Omnicron has caused panic for everyone, especially the hospitality industry. This is certainly the case for Colonel Saab, an authentic Indian restaurant which launched in October and is yet to hit its stride despite huge potential.
Stepping through the 500 year old doors as the traditional jazz music hits you, you would not think you were in the old Holborn town hall. The high-ceiling venue is decked top-to-bottom with the most exquisite art and vintage artefacts including Handwoven Persian silk carpets and Tanjore paintings – there is almost too much to look at!
We enjoyed a crisp bottle of house white which was perfectly paired with everything we tasted. A word for the wise, when visiting Colonel Saab, ask for help from the staff, they know the dishes like the back of their hand and will guide you towards delicious aromas and flavours that far exceed the ones you would find in any old takeaway.
Colonel Saab does indeed take everything you know about Indian cooking and share with you the most authentic and fresh taste. For example, the poppadoms are served with delicious fresh tomato chilli and mango chutney, which is unrecognisable from its jarred counterpart. Our starters included a fantastic Daal which had all the comfort of a traditional style but included a crispy and flavourful seasoning to take it up a level. We also had paneer marinated in five spices which packed a punch and demonstrated how well this cuisine does vegetarian food without any compromise!
Choosing Colonel Saab’s mains are a struggle due to the sheer choice and we were recommended the creamy poached Bengali fish. Not sure if just myself, but perhaps some additional spice would have really taken it from excellent to phenomenal. On the other hand, the Sunday Lamb was a bit too spicy for me and almost eye watering at points. However, these were undoubtedly saved once again by the creaminess of the beautifully balanced Daal. Also, the fluffy roti and naan were perfect for mopping up every last ounce of this.
If you have any space for a desert, choose the Indian take on the classic Tarte Tatin. This was made up of caramelised pineapple with a sprinkle of pepper in the signature crispy on the outside and sticky in the middle pastry and was on the right side of unusual.
Colonel Saab is the perfect spot to enjoy a cosy dinner when you can really relish the expertise and knowledge that goes into every bite of food. It differentiates itself from the numerous gourmet Indian spots available in London through the extensive focus on authenticity and traditional taste. If possible, choose to sit on the balcony to overlook the curated decor as well as the hustle and bustle of this spot and transport yourself to South Asia.