Friday, January 11, 2008

Rasa W1, London

6 Dering Street
London W1S 1AD

Just off Oxford Street is Rasa W1. It used to be a totally vegetarian Indian restaurant, but has now added some meat and seafood dishes to the menu. However, it is still a real haven for veggies as there is a wealth of meat-free dishes to choose from.

This was another Toptable booking, and as soon as I mentioned my name we were shown to our reserved table.

We ordered some snacks to start which consisted of a selection of pappadom type "crisps" including Achappam, a flower shaped snack made of rice flour and coconut, black sesame seeds and cumin seeds, Pappadavadai, pappadoms dipped in a light batter of rice flour, cumin and sesame seeds and fried, Banana Chips and Murukku, crunchy sticks made from roasted rice flour, black sesame seeds and cumin seeds. These were accompanied by small bowls containing garlic pickle, lemon pickle, mixed vegetable pickle, mango pickle, pickle coconut chutney and coriander chutney.

For starters we chose the Rasa Platter a selection of vegetarian starters that consisted of battered banana slices served with peanut and ginger sauce, fried potato balls served with a creamy coconut chutney, fried battered aubergine slices with a fresh tomato chutney and a spongy dumpling served with coconut chutney.

Both the snacks and the starters were really nice, especially the banana slices. We were still finishing the snacks when the starters arrived and I was worried at this point that we might be too full to enjoy the rest of the meal, but despite the batter dumplings and potatoes, it all seemed to be quite light.

For the main course I ordered Beet Cheera Pachadi which, according to the menu is traditionally only served at wedding feasts. It consists of fresh beetroot and spinach in a coconut yoghurt sauce. It was very pink and tasted great.

Also on the table were a spinach and toor dal, stir fried savoy cabbage and rasam, a lentil soup which we poured over the rice. It was really good.

On the side we also shared some rice pancake things that were ideal for mopping up the various sauces.

By the end of the night we were all pleasantly full, but not overfull. The service throughout the night from the moment we walked in, to the time we left was really friendly and very efficient.

The whole meal, including drinks and tip (which was included in the bill) came to just over thirty quid each which wasn't bad at all.

If you're in Oxford Street and get a hankering for a curry, then Rasa W1 is definitely worth a visit.

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