Kemey and I were treated to a delicious meal over the weekend at pan-Indian restaurant Carom at Meza. Based on past experiences, I figured we were in for a more than decent dinner when I made the reservation, but expectations were exceeded and both of us came away glad to add one more reliably good and centrally located restaurant to our list of quality venues worth keeping in mind.
I’d visited Carom once before to attend a rice masterclass hosted by Green Saffron Basmati Rice. It was a blogger group event – and I had a blast – but I didn’t actually get the chance to dive into the menu and explore what the kitchen was all about. However, it must be said that I enjoyed what I ate so much that I actually used Executive Chef Balaji Balachander’s biryani recipe as a basis for my own creation soon after. So, it was really nice to be invited back to have a proper go at the menu, and it was super hospitable of the folks at Carom to accommodate us on a bustling Saturday night!
Dinner commenced with a few spot on starters. Soft shell crab (deep fried with south Indian spices, £6.75) was excellent as was the chilli squid (crisp fried with spice mix and coriander dip, £5). Kemey’s selection of Achari mushrooms (char grilled with pickling spices and mint chutney, £5.75) was surprisingly moreish. My main course of lamb “Laal Maas” (slow braised, Rajasthani style, £9.90) was hearty with a bit of heat. I’d have it again. Ice cream for my dessert soothed and pleased. I loved the pistachio (£1.50 per scoop or £4.25 for a platter).
Prices seemed very reasonable, and portions were pretty generous. Service was speedy, gracious and helpful. We took our smiling server’s advice and when with a bottle of Barbera. It went down a charm with all the dishes and seemed especially well suited for the squid and my lamb.
Carom is a fine establishment doing a great job staying apace with Soho’s increasingly competitive dining and drinks scene (there’s an expansive and commendable cocktail bar at the front of the restaurant – and, of course, the Floridita nightclub just downstairs). You can’t beat the location for meeting up with friends “in town”, and I think Carom offers a more than safe bet if you’re looking for a venue that takes pride in providing friendly and efficient service. I was really impressed.
Another tasty reason to visit at the moment might be the newly launched seasonal set menu (two courses for £10, three at £15):
Mustard and curry leaf tempered potato balls “Bonda” with coconut and coriander chutney;
Chicken tikka “Adrakai” char grilled and served with sprouted lentil salad;
“Shammi Kebab”, grounded lamb kebab with aromatic spices, pomegranate raita and mint chutney.
“Paneer pasanda”, Indian cottage cheese with cashew and yoghurt gravy and masala rice;
Pan seared salmon with spring vegetable stew and lemon rice;
Tandoor grilled chicken supreme with green pea khichdi and “makhani” sauce.
Passion fruit panna cotta, raspberry and mint couli;
Sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and cinnamon ice cream;
Rich carrot fudge with pistachio kulfi.
Visit Carom at 100 Wardour Street, W1F 0TN. Find out more at caromsoho.com.