Desi Dhaba | Restaurant Review

Place: Desi Dhaba 
Location: Glenmore Parade, Ealing Rd, Wembley 
Cuisine: Indian 

July 2022     September 2022


Meal: Dinner (with wifey and our lil one)
On: Saturday, 9 July 2022

We were at the Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir located on the other end of Ealing Road at Wembley last Saturday, and came across this small joint tucked in between a row of shops. It was about 5:00 PM, and given that we weren’t really hungry, decided to come back later. After a couple of hours exploring the Indian market and eateries on the street, we dropped by at around 7:00 PM, and the restaurant, given that it was away from most of the Indian joints on street, was pretty empty with just a couple of tables occupied. We made ourselves comfortable at a table for four. The place had a nice vibe to it and reminded us of a typical Indian dhaba.

A few minutes after we settled down, we were served with some fryums alongside mint chutney, garlic & herb sauce, and sweet chilli sauce. Now, this was a welcome surprise for we were starving and the fact that we had food on our table without any “do you want papad?” question thrown at us the moment we walked in. And no, we weren’t charged for them!

The fryums were crisp and satisfied our initial hunger right away; we emptied the basket in about 5 minutes.

Now for the proper meal, we ordered Tandoori Stuffed Mushrooms, Kofta Dilruba, a Butter Naan, and three Butter Chapati. We also asked for a portion of Paneer Pilau for later.

Stuffed Mushrooms | Desi Dhaba

The mushrooms were served in about 10 minutes and they looked scrumptious. The description on the menu read succulent mushrooms marinated in authentic aromatic spices, stuffed with paneer and cheese, cooked in tandoor, and boy, they were yum! Unlike another place we were at in the recent past, the quantity was great; we had about 7-8 mushrooms on our plate. Great start to our meal!

Kofta Dilruba | Desi Dhaba

The main course was served soon, and I was excited for the Kofta for it was listed as Chef’s special. With paneer dumplings in a creamy tomato gravy, unfortunately, this turned out to be just alright (against my anticipation of awesome). The Kofta balls were a little too dry and the gravy was a bit grainy. It also could have done with a little more salt to get the flavours right. Again, this wasn’t a bad dish, it just didn’t match up to my expectations.

Desi Dhaba Desi Dhaba

The Naan was soft and perfect. Our lil one who usually doesn’t prefer Naan, loved it. The Chapatis were huge and super soft. We kinda over-ordered as we couldn’t even finish the second one.

Paneer Pilau | Desi Dhaba

The Pilau was served after we were done with our bread and looked flavour packed. This was again a Chef’s special and tasted great; the paneer was fresh, and the rice was perfectly cooked. However, as with most Indian restaurants in London, it needed salt to suit our palate.

At about the time the Pilau was served, we realized that we needed another side for us to do justice to the meal, so we asked for Dal Makhani.

Dal Makhni | Desi Dhaba

And we were glad that we did for it turned out to be another winner. The dal was creamy, the spices were right, and it was lip-smacking delicious.

Mango Lassi | Desi Dhaba

To finish our meal, we ordered a Mango Lassi that turned out to be thick and perfect, the best lassi I’ve had in a while.

Overall, this turned out to be the best meal we’ve had in London thus far (Shayona was at the top of our list until we visited this place; will review it soon). We were a bit apprehensive when walking in but were totally impressed by the food and service. Our waiter, Bhumi, was super friendly and ensured that we had everything we need on the table at the right time. This is one restaurant I’d definitely recommend to anyone looking for a good Indian restaurant in town. And it is pocket-friendly. I will be back for sure, often!

Food: 9/10
Service: 9.5/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 3: £39.49


Meal: Dinner (with wifey and our lil one)
On: Friday, 2 September 2022

Given that Desi Dhaba was the best find in London thus far, it was our first choice when my brother and his partner visited us from the US. We walked in at about 8:00 PM and settled down in the centre of the restaurant. Right away, some papad and fryums were served on the table. 

I wanted to try almost everything from our last visit for they tasted yum, and I also wanted to check consistency. Therefore, in addition to what we ordered last time, we ordered Paneer Popcorn and a Veg. Platter as starters, and a Paneer Makhani with some Butter Roti and Jeera Rice for the main course.

The Paneer Popcorn was served first in about 10 minutes. Balls of paneer bhurji rolled in crumbs and deep fried, these were crunchy, yes, but I thought needed some more flavour.  

While we thought that the platter will just have a couple if pieces of everything, the portions were humongous and came in two plates. The first one had the samosa, hara bhara kabab, some cutlets, mirchi bhajji, and loads of onion and potato pakoras/chips. Everything tasted good with the chips being the stand-out dish.

The other part of the platter was a sizzling plate with some stuffed mushrooms and paneer tikka. The mushrooms were yum like the last time, and the paneer was good as well. 

The Malai Kofta and Dal Makhani turned out to be as good as the last visit, but again, needed additional salt to make them palatable. The additional Paneer Makhani was a decent dish; the makhani gravy could have been better.

The Jeera rice was a disappointing dish for the rice was uncooked and had no flavour.

Overall, a very good meal again. Barring the Jeera rice, everything was delicious. Most dishes needed salt, and that was the only downside. The service was good and the portion sizes were amazing. While we were not as elated with the food as the last time, I thought it still was a great meal.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 6: £68.91


Verdict: 9/10

Dhaba 49 | Restaurant Review

Place: Dhaba 49 
Location: 49 Chippenham Rd
Cuisine: Indian 
Meal: Take-away
On: Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Dhaba 49 happens to be the closest Indian restaurant to our place, but we never, for whatever reason had the opportunity to dine in here over the last four months we’ve lived in London. However, come last Tuesday, utilizing Just Eat’s Cheeky Tuesday offer, we ordered a Paneer Butter Masala, a couple of Butter Naan, and a Pilau Rice.

Though the place is about 500 meters away from our house, it took about an hour for the order to be delivered. (I actually cancelled an order a while ago cos it said the estimated delivery time was about 90 minutes).

Dhaba 49 Naan

The Paneer Butter masala (PBM) had too much ginger and was a little too tomatoey for my liking. The paneer however was fresh, so we managed to empty the box. The Butter Naan could have done with some more butter.

Dhaba 49 PilauThe Pilau rice was decent, but again, like with almost every Indian restaurant in London, bland. I wish people added a little more salt while cooking the rice, or at last after. The rice, also, was too oily.

Overall, a mediocre meal. I read good reviews about this place online but maybe because of my expectations, was disappointed. PBM is the basic Indian dish for any vegetarian, and according to me, it tells you how good or bad a restaurant is; if you can’t get your PBM right, you can’t get anything right! While Dhaba 49’s PBM wasn’t totally bad, there is room for improvement. Also, the hour waiting time is a bit too much especially when they are so close by.

I’d definitely dine at this place sometime soon, once my extended family comes by. Until then…

Food: 7/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 2: £16.50 (offer)

Verdict: 7/10

Portobello Health Foods | Restaurant Review

Place: Portobello Health Foods  
Location:  269A Portobello Rd 
Cuisine: Fast-food 
Meal: Take-away
On: Saturday, 25 June 2022

Looking for Vegetarian food options near my place on Google, stumbled across this small Vegetarian/Vegan joint on Portobello Road. Given that this was a Saturday, headed out to try this place as well as to experience the Portobello Road Market.

We walked in at about 3:00 PM and saw this large spread of offerings from different cuisines. It is an order-your-meal kinda place where you pick anything you want from the offerings, in either small, medium, or large boxes. There is a small seating area in the store but that would cost you extra 60 pence.

Portobello Health Foods

We opted for the large box as we wanted to try a bit of everything, and this gave us more scope to do that. We asked for some lasagne, grilled mushrooms, beans, rice, vegetables, broccoli, a couple of other things I don’t remember, and loads of potato wedges.

The overall meal tasted good, but some of the items were a little too bland. I wish they had some kinda condiments and sauces to make things wild. The large box cost us about 10 quid, the medium is £8.95, and the small is for £7.2. I am not sure if these prices are justifiable, but for the variety, maybe it deserves a try once in a while.

Food: 8/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 1: £9.95

Verdict: 7.5/10

Apna Adda | Restaurant Review

Place: Apna Adda
Location: Leicester Square
Cuisine: Indian

June 2022     July 2022


Meal: Take-away
On: Thursday, 2 June 2022

After a fruitful day of celebrating Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, we were looking for a place to quench our hunger. Felt like eating Indian (again), and decided to drop in at Saravana Bhavan at Leicester Square. There was waiting, and while we did that, I looked at their menu and realized that everything was overpriced (as we just dined at SB at East Ham a few days ago which wasn’t expensive at all). So looked for alternates in the area and found this small Indian eatery right around the corner.

Apna Adda

A couple of blocks away from Empire Cinemas (Cineworld), located right next to Bella Italia, you’d probably miss this unless you look closely. Apna Adda is a small shop with just a couple of tables. Having realized that dining in will not be possible, we decided to do a take-away, and ordered a portion of Veg. Spring Rolls, Veg. Hakka Noodles, Kaju Curry, and a couple of Naan. I was told it would take about 30 minutes for the order to be ready.

We explored the Piccadilly Circus area for a while, picked up the food, and hopped on a bus home. Our lil one was hungry, so we opened the Spring Rolls on our way. 7 small rolls were served along with some sweet chilli sauce, and they tasted alright. They probably were frozen ones you get at a supermarket, which justifies the size and more or less bland taste.

We were really excited to try the noodles and didn’t waste any time dug in the moment we reached home (without clicking any pictures). Unfortunately, they turned out bleh. With excessive soy sauce, they had a strong taste which I did not enjoy.

The Kaju Curry however was yummy. Loaded with cashew nuts (Kaju), the tomato gravy was perfect. I would have maybe preferred it a little spicier though. The Naan was decent, but the corners were a little too thick.

Overall, an okay meal. Our Indo-Chinese experience was mediocre while Indian food turned out to be good. Reasonably priced, they have quite an extensive menu. I’d definitely try this place again, hopefully soon!

Food: 7.5/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 3: £22.46


Meal: Dinner (Take 2)
On: Thursday, 7 July 2022

Dropped in here last week for dinner before a movie, and ordered a Vegetable Biryani. I then settled at a table on the street where there were quite a few entertaining performances to keep me engaged while the food was being prepared. 

Biryani

In about 10 minutes, the Biryani was served alongside some raita. This was dum-style Biryani with the curry at the bottom and rice on top, garnished with some coriander and fried onions. While the rice was perfect, I thought the curry was a bit on the spicy side, which made me sweat at the end of my meal. It may not be the best Biryani, but wasn’t bad either.

Food: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 1: £6.95


Verdict: 8/10

Aladin | Restaurant Review

Place: Aladin Indian Restuarant  
Location:  Brick Ln, London 
Cuisine: Indian 
Meal: Dinner (with wifey and our lil one)
On: Sunday, 26 June 2022

On a lazy Saturday afternoon, we were in the neighbourhood to get our Indian groceries but were hungry as well, so we decided to hog first. Brick Lane is a street full of Indian and Bangladeshi food joints, with people calling out to you while walking on the street to try their restaurants. This was pretty late in the day for lunch (around 4:00 PM), so most of these eateries were empty. Not wanting to be the only patrons, we decided to walk into a restaurant that had at least a few tables occupied, and this turned out to be Aladin.

Located right opposite Brick Lane’s Food market (Upmarket) which houses some international food stalls, Aladin is a sizeable joint spread across two shops and is pretty much on the busy street so can be loud at times. We were led to a table of 6 where 2 seats on either side were already occupied by a couple of girls, and we were like, what? Then the guy separated the table to make it a 4+2 seater with little gap between them. We settled down uncomfortably, for I felt that we were intruding into their space. Almost all the tables were similarly placed, cramped next to each other. On the bright side, the place was brightly lit and looked spacious, thanks to the mirrors on the walls.

The entire staff seemed to be in a hurry which gave it an impression of a fast-food joint rather than a dining restaurant. One of the many guys came with the menus, and without even giving us any breathing space. asked if we wanted papad. I said no without thought, and he removed the pre-set plates from the table. We eventually asked for the papad while placing our order, and he got the plates back along with some condiments

Papad

For the main course, we ordered Paneer Pasanda/Korma, a Butter Naan, a couple of chapathis, and a Vegetable Biryani.

Paneer Korma

The food was served all at once in about 15 minutes. While the Paneer Korma was decent; the gravy was little on the sweet side and could have been more refined. Naan

The Naan was full of butter, soft, and tasted good.

Biryani

Vegetable Korma

The Biryani was served alongside some Mixed Vegetable Korma. The Biryani, while good, could have had more vegetables and little more masala (and salt) for it tasted bland without the korma, which in itself was alright.

Still hungry, for the portions weren’t that great, wifey decided to get a portion of Garlic Rice which was served in a few minutes. This had a lot of garlic, yes, but was dripping in oil. Again, needed salt.

Overall, an average meal. The food was decent but the experience wasn’t great. The hustle around us was getting too much to handle. To add to this, a scribbled note was presented to us as the bill for a whopping 40 quid, which I later, after stepping out of the restaurant, realized was at least 7 or 8 quid more than what we should have been charged for what we ordered (and if I read the scribble right, we were charged £2.5 for the papad!). This place is apparently voted as “One of the World’s Best Curry Houses'” in London, but I highly doubt they can be anything with this pathetic service.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 4/10
Ambiance: 6/10
Meal for 3: £39.75

Verdict: 6/10

Aladin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mumbai Dosa | Restaurant Review

Place: Mumbai Dosa  
Location: Anna Bazaar, High Rd, Wembley 
Cuisine: Indian & Chinese 
Meal: Dinner (with wifey and our lil one)
On: Thursday, 9 June 2022

While we were craving some good food, we came across this small joint at the far end of a bazaar at Wembley, and boy, we were glad to find it. It’s a small setup with about 6 tables placed close to each other and the ambience isn’t appealing at all. However, the easy-on-the-pocket food tastes great, and so, we’ve been dropping by this place almost every time we’re in Wembley.

This time around, we came in at about 7:00 PM, before heading for a movie on a weekday, and while the joint was packed, we were able to find a table in the corner. This is more of a fast-food joint, so the tables are shabby and unclean, and this was the case today as well.

It’s a self-serve restaurant, so I walked up to the counter to order a Sweet Corn Soup, Crispy Baby-corn, Veg. Manchurian Fried Rice, and a Paneer Biryani. Do note that the lady at the counter might seem rude for she’s always multi-tasking, but she’s actually very sweet.

Given that the place was packed, it took long, longer than expected for the food to come. While we’d hoped for the Soup to come first, the Fried Rice was ready after about 20 minutes.

Manchurian Fried Rice - Mumbai Dosa

I tried their Manchurian Noodles a while ago which were decent, and was looking forward to tasting the fried rice. Full of vegetables and some chopped Manchurian balls, this turned out to be delicious and better than the noodles. It was spicy enough and reminded me of the bandi fried rice you get back home in India. For £7, the quantity is abundant unlike most of the recent restaurants I’ve been to. Yum!

Paneer Biryani - Mumbai DosaThe Paneer Biryani came next and this again was equally good. Loaded not just with paneer but also vegetables, the biryani was full of flavour. Wifey preferred this over the fried rice.

Crispy Baby-corn - Mumbai Dosa

The Crispy Baby-corn tasted good. They were crispy, yes, but if not for the chaat masala sprinkled on top, were bland. 

We were struggling to finish these three items and also running late for the movie, so requested for the soup to be packed. We also asked for a Fruit Salad with Ice-cream to go. While the Fruit Salad was decent, the soup was passable; it also had a lot of vegetables but was very thick and had too much soy sauce for my liking.

Overall, an excellent and sumptuous meal. The joint is badly maintained and needs an uplift, yes, but the food makes it up. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend or go to such shabby places myself, but for the tasty and bang-for-buck food, I overlooked the mediocre ambience. The taste and quantity of food are better than the Saravana Bhavan located two blocks away. Do give this place a try if you’re in the area; I’d suggest to go!

Food: 8.5/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: 4/10
Meal for 3: £20.50

Verdict: 8.5/10

Saravana Bhavan – Wembley | Restaurant Review

Place: Saravana Bhavan
Location: Ealing Rd, Wembley
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner (with wifey and our lil one)
On: Saturday, 4 June 2022

We dined at Saravana Bhavan at East Ham a few days ago and found the place affordable. A few days later, we wanted to check in at their Leicester Square branch, but to our surprise, everything was priced double or more. A North Indian Thali which cost us £8.95 at East Ham was about 19 bucks. Anywho, last week, we were at the Wembley branch, which was again affordable.

The place was packed at about 7:00 PM but we thankfully didn’t have to wait for a table and settled down next to the entrance. Without much delay, we ordered Channa Batura, a portion of Veg. Manchurian, Hakka Noodles, and Paneer Biryani.

Manchuria

In about 5 minutes, the Manchuria was served, and for a moment, I thought I was at the Saravana Bhavan in India which is known for its meagre quantity of food at exorbitant prices. For 7 quid, I’d expect more than 5 pieces of Manchuria. Thankfully, the taste was good, but I thought the sauce was too tomatoey.

Channa Batura

Tha Channa Batura or Chole Batura, whatever you wanna call it was served soon. It was disappointing to see the Batura served flat for our lil one wanted to pop the big poori. While the Chole was decent, the Batura was dripping in oil. 

Noodles

The Noodles looked good and tasted good as well. I realized that the noodles you get here in the UK are generally thick (unlike the thin noodles you get in India). The texture is something I personally need to get used to.

Biryani

The Biryani was served last and came with a portion of raita. With loads of paneer chunks and perfect amount of masala, this was the best dish of the meal. On the downside, a few vegetables in the Biryani would have been worth it.

Overall, a mediocre meal. While the Biryani was good, no dish made a real impression, and the dismal portion sizes didn’t make things better. While the service was decent, the overall ambience was passable. I’d probably try the Thali the next time around to see if they are worth multiple visits. 

Food: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Meal for 3: £28.54

Verdict: 7/10

Saravanaa Bhavan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flavors of India | Restuarant Review

Place: Flavors of India
Location: Craven Road, Paddington
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner (with wifey and our lil one)
On: Sunday, 22 May 2022  

We’ve been eating out in London for a while now, but this happens to be my first restaurant review (hopefully the first of many). After a fruitful day at Hyde Park, we were looking for some good Indian food and happened to find Flavors of India on Google. Located on Paddington Station Road, the restaurant is easy to locate with a Sardar figure standing guard.

We walked in at around 9:15 PM and the place, split across 2 floors, was more or less full. We walked up to the first level and settled down on a table for 4. The place, in general, was cramped for there was not a lot of room between tables. There was also a large group sitting behind us making the place loud. We were really hungry and were waiting for someone to come and take the order, but no one showed up for a long time, even after multiple attempts of calling for them.

When he finally did, we ordered a portion of Tandoori Stuffed Mushroom, Shahi Paneer, a Garlic Naan and a Plain Naan. This was around 9:30 PM. The steward did inform us that the kitchen was full of orders and it will take a while for the food to be served, but never mentioned how long. And so, the wait began.

Apparently, there was some problem with the air-conditioning on the first level, and even with the windows open, we were suffocating. Maybe it was because of the hunger as well. Anywho, we decided to come down (which was relatively cooler) and find a table for ourselves around 40 minutes after we placed the order (still no food).

Tandoori Mushroom

At about 10:15 PM, the mushrooms were finally served, and I was appalled by the portion size; 3 small button mushrooms stuffed with some cheese, served along with a couple of peppers, onion, a tomato, and some lettuce. The taste was decent, but man, 3 pieces of mushroom? 

Shahi Paneer

Naan

Over the next few minutes, the Shahi Paneer and Naan were served. While not as bad as the mushrooms, the portion size of the paneer again seemed ridiculous for a main dish (I wonder what they serve for a side!). The paneer was fresh and succulent, and the gravy was good, but a little too tomatoey for my liking. The Naan however was hard as a rock. Our lil one usually eats the bread but she didn’t even touch it for it was so kadak. The Garlic Naan was better.

When the subzi and roti were served, I asked for a portion of Vegetable Biryani. The waiter said that it might take forever again, but we didn’t want to walk out hungry.

Biryani

Surprisingly, the Biryani was served in a jiffy, and the portion size was decent. Served along with a Vegetable Korma, the biryani was very wet and spicy. I soon realized that the chef just added some pulao rice to the korma and sent it up as biryani (that confirms how it was served in a few minutes). The taste was okay, but as I said, too spicy.

Overall, a mediocre meal and experience. For the small portions which barely filled our tummies, the bill came to a whopping £31. The ambience isn’t great and the service was bad. There was absolutely no communication, and every time we asked where the food was, we were almost shushed. When we walked out, some travellers were inquiring about the place, and I told them the same thing which I now tell you, don’t go in there!

Food: 6/10
Service: 3/10
Ambiance: 6/10
Meal for 3: £30.96

Verdict: 4/10

Flavors of India - Paddington Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato