Pre-Prom and looking for spice South Ken didn’t seem all that promising, its independent trade having largely succumbed to the crushing onslaught of the chains since I first used to come to SK when my children were wee bairns. But we found Shikara tucked away in Rue de Bute and rolled the dice.
The room is pleasant enough and Bute Street itself is fairly quiet, although I’m not sure that the lonely pavement table looks all that appealing. We chose to stay indoors. The offer is your standard tandoori fare. Chef’s specials up front, jalfrezi/biryani/dhal in the middle, veg, sundries then the filthy English stuff – Madras/Vindaloo/Chips – hidden away at the back.
A starter of shami kebab was a bit disappointing with not enough spice for my taste. The poppadoms though were excellent with a good selection of chutneys. A main of one of the chef’s specials was ok but again not as spicy as I was hoping. I guess this shows the value of cultivating your local curry house – you get to learn what they mean by mild, medium and hot. Visiting an Indian at random you don’t have the time to work out what’s good for your palate.
The service was friendly and there was the usual Cobra-Kingfisher face off which provoked the thought of why aren’t Indian restaurants getting into the craft beer game? While I’m sure there are commercial incentives for them to live within the C-K duopoly (although I’ve sometimes seen Heineken on offer too) it’s a shame that local brews seem to be the domain of your Dishooms rather than reaching down to the independent sector.
So we rolled out of Shikara content but not wowed. Which is okay, the bill was reasonable for the area. Stephen Osborne doing the Britten Piano Concerto at the RAH on the other was utterly sensational.
To see where else I’ve eaten in 2016 go to the GoogleMap here
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).