Malabar restaurant
'Good value for money and charming service' at Malabar


Open seven days a week 1pm–3pm and 6.30pm–midnight

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve lived in the area for five years and have only just made my first visit to family-run Indian restaurant, Malabar. I’d met a Hillgate Village resident at a recent press event, who insisted I try the ‘local institution’, so I booked a table for myself and three local creative friends for a Tuesday evening.  

The three-storey restaurant was soon full of groups of locals, friends and couples, and the volume of chatter steadily rose throughout our visit. The slightly cramped, smart interior features hues of grey, crisp white linens and photographs of architectural landscapes lining the walls: the kind of room that let us know we were in an above-average Indian restaurant and were in for a lively evening.

The artist flatmates shared a ‘large’ portion of ‘delicious’ marinated king prawns (£10.75), which had been cooked in the tandoor with cumin and lemon, while the fashion stylist plumped for six tandoori chicken wings (£5.10), which had been marinated in yoghurt and spices – these were deemed to be ‘full of flavour, but a bit overcooked’ – to start. I got the worst dish: roasted sweet peppers (£4.85), which were oily and looked like an accompaniment to a meat dish. Next, I had a vegetable biryani (£8), which was fresh and light, but also bland and a bit watery. The meat eaters mostly fared better: the monkfish curry (£12.20) was ‘spicy, but not overpowering’; the gosht masala (lamb cooked in yoghurt, mint and spices; £8.10) and nimbu gosht (lamb flavoured with spices and lemon zest; £7.50) both boasted deliciously tender meat although the nimbu gosht was a bit bitter due to lemon rind having been left in the dish.  We washed our meal down with a good South African chenin blanc (£16).

Brightly-coloured aniseed-flavoured 100s and 100s arrived with tooth picks while we mulled over the dessert menu. The cardomom-flavoured kulfi was refreshing; the creamy, sweet mango fool was voted the best dessert, while the banana dessert (all £3.50 each) lacked presentation.
We agreed that the restaurant was better than the bog-standard Indian: the fresh food was good value for money and the service was charming, if a little slow, but there was definitely room for improvement, especially for the vegetarian dishes.

Meal for two, with wine, about £70.

Malabar, 27 Uxbridge Street, W8;; 020 7727 8800

Restaurants |