Close your eyes…
Inhale spices, imagine inventive dishes and each course paired with an exceptionally suggested wine.
Let me present to you exactly that, at Babur, an Indian restaurant in Forest Hill, London.
I am always on the hunt for new places to eat and drink. I have lived in South East London for 8 months now and sometimes I don’t fancy trekking anywhere far. I think it would be pretty nifty to have a handful of my favourite cuisines close by and allow me to explore the area a little more.
I’m a foodie, I relish dabbling in new dishes. I get a bit of a kick out of trying something I have either never eaten before, so Babur’s cuisine is right up my street. The menu proudly displays a variety of options, all at reasonable prices and catering for all dietary preferences.
It is probably the longest I have looked at a book of edibles. There really are so many intriguing and unusual dishes to choose from but there really are some curious items which we just had to try.
A true standout for me was Gurkhali Ostrich Tikka. I don’t know about you but I have never eaten ostrich before. It was soft dark meat, served with szechwan pepper, celery and mooli sesame chutney. It was absolutely divine! I can still remember the robust almost plush and perfectly melt-in-the-mouth spiced heaven.
Our other starter was Griddled Scallops served with cumin and garlic cauliflower puree and cauliflower florets. Each scallop was fresh, a clean and palate cleansing mouthful of delight accompanied by an almost cauliflower pakora. A perfect starter.
The starters combined were a great introduction as to what standard of cooking was coming next. We spent the time peeking at other people’s dishes and I don’t know how many times we said, “We will have to try that next time!”
Again, the main menu enticed me with Rabbit Soweta. I have never eaten rabbit before either. I kinda have an issue with it after reading Enid Blyton’s Peter Rabbit. They just seem like cute animals and although I am not saying every other animal isn’t cute, there is just something about these cute bunnies I couldn’t do. But time to put that aside, I would have kicked myself if I hadn’t tried something a little offbeat from my usual choices. After watching Masterchef UK this week and closely watching how rabbit is supposed to be cooked (secretly with fingers crossed it wasn’t going to be dry), I wasn’t disappointed. This white meat delight was succulent and luscious with the sweet corn, Rajasthani spices and corn pattice which accompanied it.
The presentation here at Babur is charming, enchanting and I have to say, extremely Instagrammable.
Our other main was Steamed Shoulder of Lamb with beetroot rice. Imagine marinated lamb for 100 hours, accompanied with spice-rich Punjabi masala and lamb jus. One word describes this…nirvana. Gracefully soft, fall-apart lamb with a ravishingly flavourful beetroot rice. This is something I need to learn how to perfect at home because that alone was delish. It’s also something I haven’t seen or tasted before so once again a winner.
Both dishes were washed down with steamed rice and a garlic and onion naan.
There is no sincere love of food than the love of food
~George Bernard Shaw
I won’t lie, after such a full-flavoured meal, two desserts was not going to happen. What caught our eye was the beautifully presented, Saffron and Pistachio Praline Kulfi (a popular frozen dairy dessert from the Indian subcontinent. It is often described as “traditional Indian ice cream”). This was served with a pistachio brittle dust and a saffron jelly.
Babur opened in 1985, they clearly take pride in their flavours, presentation and ensuring a complete experience with their suggested wine pairings. In addition to their Al a carte menu, they cater for all special dietary requirements, have a tasting group and a Sunday buffet which I think we will be making a return visit for.
It is a popular restaurant (make sure you book in advance!), with a relaxed atmosphere and their decor includes commissioned artwork accompanied by a few Indian antiques. I definitely recommend a visit!
So hey you, yes you..I want to thank you for reading my post. Whether you’ve stuck around since the beginning of my journey or whether you’re new to my blog, thank you for reading and supporting. I genuinely appreciate it.