This weekend I finally ended up having dinner at Urban Turban on Westbourne Grove. I can’t remember how it got on my list of places to go, perhaps it was the Time Out Top 50, or some random website. When we arrived for dinner (just after seven), I thought that the dining room seemed pretty empty for a Saturday night. It doesn’t help that it’s split into two by the bar, with only a few tables visible from the outside.
We were shown to our table, conveniently located by the window, where numerous passer-bys could see what the fuss was all about. After all, its very classic Eastern dark colours, high ceilings and mood lighting certainly catches the eye. We were presented with menus, including their wine list also listing a whole set of cocktails on offer. Their food menu is split into three main parts, the first section focusing on “tapas-style”, with the second part being more classic dishes, and a small section that included two set menus, one including a “hot rock” grill where you finish the food off at your table with a rock that keeps its temperature for some time.
We decide to start with two tapas dishes, unsure about the portion sizes since each “tapas” dish was £7.50. The pictures above are the “Gun Powder” prawns, and the Crab and Corn Cake. Both dishes were served with a slightly spicy sauce and whilst quite shareable, weren’t worth the price of each dish. The Gun Powder prawns didn’t really have the peppery pizazz one might expect from the name, and the crab and corn cake were delicious and tasty, wasn’t particularly memorable.
We moved on to the main meal, where we’d ordered the lamb biryani (£12), saali chicken curry (£10), and an aubergine curry (£6) as well as two naan (£3 each). As you can see from the picture above, their naans are huge, since most of them are stuffed with some sort of filling. They had a lot more a unique assortment of them including the chilli garlic naan (that tasted a lot like this sauce, simply spread on top).
Out of the dishes that we picked, the aubergine curry and the lamb biryani were definitely my favourites. The aubergine was hearty and extremely flavoursome, while the lamb biryani reminded me of the few that I remember seeing in India where they were sealed and cooked with a pastry topping (Urban Turban uses a richer, flaky puff pastry and recommend you mix it in, though I remember it was only supposed to be used as a cooking mechanism). They also served it with yogurt mixed with fenugreek that left a distinctive taste, not something that my sister enjoyed but I did.
Urban Turban serves delicious food. I just don’t think it’s worth the price you pay (at least not out of my own pocket). For a dinner for two costing £65 without any alcoholic drinks (1 mango lassi for £3.30, and a nutella colada for £5.50) the food just didn’t really warrant the price. Service was reasonable though I also still question whether or not they can charge 12.5%.
Name: Urban Turban
Location: 98 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5RU
The good: Modern decore, friendly service and some interesting dishes
Not so good: Well over priced tapas dishes or just in general.