Farzi Café
Farzi Café
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SquareMeal Review of Farzi Café

Silver Award

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.

 

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Indian
Ambience
Cool, Dark and moody, Glamorous, Lively

Location for Farzi Café

8 Haymarket, St. James's, London, SW1Y 4BP

020 3981 0090

Website


Reviews of Farzi Café

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1 Review 
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Mr. Alex G

Head fake
12 April 2019  

‘No,’ was what I wanted to scream straight out when first I learned about Farzi Café. Everything about it struck me as wrong or offensive. The restaurant is subtitled as being a ‘modern spice bistro’ (what is that supposed to mean?), it is backed by ‘the Czar of Indian Cuisine’ (per the details on its website) and I learned through the Internet that farzi means ‘fake’ in Urdu. Add into this that London’s newest batch of Indian openings (Indian Accent, Kahani, Kanishka etc.) have all met with mixed reviews, and my expectations were certainly low heading to Farzi Café. The good news, however, was that they were comfortably surpassed. Both my comrade and I were impressed with the vibe and food on a recent weekday lunchtime visit. Begin with the décor and the angle here is post-industrial with touches of luxury. Of course, there is an open kitchen and a central bar area. We benefited from a leather banquette which afforded us a good view of the whole venue, but we could not help feeling sorry for the potentially unlucky diners who, at busy times, would be forced to sit at the significantly smaller and more exposed tables in the middle of the dining area. Onto the menu, there is a wide range of dishes available to suit all palates and budgets (within reason). If anything, the problem was tyranny of choice. My comrade and I were forced to ponder exactly how big might a ‘nano’ plate be and how many of these might need to be combined with small plates and mains before even beginning to consider where the paos and sliders may fit it. The branding conceit is also in full effect on the menu, with one section dedicated to ‘#farzified’ British classics. I guess the angle here is that all may not be what it seems; let’s take something traditional and give you a reinvented (or, less charitably, fake) version of it. All of this said, the four dishes we went for – we were ever so boring, opting for just two small ones and two mains – were exceptional, in terms of taste and presentation. Pan-tossed shrooms (their labelling, not mine) with a black truffle haze, served on a bed of dhal demonstrated immense novelty and offered diners an exciting spectrum of flavours and textures. Our other starter of naga pork packed a punch of spice intensity with a nicely contrasting addition of bamboo shoots. Mains of venison combined with stir-fired peppers and smoked aubergine served in its skin both spoke of originality and emphasised the kitchen’s skill. No complaints about service, while pricing was reasonable at ~£30/head (although we just drank fizzy water). Once you can get over the backstory, come for the food – and enjoy.   

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