Samarkand

33 Charlotte Street , London, W1T 1RR

  • Samarkand restaurant Bloomsbury London
  • Samarkand restaurant Bloomsbury London
  • Samarkand restaurant Bloomsbury London
  • Samarkand restaurant Bloomsbury London
  • Samarkand restaurant Bloomsbury London
  • Samarkand restaurant Bloomsbury London

SquareMeal Review of Samarkand

Uzbekistan has yet to make its culinary presence felt in London, but Samarkand is planning to change that. This arrestingly stylish new basement restaurant hopes to evoke the Silk Road: the trade routes that ran from Europe to the East until the Middle Ages. Much thought has gone into the design, right down to gold-plated lion door knockers in the loos, though the congenial atmosphere isn’t helped by a cheesy, clubbing soundtrack. The menu lists various Middle Eastern-style shashlik grills, hearty eastern European soup, dumplings and even the odd noodle dish. We began with beef and lamb pastry parcels: herby and well-spiced, if quite stodgy. Next, a starter of delicately presented smoked eel had a dense, meaty flavour that contrasted well with accompanying baby beets and soft-boiled quails’ eggs. However, things became rather shaky for main course. Truffle potatoes were wonderfully rich, but pan-fried marinated baby chicken was overpowered by lemon. Staff were friendly throughout, happy to offer recommendations from the menu and the impressive drinks list. Alongside a few French wines, the separate mezzanine bar stocks over 40 vodkas. But overall, prices are high, and although the setting and atmosphere match this ambition, the food needs to follow suit. 

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6.0

Food & Drink: 5.5

Service: 8.0

Atmosphere: 7.5

Value: 4.0

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 1.0

maryam b. 01 September 2016

Very well interior designed. Expected food to be a lot more refined given the setting and price... good cocktails and service

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Vi V. gold reviewer 24 August 2016

Samarkand, Fitzrovia – NEW means so much with Samarkand. It a new restaurant, a new cuisine to London and to myself. I always love looking out for new flavours, so when Samarkand came to London a few foodie friends and I put a date in our diaries for this exciting night. Samarkand serves Uzbekistan food and all I knew about the cuisine was getting the right spelling on paper. The colours of Samarkand, blue and gold (a combination I adore), suggest a lot of class. And the place looks dashing. I would love to dress up when I go out to such a restaurant, but at the same time you can be as casual as you like. I went in my normal attire of shirt and jeans. Decorative lights, cushioned chairs, spacious tables, brass wash basin and hand towels are the little things that seemed fuddy-duddy, but come together collectively and ooze elegance. It is expensive and the price is reflected in the menu. The menu is not your usual starters, mains and desserts. It portrays itself more like a tasting menu of different small plates. The predominant meats are beef and lamb. Except for their national dish, plov, there is a vegetarian option to the different categories. I would say that if you are a big fan of vodka, then you would be spoilt for choices here. It is not just the different brands but the different vegetables and grains listed were quite impressive. It did not take long to decide what to order because we wanted to taste everything so we did nearly order the whole menu. Food was generally good but nothing great. Portions were minute. The Samarkand's slogan of “gastronomy of silk road” sounds more interesting than the flavours that was served. It did not ruffle much feathers. A slight let down but perhaps I went in with a higher expectation? I am not sure if I entirely like the food. With my background, I felt like this was similar to the Northern Chinese cuisine. It was certainly a high end pricing but the presentation of dishes did not reflect. Most of the cost would gone to the uniforms for the waitress or that constantly gleaming brass basin in the toilet. I love dining in style but I almost felt like a dupe when the sashlik was served. Service was charming. I would think that Samarkand would be much better off with a tasting menu and they can also go premium with a wine pairing, or with that impressive vodka menu.

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