Walking through the City at night reminds me of the beautiful urbanisation in London, scuttling through the alleyways between massive skyscrapers. I’m sure if you work in the City this rose tinted view wears off pretty quickly leaving the expanse of stark grey buildings behind. Being in the City or not nothing keeps be away from a (relatively) new Indian restaurant that I haven’t tried, I wind my way through the buildings to the unassuming entrance of Darbaar.
I wait in the loud bar full of suits, I give up trying to order a drink, and sulk in the corner until my date arrives.
We are taken through to the dining area, one large opulent room with an open kitchen running down the side. Darbaar is run by an ex Cinnamon Club chef Abdul, this is more than your average Indian, Abduls inspiration is the Indian Royal Court. The menu feels similar to Dishoom and I’m already eyeing up the dahl. I better not get a head of myself, we start with some poppadoms and a glass of house red.
Fresh, crispy and the dips are clearly made in house. Starters were difficult to pick, so went for three..
A little appetiser of chicken wings roast garlic yogurt, I can never resist a wing. Although they don’t look like anything extraordinary, the fact that they are trimmed makes them fall away from the bone after being dipped with deliciously garlicky sauce.
Royal Bengal style wild Madagascar Prawn, it looks incredible, the sauce has flavour and the prawn was tender but not particularly tasty.
The salmon marinated in coriander and other spices, excellently cooked and the coriander balances well with the oily fish.
We move on to mains, from the left we have Muglai spiced lamb, spiced seabass with shrimp and coconut sambal, some dahl and a bread selection.
The portions are generous, but it was the seabass we were both fighting over. A perfectly cooked piece of fish with hot spiced little prawns lying on top of it. This was by far our favourite, although the other dishes were good, honestly to me this was a perfect modern Indian dish.
We had a little room for dessert, even though I was getting a little impatient with the slow service. I chose the chocolate slab with the slightly tenuous ‘chill kick’ to fit with the Indian cuisine. We shared the probably more obvious choice after an Indian meal, some tropical sorbets, juicy and refreshing and far more appropriate.
Overall I thought it was a little pricey, but it is in the City, so it is City prices with a City atmosphere. If I was with a large group of people and didn’t look at the bill I would have come away more satisfied.