Monday, 5 September 2016

Samarkand

Modern Uzbeki cuisine 


Hand-made puff pastry parcels filled with beef & lamb
and beef & lamb manti


Smarkand is a brand new restaurant just opened in Fitzrovia, located on the former site of the Spanish restaurant Fino. Smarkand is all about cuisine from the nation of Uzbekistan. While I have no knowledge of Uzbeki food, I am pretty sure the cooking has been given a western refinement to make it more palatable for the locals. The menu is fairly long with a large choice of starter dishes. Smarkand has an impressive vodka list with some rare brands, which you normally could only find in special retails. I am an admirer of the decor, it is dark and exotic with a touch a modern edge.


Uzbek style smoked aubergine caviar
Poached fillet of veal, heritage radish and white cabbage
Dover sole skewer
Poached rainbow trout in a shellfish broth with
vegetables and keta caviar

The beef and lamb manti reminded me a lot of the Northern Chinese dumplings, the skin could have been a little thinner for me and the meat mixture could have been a touch more seasoned. The dover sole skewer was fairly enjoyable, it has a settled hint of smoky flavour while remained moist on the inside. However it was very questionable at £14 for such a tiny piece of fish fillet. Dish of the day has to be the "Samarkand Plov" according to the menu, it is the national dish of Uzbekistan: A plate of rice with beef short ribs. The beef was very tender with the perfect ratio of lean and fat. The rice itself was also flavoursome with the combination of onion and pomegranate, it added a lovely mix of fresh and sharp flavours. The dessert was a major disaster, unfortunately the poached peach tasted like something out from a tin. 
Pan-fried marinated baby chicken
Pan fried rack of lamb served with potato cake
and fresh herbs & onion salad
Beef short rib slowly cooked together with hand cut carrots,
onions, chickpeas, barberries and rice.
Chilli & thyme poached peach with pistachio crumble
and barberry ice cream

While I don't have enough information or experience in Uzbeki cuisine. One thing for sure is the food is not a good value at all, especially for the starter dishes. It is simply far too expensive for both the quality and the portion sizes. To put into prospective, my bill would cost beyond the £80 mark and that is a tasting menu in a 1 Michelin star restaurant in London. I feel the restaurant has some work to do to refine the menu and pricing to make it more accessible and more appealing for people to try. Time will tell if this restaurant can put Uzbeki cuisine work in London and become the pioneer of it.  


Food 2.5/5

What I paid: 

£37 per head with wine (soft launch offer)

Average cost without drinks and services:

£40

33 Charlotte St, London W1T 1RR


http://samarkand.london/



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