BABUR, LONDON

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I let my boyfriend choose the restaurant this time, and boy done good. An Indian evening with a difference, Babur was a breath of fresh air and with a menu that hailed a departure from the old favourites, in a good way.

We’re poles apart in so many ways but one of the things we have in common is spice. We can’t get enough heat. As a result we are always, always, on the hunt for great Asian restaurants, more often than not, Indians. Having had a nosy at Babur’s menu I was seriously intrigued. No one is keener on a good madras or pathia than I, but this was a whole new proposition. Their menu showcases original combinations and different meats, the likes of goat and rabbit, and had my interest well and truly peaked.

I can’t say we’ve ever explored Brockley so trying to locate the restaurant wasn’t as straight forward as you might imagine in the dark and the rain. However, a tip for any of you that try, it’s the restaurant with the giant tiger above the door. Rest assured, the interior decoration is much more subtle. Exposed brickwork, warm colours and mood lighting was welcome relief. We were quickly seated and ordered in a jiffy. I think the waiters were surprised how swift we were (probably having read and re-read the menu in advance hastens decision making).

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We weren’t drinking but I did peruse the cocktails list, all of which were tempting fusion flavours. I’ll definitely grab one if I ever head back. Poppadoms arrived with four tasty dips. A bit more interesting than usual but nothing to write home about. The starters are where things started to take off. Those goat patties were knock out; intelligently spiced, delicious soft meat with sweet tamarind and raisin chutney and hot mint sauce. The scallops we ordered were decidedly more subtle (definitely one to eat first if you’re sharing). Beautifully cooked scallops but maybe the cauliflower fritters were a little claggy for my liking, my boyfriend disagreed though so one which divided the table.

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Mains were similarly fabulously spiced and just really refreshingly different. I went for the chicken bhatti, which was served on the bone in a magnificent sauce. I’ll concede presentation wasn’t quite as striking as the flavours but with indian it’s hard to glam it up, nor do I think that’s what’s important. The goat curry was equally punchy but less rich without a creamy sauce. The only thing I really didn’t fall for was the spinach and mushroom side. I wouldn’t bother with it again. Next to the powerhouse flavours we already had it just didn’t even make it into the arena.

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At this point in any Indian meal I generally can’t stomach anything else. I am full to the rafters but I should mention they do also have a more impressive dessert menu that is considerably more interesting than any I’ve ever seen. Akin to their cocktail offering, the desserts sound scrumptious fusion takes on some classics, cumin chocolate fondant or white chocolate mousse, among others.

On another note, keep a keen eye on the offers section of their website. For our visit we used the 50% off mains voucher which definitely helped the whole evening come in a bit closer to budget if still a little pricier than your average takeaway so when you’re next considering Indian in London, maybe venture somewhere different and give Babur a go.

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