Once Epsom’s best kept secret, this neighbourhood Indian joint is now firmly on the map thanks to the many awards and accolades heaped upon it since it first opened its doors in 2016. Established by two chefs who worked together at one of the most talked-about Michelin star Indian restaurants in the capital, and championed by acclaimed chef Angela Hartnett, Dastaan possesses all the hallmarks of a top London restaurant without the hefty price tags to match.
One half of the chef-patron pair is Sanjay Gour, former head chef at aforementioned Gymkhana. An accomplished Modern European pastry chef as well as a contemporary Indian chef, Gour is known for creating beautiful desserts inspired by Indian sweets and the heady spices of his homeland. His counterpart, Nand Kishor, also former head chef at Gymkhana, is credited with creating some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, including the muntjac biryani, keema pao and roe deer chops.
This formidable culinary duo brings its considerable talents to the menu at Dastaan which, unlike many other Indian restaurants, is plentiful yet concise. Start off with a few chat (snacks) such as panipuri, samosas, tikkas and kebabs to get your taste buds going as you take in the panoply of curries on offer. Possibilities such as butter chicken masala, duck chettinard and pork vindaloo will excite carnivores, while vegetarian diners will delight in the selection of meat-free dishes, such as paneer makhani, aubergine masala, and asparagus, pea and Jerusalem artichoke biryani.
If you can manage it after filling up on chat, a rich main course and obligatory carb overload in the form of fluffy rice and buttery naan bread, there’s a smattering of desserts to be had. From smooth kulfi to syrup-soaked gulab jamun, it’s a sweet way to end a meal that’s every bit as outstanding as its fancy, central-London contemporaries.