If one has to have a meeting, why not make it at the restaurant by the iconic, quite beautiful and spectacular Neasden Temple on Meadow Garth, NW10. Incidentally, it's about five minutes walk from the centre of Harlesden and has a car park to boot.
Cool, modern, spacious and run by delightful people, we headed straight for the buffet, a colourful and exotic looking array of typical Indian fare. Very fresh looking salads accompanied the spicy dhal, crisp, vegetable samosas, okra, potatoes, rice, paatra (a kind of vine leaf wrapped around gram flour and spices which is then steamed and sliced thinly,) some delicious raita and a wonderful array of pickles and chutneys for scooping up with fried papads – and not a drop of oil in sight. Jugs of water were on the table and the end of the meal we were served with shrikhand, a yogurt based dessert made with saffron, cardamom and sugar that was creamy and light, if not a tad too sweet for my tooth, but very much liked by my dining companions. Having never tried a couple of the dishes, our waiter was very happy to spend time explaining the ingredients and cooking method which I found very charming indeed.
At just under eight quid per person, you can stuff your face to your heart's desire as you can help yourself to as much as your belly can take.
Whilst it isn't going to win any culinary awards, Shayona is an honest, simple place that serves flavoursome Gujarati food served with that gentle Indian demeanour which I find delightful. For eight quid you just can't go wrong. Abhinandana.
54 – 62 Meadow Garth