Last year we managed to nab a 50% discount off a tasting course at the Michelin-starred Rasoi. It’s tucked down a small alleyway, a few streets away from Sloane Square tube. From the outside, it looks more like someone’s home than a restaurant and it feels similar when you step in where they take your coat and welcome you to the restaurant. Only a small, almost unnoticeable sign hangs in the distant and I’d recommend you map it out before you get there, otherwise you miss it.
We’re shown to our table, fortunately by the window in what really should be someone’s front room. The down lights are dimmed to an almost ridiculously low level and I apologise in advance for any blurry images in the post below. I’m glad I brought the bigger camera, as the poor iPhone really wouldn’t have been able to cope. Even as it were, I was shooting at maximum (1600) ISO and had to try to keep the camera really steady.
They presented us with the two tasting menu options. Being an Indian restaurant, vegetarians are very well catered for and we could have opted for that. Not tonight. Whilst we waited on the first course, we had some fried paneer, poppadoms and chutney. They had topped the paneer with a lovely spicy dollop of something, and the typical coriander sauce and chutney were welcome additions to the crisply fried thins.
Our first course soon arrived. Apparently fried rice cakes served with sambar. This dish seemed inspired by the idli dish that I remember so well from Bangalore. The “fried” factor was pretty much zero as there was no crispiness, instead each rice cake surrounded by chilli spice. The sambar was a lentil soup, had deep flavours and a good background heat to it. A good start to the course.
We then had lamb two ways, the first being minced lamb and lentils. I wasn’t particularly impressed by the texture, almost reminding me of an excessively minced meat – an almost liver-like texture. The lamb kebab however was wonderfully flavoured. Plenty of smoke and chilli with deep flavours.
The next dish really surprised, a tomato “makhni” ice cream sitting atop a wild mushroom and truffle oil laced khichdi. This dish reminded me of an Italian mushroom risotto, although obviously influenced by Indian flavours. What was amazing was the contrasts here. Ice cold ice cream stayed perfectly formed for the entire dish, separated from the hot bed by a rice cracker. Spiciness kicking in only to be contrasted by the umami-rich truffle and mushroom tones. Definitely a winning dish.
We then had the gunpowder sea bass, curry leaf potatoes, beetroot moilee sauce and a coconut chutney. Although this dish was very beautifully presented and very flavoursome, it seemed a tad confused and overwhelming. Too many contrasting components that would have been fine.
A cleanser round of a melon and black pepper sorbet. Interesting combo as both flavours were quite strong.
By this stage, we were both pretty full and had expected our dessert round. How wrong we were when they presented this beautiful dish topped with a dome full of smoke. They removed the dome to uncover a chicken tikka, aubergine caviar, dal sauce and potatoes. I’m a big fan of aubergine and my only criticism of this was that the “caviar” texture didn’t really come through, so they really might as well have called it mash. The chicken tikka was amazingly tender, moist and full of flavour and a great combination of textures and flavours that really balanced out.
Normally Indian desserts are excessively sweet, so was a bit hesitant about the final course. Fortunately there’s a reason they have a star rating from the Michelin guide. We had a “Chocomosa” – a samosa filled with almond, white and dark chocolate and a fresh rose-petal vanilla bean ice cream. This was the perfect way to finish the meal as the samosa wasn’t as heavy as it could have been and the ice cream very refreshing.
Service was great – they topped up our tap water constantly and there was no pushing of other drinks (we did have a mango lassi with dinner as well).
Found at: 10 Lincoln Street, London, SW3 2DT
Website at: http://www.rasoi-uk.com/