Renowned as an award winning Indian culinary institution for 35 years, Bukhara is recognised as one of the world’s best Indian restaurants and is set to take London by storm at an exclusive two week pop-up at the Sheraton Park Tower hotel in Knightsbridge beginning today. We popped along for the launch last week to see what delights Executive Chef Manjit Gill has recreated from the menu of the Delhi restaurant.
We were treated to a selection of both tasting menus; a vegetarian menu priced at £59.00 and a meat and seafood menu priced at £79.00. Every diner is given a Bukhara apron to wear during the meal. Why? Well, whilst cutlery is available on request, you are encouraged to enjoy the feast in the traditional way, using your hands and the odd strip of naan to scoop up mouthfuls of various dishes.
Apron on and fingers at the ready, our flamboyant waiter enthusiastically explained the menu to our table. To begin the meal, we were served pappadums, chutneys and a variety of naans, parathas and rotis, all fired in the clay Tandoor ovens, brought over from India especially. The main dishes arrive and the aromas are overwhelming; platters generously laden with Tandoori Jhinga & Murgh (clay oven fired prawns and chicken) arrived to an audible ‘oohs and ahhhs’ from diners. Plump, perfectly cooked prawns and tender, mouth-watering morsels of chicken, each marinated in a delicious spicy coating and charred to juicy perfection.
One of Bukhara’s signature dishes of Sikandri Raan arrives at the table; a whole leg of spring lamb, marinated in vinegar and spices and finished in a tandoor, served with delicious potatoes stuffed with spicy mixture of chillies, raisins, cashews and spices and once again finished in the Tandoor oven. Accompaniments of mixed vegetables, flame-roasted stuffed peppers and the most wonderful paneer we’ve ever tasted followed. Every diner was given their very own earthenware pot of the famous Dhal Bukhara – made using whole black lentils, tomatoes, ginger and garlic and cooked over coals for 18 hours. Rich, creamy and utterly delicious, but impossible to resist.
Dessert, for those who are brave enough to make room was Gulab jamun, rose water syrup-soaked fried dumplings and Phirni pudding with milk, ground rice and cardamom, rounding of the feast beautifully along with a nice cup of Darjeeling tea.
In true Bollywood style, a stylish tented bar area has been created on the terrace adjacent to the dining room for the duration of the pop-up, designed by Indian actor Waris Ahluwalia.
The pop-up is now fully booked, however we have been told that they will be releasing a ‘second-sitting’ to try and accommodate more lucky diners, so it's worth trying your luck to see if you can snag yourself a spot.