Kahani

Bronze Award
1 Review
££££
Indian

Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
Kahani
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SquareMeal Review of Kahani

Bronze Award

Peter Joseph is the latest brave soul to try his luck with this challenging site tucked behind Cadogan Hall (RIP Le Cercle and Canvas), though as the former head chef of Tamarind in Mayfair, he already knows a thing or two about enticing well-heeled customers into basement dining rooms. 

 

Kahani’s website describes how Joseph wanted to fuse Indian recipes with British ingredients and Spanish-sized portions of tapas, though when the staff asked the inevitable question of whether we were familiar with the menu’s concept, this information was not forthcoming; a shame, as advance knowledge of the Indian-European approach would be a useful preparation for the restrained spicing in much of what we ate.

 

While we enjoyed pairs of chubby lamb chops, cigar-shaped seekh kebabs and chunks of chicken tikka, we weren’t left with the impression of eating food that tasted especially Indian; better, perhaps, to instead order dishes such as creamy butter chicken, silky tarka dal or slow-cooked lamb shank that rely on richness of flavour for effect and can be scooped up with excellent breads, warm from the tandoor oven.

 

Prices reflect the Sloane Street location, although on our visit, some of the well-meaning staff lacked the knowledge and polish to back that up, and while the high-ceilinged space looks glitzy, not all of the finishes bear close scrutiny. Basement dining rooms are a hard sell at the best of times, and even Belgravia diners want bang for their buck.

 

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Indian
Ambience
Quiet conversation
Food Occasions
All day dining, Late night dining, Sunday roast
Special Features
Chef’s table, Wheelchair access
People
Child friendly, Group dining [8+], Special occasions

Kahani Also Offers

Kahani
Private Group Dining

Special offers from Kahani

Bottomless Brunch: £35 or £45 with prosecco

From: 7 May, 2019
To: 7 November, 2019
Max: 8
Enjoy unlimited brunch at Kahani including Tandoori Chicken, Paneer and Spiced chickpeas for up to 2 hours. Add bottomless prosecco for an extra £10.
Availability: Sun 12:00PM-8:00PM

Lunch and pre/post theatre: 2/3 courses £15/£20

From: 7 May, 2019
To: 7 November, 2019
Max: 8
From a set menu.
Availability: Tue-Fri 12:00PM-2:30PM 5:30PM-6:30PM

Location for Kahani

1 Wilbraham Place, London, SW1X 9AE

020 7730 7634

Website

Opening Times

Mon-Sun 12N-2.45pm 5-10.30pm

Reviews of Kahani

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1 Review 
Food/Drink
Service
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Value

Mr. Alex G

Incomplete story
15 July 2019  

Britain’s love affair with curry is well-documented and remains unabated. Restaurateurs therefore assume that it is a fairly safe bet opening yet more high-end Indian venues in swanky parts of London. Onto the scene late last year came Kahani – Hindi for story – backed by a top chef, formerly of Tamarind fame. The decision to name your restaurant ‘story’ is an interesting one. As your author can attest, writing anything to a level of utmost satisfaction is a challenge. Sure, stories are often by their vary nature, mutable; you can make them up on the spot, they can change over time, be retold and so on. To continue along these lines, while Kahani showed much promise in many areas, both my comrade and I felt that the overall experience provided by the venue very much remained work in progress. Consider our first impressions. We were greeted at the door, gave our names and welcomed effusively. Kahani is in a basement and so we had to descend a flight of stairs, passing rather curiously, the bathrooms – surely this must be a design flaw – before reaching the restaurant proper. It was somewhat surprising then that we had to provide our names for a second time before being shown to our table. I did not mind, but some sort of synchronised calendar really ought to be a challenge for a restaurant with the ambitions and budget of Kahani. We were shown to a beautiful corner table from which we could marvel at the charm of the room, best described as refined opulence with an open kitchen at one end. However, the somewhat discordant service continued to jar. Our menus were almost plonked on the table and while we had to grapple with four different pieces of paper (a la carte, set, wines and other drinks), no information about a vegetarian tasting menu was provided, despite us having learned about the existence of such an option via Kahani’s website. Our wish was at least granted and we eventually progressed onto two tasting menus, omnivorous for me and vegetarian for my comrade. We both began with what some other critics have described as one of the venue’s signature dish, a masala grilled aubergine served with olives, caramelised onions and iceberg lettuce. It was tasty, but there was certainly no wow. The combination of ingredients could hardly be described as boundary-pushing; the cynic might suggest that the plate could almost be prepared at home, while my comrade was spot-on in describing the addition of iceberg lettuce as “just a bit naff” – certainly not what you would expect from a restaurant that has its sights surely set on a Michelin star. Moreover, that this dish was the most photogenic across our six-course tasting menu says a lot. Maybe Kahani would argue that the cooking should do the talking, but do not come to this venue if you want a lot of nice Instagram snaps. Elsewhere, my colleague also aptly described the smoked aubergine that accompanied my admittedly delicious piece of sea bream as resembling a pile of faecal matter. What Kahani lost on presentation, it did at least gain in terms of taste (both the guinea fowl tikka and a lamb chop served with Kashmiri chillies both superb), while the wine pairings across the menu were thoughtful and often inspired. This observation provides a segue back to the vexed topic of service. While our sommelier was notably charismatic and passionate about his job, indifference and gaucheness would be adjectives I could easily apply to other staff members. It is a pity. There is much that is good about Kahani (and pricing is not at all unreasonable) but being located on a back street just to the north of Sloane Square – and so not benefiting from much passing trade – the venue will need to tighten its story if it is to survive.    

Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

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