-The Cinnamon Club) is a satisfying amalgam of east and west, with bags of “boutique polish” to boot. Inside, Darbaar resembles a contemporary Indian palace complete with gold chandeliers, splashes of midnight blue, copper tones and silver elephant heads adorning the walls – although the opulence is offset by an open kitchen with a wood-fired oven used for cooking the signature ‘nanza’ (pizza naans). Food-wise, everything delivers: readers rave about the free-range butter chicken and the warmly spiced baked rabbit with corn and chilli sauce, although we favour ‘Abdul’s platter’ of assorted grills and kebabs (paneer, salmon, chicken, lamb) – a “masterpiece of multi-layered flavour”. Elsewhere, the rich dhal boasts “formidable intensity”, while dessert might bring halwa (spiced carrot cake) with lemon figs. With an international drinks list, private dining and a chef’s table, Darbaar feels like a winner – although a few more customers would bump up its atmosphere.

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9.2

Food & Drink: 9.7

Service: 9.2

Atmosphere: 7.3

Value: 9.0

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

TomTom gold reviewer 24 July 2016

This supremely comfortable and slickly designed Snowden Street restaurant has so much on offer and its boutiquish polish suggests the operators have been honing their craft for years. In fact Abdul Yasseen and his wife are cutting their teeth on their first restaurant here and once foodies wake up to what’s on offer here, they’ll surely be visiting from far and wide. A great bar and a couple of equally impressive private rooms, not to mention a very grown-up reception area (a rare thing in the world of restaurants) all set the tone for an establishment in no way overawed by exalted neighbours L’Anima and Galvin La Chapelle. The cooking by a chef with an infallable palate is technically consummate and deliciously flavoured. We tried the baked rabbit with corn-kernel sauce which was soft, tender and warmly spiced, while the assorted grills and kebabs (salmon, chicken and lamb and paneer) was a masterpiece of multilayered flavour. Worth trying, too, is a rich dhal boasting a formidable intensity. While the wine is not cheap the food prices are far from expensive and the whole experience was a real treat.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 5.0

Amjad G. bronze reviewer 04 May 2016

After reading some of the reviews that mentioned the scarcity of other diners, my colleague and I had a very similar experience! We booked for 12:30PM but ended up a few minutes earlier to an absolutely, empty restaurant. The place itself is very nice with a welcoming atmosphere but we remained the only diners...until we left an hour later while a largish group was entering. The food is delicious!! The sharing option (6 courses) was more than enough for two people and we even ended up taking a doggie bag full of scrumptious leftovers. The starters were just the right size and the kebab was mouth-wateringly tasty. The chicken pakora didn't stand a chance but the tangy, spicy date/pomegranate tart was very nice. The mains of Tilapia, Hunters Chicken Curry and an Aubergine Curry were outstanding! Would definitely go back for the food. The question remains as to why aren't more people eating and enjoying this delicious food. Perhaps the hidden-away location at the back of an office building (the front is home to L'Anima) has something to do with it but I'm convinced that some good PR work would result in many more diners enjoying the authentic and wonderful food being put out at Darbar.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Sarah G. gold reviewer 26 April 2016

The restaurant is lovely serving Indian fusion-style food from a tradition butter chicken to Indian spiced fish and chips. Food was fantastic and the service was very good. We had a bottle of Picpoul which was delicisous. My only concern for the place was that with exception to 2 other people, we were the only ones in there and the restaurant is huge so felt very empty and as a result lacked atmosphere. Not their fault. It could be to do with its location as in an unusual spot and a bit hidden away.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

jennifer b. 12 April 2016

A little too quiet on a Monday lunchtime but that was the only negative. The food was truly superb from start to finish. Particular highlights include Abdul's platter to start, the Black Lentils and Cumin Potatoes as sides, the Goat Biryani, Baby Aubergine and Sea Bass with Shrimp and Coconut Sambal for mains. Service was fantastic, you didn't want for anything but didn't notice they were there. Will be a regular for client entertaining.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Ian G. 27 November 2015

I have eaten at Darbaar three times now since it opened recently, both at lunchtime and in the evenings. The quality of the food is first rate and cannot be faulted. The starters are modest in size but rich in flavour. The tandoori bread basket is delicious and is a must. The variety of main dishes is excellent and the portion size just right. My favourites include the lamb keema boti salli which is spicy and full of flavour, the chicken byriani and the selection of kebabs. Abdul is a superb chef and this new venture deserves to succeed. The staff are excellent and attentive. Darbaar provides what the City needs - a high quality Indian restaurant with the additional attractions of private dining and a Chef's table.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Natasha E. 12 November 2015

We were lucky to have dined at Darbaar during the opening week and had the pleasure of meeting Mr Abdul Yaseen - the owner and award winning chef. The food was delicious. The Darbaar experience is to share the courses, so we ordered the Menu Daawat at £35 a head. Wow! Every dish was special. It is most definitely not your standard Indian restaurant. Mr Yaseen explained that it had taken 14 months to design the restaurant, and the results are stunning. It was an amazing dining experience, and we are looking forward to returning to Darbaar in the future.

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Darbaar can accommodate any function, whether private dining or a cocktail party, with a private area, seating up to 20 and chef’s table for up to 12 people.
Chefs Table
Capacity: 12
Private Dining Room
Capacity: 20

Darbaar is included in the following SquareMeal lists