"We will definitely return..."Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
Tucked away from the main hustle and bustle of Sloane Square is this hidden gem of a restaurant that was opened in September 2018 by the Michelin star chef Peter Joseph formerly of Tamarind.
The entrance is so discrete that you almost miss it. You deposit your coat to the polite host at street level and descend into a softly-lit warm space. At an open mezzanine on your left you can see into an intimate private room – possibly seating up to 12 – which has a glass wall looking down onto the main restaurant. At the base of the stairs I glanced briefly to the tank of live lobsters on my left as the hosts swept me to our table.
The décor is understated, modern and stylish. With just a hint of its Indian heritage. I admired the lion head sculptures on the back of the chairs. The large open fireplace in one corner provided an intimate nook for a couple of tables (Yes, it would be a suitable romantic venue). There were some open booths on slightly raised plinths which would be great for group dining. Gentle jazz played in the background.
There’s a substantial bar screened from the main restaurant with a frosted glass panel. I guess you could visit simply to sample the cocktails. There were lots of cocktails using seedlip grove which is popular at the moment.
They were not at all concerned when I explained that my dining companion was coeliac – they carefully pointed out which dishes he could eat. And the choice wasn’t restricted at all. I was also interested to see that there was an extensive and appealing vegan menu.
So with a perfectly chilled glass of sauvignon blanc and a non-alcoholic cocktail containing pineapple, coconut syrup, star anise, lemon and yoghurt (£8) we tackled the menu.
First up was one of my favourites – soft shell crabs. A light crispy outer with some formidable Mangalorean spices and a tomato chutney (12). My companion has a modified version of the marinated tandoori broccoli jiggery with nigella seeds. I have to say that we have never tasted broccoli this good before. Astonishing.
The other pleasant surprise was the truffle roti with black garlic spinach (£8). The spinach was thick and intense in flavour and quite extraordinary. We both decided that we could eat this ambrosial food all day, every day with anything. Who knew there was spinach heaven?
The smoked Malabar prawns (£16) were huge and delicious. Plump and tender with a small kick in the accompanying turmeric and coconut sauce. Now I’m not a fan of lamb but the Somerset lamb chops with Kashmiri chillies and Nagercoil clove (£16) were truly excellent. The firm, pink meat was light with a hint of barbeque smoke and the mint yoghurt was hardly discernible.
Both of us declared the butter chicken our favourite meat dish – a rich and creamy tomato sauce which had notes of beef stock with Fenugreek. I guess this dish would be closest to what fans of High Street curry shops would identify with – but this version was in another league.
Whilst we were quite replete we were persuaded to sample some desserts. The platter (£16) had all manner of interesting confections – a peanut butter parfait twinned with fresh banana or blueberry. A pistachio and a salted caramel kulfi (the latter being the only one that – whilst delicious – didn’t quite fit in with the fresh naturalness of the others). Warm grated carrot fudge which was almost savoury where the condensed milk evoked memories of rice pudding. And my companion devoured the white ball of strawberry cheesecake which was like a donut as the deep red contents spilt out from the centre. That was a little too sweet for me – but he was very happy.
The staff were kind and attentive without being intrusive. They proved knowledgeable about the food and the chef’s style and passions. So the service really was impeccable.
It was clear that all the ingredients were farm fresh and carefully sourced. The adventurous crafting of the ingredients was creative and bold. And for a restaurant of this quality in this location with food as good as this we felt the price was very reasonable. We will definitely return – not least to try some of the interesting sea bream, duck, Guinea fowl and venison dishes.
KimT reviewed Kahani on Fri 21 Jun 2019Review disclosure: reviewer was invited to review