Luxurious oriental fine dining comes to St Albans in the shape of Chez Mumtaj – an ambitious venture that aims to score with its modern Indo-French & pan-Asian cooking. The Saffron Lounge & Champagne bar have the feel of a gentlemen’s club with mahogany panelling & built-in leather booths; similarly, the swanky dining room exudes splendour & exclusivity. While the bar’s tapas menu is a competent mix of grazing dishes (chicken tikka burrito wrap, salt & pepper squid salad), the all-embracing restaurant carte is a hit & miss affair. Duck samosa with hoisin sauce works splendidly, as do pan-fried scallops with almond & saffron foam, although a main of Alaskan black cod with curry emulsion, coconut rice & spinach has been less successful. There’s also plenty of ambition when it comes to desserts such as poached saffron pear or cranberry & rhubarb ice-cream, but flavours are sometimes lacking.