My quest for ethnic restaurants in London led me to have Uzbeki food at Samarkand this week.
It was also a lovely reunion with a friend who has recently moved back to the homeland across the North Sea, so a double whammy.
Samarkand is a fairly new kid on the block and opened earlier this summer and I had been dying to try it out. The restaurant is located in a basement just off Charlotte Street. It was a bit hard to find as there was only a blackboard outside stating that the buff bouncer was guarding the door to a restaurant and not some swanky nightclub.
I walked downstairs down the blue tiled staircase into the restaurant where I was welcomed by a friendly hostess. I was slightly early so I was led to the bar to wait for here there. I ordered a glass of pinot grigio, which set me back a whopping £8 a 175ml glass. And that was one of the cheaper ones. However, I'd booked a pre-theatre dinner, which would offset the price of the plonk.
When my friend arrived we ordered our food. I kicked off with the pumpkin dumplings or manti and Michelle opted the samsa, which are handmade pastries filled with beef. Our curiosity was piqued by the pumpkin and liquorice soup, so we ordered a portion of that to share as well. I loved the manti, however I think I would have preferred the meaty ones. Michelle was a bit disappointed with the amount of onions in the samsa, so I ended up eating those as well.
The soup was delicious. You couldn't really tasted the liquorice, but it certainly added a very distinct kick to it.
My main was a buttermilk marinated lamb shaslik that came with a light cabbage salad. And Michelle had the chicken with Samarkand rice.
For £18 for 3-course menu we couldn't leave out dessert and they also sounded incredibly tempting. I had a thyme and chilli poached pear which was encrusted with edible flowers and served on a bed of crushed biscuits. Michelle had a baklava cake, floating in a creamy sauce which tasted like Christmas.
We were both so pleased with our evening at Samarkand and the fact that the wine came at a hefty price, was easily balanced out by the quality and the size of portions of our food. Great place for a girlie night out.