July 3, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 8:32 am

 I had first discovered Memsaab back in July when I was lucky enough to move into a set of student halls next door to the Imperial Wharf complex. After sampling all four restaurants at the wharf (Deep, Memsaab, Yi-Ban and Saran Rom,) I was convinced that, by now, the places would be heaving with well-off young professionals indulging in the great food and gorgeous riverside surroundings.

But, for whatever reason, that doesn’t seem to have happened yet and Memsaab was very quiet on Friday night apart from a few couples and one large group. 

Memsaab is one of the relatively new breed of Indian restaurants aiming for the highest end of the market. It has achieved this very well, providing excellent quality food in beautifully decorated surroundings. The restaurant is very stylish with brightly coloured pictures of ground spices on the walls and little painted pots dotted around. In the centre is a large Yucca (I think) plant surrounded by four little stone elephants. There seems to be enough seating for two hundred at the very least. The staff are excellent. They are very polite and, on the whole, very efficient.  

It is rare that one finds a restaurant menu which leaves you so completely spoilt for choice. Everything looks amazing from the orange-marinated quail starter, to the Syrian duck and chetinaad swordfish main courses  and the rice brulee dessert.

Our food order was taken by the gentleman in charge that evening, who, by his manner, I assumed was one of the owners. I was very glad he turned up as he was very good at giving advice on the dishes. With his recommendations I ordered chilli and coconut scallops followed by lobster curry with lemon and ginger rice. Mum went for the seafood mollee followed by spinach kofta with a cheese and herb naan.  Dad had vegetable samosas followed by paneer and a tandoori paratha. We also ordered some turka dahl and aubergines,

Soon after ordering our amuse bouche arrived. We were handed a beautifully presented aloo pakora with natural yoghurt and a sweet chutney. This was very good. It had a lovely texture and the spicing was perfect. I especially liked the use of dill. Although it was mainly there as a garnish it added a really interesting flavour to the dish.

The starters come in very generous portions. I had five scallops,  which were all perfectly cooked and served in a delicious dressing of coconut and spices. The roes melted in the mouth and the slightly sweet coconut chilli sauce sauce complemented the flavour of the scallops perfectly, especially with a little lime squeezed over. I would never have thought of preparing scallops with such strong flavours but the result was very good. They came served with a  salad of mixed leaves and cherry tomatoes.

The seafood molle starter was also beautifully done. This was a creamy, spicy, lemony broth with squid, scallops and king prawns. The seafood was really tender and the broth had just the right level of spice and lemon to make it delicious. 

My main course of lobster was astounding! It was cooked absolutely perfectly. It was meaty, yet moist and the sauce was gorgeous. 

lobster

My parents’ vegetarian dishes were a bit less exciting but still tasty. I was ambivalent about the spinach kofta. It was good but not astounding.  However, I thought the sauce for the palak paneer was delicious.  The cheese naan that went with it was very tasty, if a little on the heavy side. The side dish of aubergines was a touch oily but it had a really good flavour.

Unfortunately my parents are small eaters and so could not manage dessert. The menu was dominated by kulfi, ice cream and sorbets.

The meat came to £115 for three people including 3 starters, three mains (including lobster), two vegetable side dishes, two naans, rice three soft drinks (including one made specially), a cocktail and two large glasses of wine and the service charge. I think it was well worth the money and I thoroughly recommend this restaurant.

Memsaab’s website. Unfortunately it crashes my browser. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

Relevant additional notes from my first visit to Memsaab: 

The service was faultless and the restaurant was beautiful although very quiet, which was a shame. The menu was exciting and the food beautifully presented and cooked. They have the ability to do an excellent job on both traditional dishes and their own inventions. In particular the lamb korma was delicious and it seemed lot of attention had been payed to the balance of spices which made this dish rise far above the high street curry house versions.  The meal was excellent value for money at £30 per head for two courses, water and wine.

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