Many would call Pan Asian cuisine ‘Jack of all trades, Master of none.’ I beg to differ, having travelled around South East Asia for my ‘Elective’ for 6 weeks I found that many of the restaurants there like to mix it up as well. I too sometimes fancy a Tom Yum soup followed by Roti Canai with some Laksa. Needless to say here are some of my top halal picks in London:
Posh Nosh if you got the Dosh: Tamarai
This should be reserved for a special evening-20 ‘cough’ something birthday or so. The black interior with massive blingtastic chandeliers is stunning, and the food is not bad either. I did not pay on this occasion but I would guess the average price is around £50 a head. A group of us went and shared several small and large plates. My favourites amongst them were the Caramelised Szechuan pepper King Prawns and the mouth wateringly succulent tender Braised Lamb Shank, Malay curry with astina cress. Unfortunately we could not taste some of the Chef’s compliments such as the beautifully presented Foie Gras but the halal options were more than welcome. The desert was a safe but delicious option of Warm chocolate fondant- the menu does not mention the little sprinklings of passion fruit which compliment the oozing chocolate and cool icecream ever so well. Only disappointment at the time was some of the toilets are shared with the adjoining restaurant (yes I know a tiny detail but I like a sparkly loo).
All that Glitters without the Gold: Cocochan
This is a relatively new and quirky place just behind Selfridges amongst many other restaurants on St James Street. The interior is funky and fresh and the menu is great and is suitable for a nice healthy (unless you’re me and order calamari in all its deep fried goodness) lunch with the girls or an intimate evening dinner with the other half. The menu is very extensive!! You are really spoilt for choice here. I would avoid the Crabmeat and sweetcorn soup-a little bland and slimey for me but the Chilli Squid, Shichimi Salt with Sweet Chilli is perfectly cooked and hits the spot on a cold winter day. I also tried the Crispy Duck Leg with Pancakes. The duck meat remained moist on the inside with a nice crisp skin, sadly the bland pancakes failed to impress. My friends ordered many other dishes all of which had great blends of flavour. There were also several Sushi, Sashimi and Dim Sum options to taste. Average price £20-£25 a head.
Last but not least: Banana Tree
A large variety of menu options, low lighting and benches for seating makes for a nice cosy dinner with friends. Also won’t cost a hole in the pocket. Now a chain, there are 5 different locations- my favourite being Bayswater where another 20 *cough* something birthday was celebrated.