Farzi Café is a phenomenon in India, with 10 restaurants across the country and one international outpost in Dubai. It’s known for its molecular gastronomy and tableside theatrics, and with its gold interiors and walls festooned with candle light, the new London Farzi certainly looks the destination-dining part.
One quirk is that cocktails are based on star signs, although our horoscope clearly wasn’t a good one, as a Sagittarius wasn’t on offer. We opted instead for the next closest, the Scorpio, which was served in an impressive bronze chalice that added a coppery taste to the peppery drink.
This, however, was where the expected theatrics stopped, although the restaurant more than made up for that disappointment with some stunning dishes. A ‘nano plate’ (Farzi’s name for nibbles) of Udupi paneer popcorn chicken was polished off with relish. From the small plates proper, a light and fluffy dal chawal arancini was reminiscent of an Indian falafel, while chicken tikka was fantastically smoky.
Belly pork tikka – sweet, sticky and melt-in-the-mouth – was the pick of our larger plates. A Tandoori goat shoulder also made for tender eating, with the sauce itself lending a citrus taste to the dish; it would have been great mopped up with some naan, but we’d already eaten it by the time our side order of bread was the last dish to arrive. For pudding, chocolate forest was an intriguingly vegetal take on Black Forest gateau, involving sweet beetroot and boozy cherries.
But impressive as the cooking is, our enjoyment of the food was hampered by sitting at cramped tables, elbow-to-elbow with our neighbours. Overlook this, however, and you’ll find some top-notch cooking underlined by a terrific atmosphere and professional service.