Colonel Saab Trafalgar Square

colonel Saab restaurant interior

Centrally located in London’s West End just off The Strand and a stone’s throw from Trafalgar Square, Colonel Saab, which opened in November last year, is the perfect setting for either a pre-theatre dinner or a leisurely lunch or dinner with family, friends or business colleagues. It is the second of restaurateur Roop Partap Choudhary’s restaurants to open in London, following the success of his Holborn multi-award-winning Indian restaurant.

On my recent lunchtime visit to try out Colonel Saab’s special tasting menu, I was intrigued to see what they had done to the space as I was very familiar with the previous restaurant that occupied the building.

Much like the original Colonel Saab in Holborn, the Trafalgar Square restaurant has a meticulously curated menu and art, with recipes and numerous artefacts collected by the Choudhary family on their travels across the continent adorning all the walls around both the downstairs and upstairs space.

Downstairs, the sleek bar and lounge area are retained, while the main dining room area is bathed in light, particularly on a bright, sunny day by a canopy of ornate chandeliers from Firozabad, suspended from a grand glass atrium. In addition, there are three private dining rooms that are ideal for special occasions or private meetings.

Colonel Saab Trafalgar Square bar area

The story behind the restaurants is an interesting one, as Roop Partap Choudhary created Colonel Saab as a “love letter” to his family and India with the Holborn restaurant named the UK’s Best Asian Restaurant at the Asian Curry Awards, Best Newcomer at British Curry Awards, Best Restaurant in Feed the Lion awards and was also awarded Harden’s Certificate of Achievement, with Roop Partap Choudhary commenting:

“We opened Colonel Saab in 2021 to celebrate India’s diverse cultures and introduce the capital to the authentic flavours and textures, which are lovingly prepared at homes, street markets and royal kitchens across India.

“And we are humbled that our Holborn restaurant was welcomed so enthusiastically by the capital, that have been able to open a second Colonel Saab, near Trafalgar Square.”

Colonel Manbeer was given the honorific name ‘Colonel Saab’ while serving in the Indian Army and his many postings across India gave him and his wife the opportunity to experience the continent’s rich diversity of food from traditional local lunches in the tents of Rajasthan to British-inspired Indian breakfasts in the Officer’s Mess, as well as banquets hosted by Indian nobility and Maharajas.

When ‘Colonel Saab’ and his wife returned home, they decided to channel their unique experiences into serving the community, initially opening a modest hotel, followed by a boutique and palace hotel, which are now managed by their son Roop who began his work life in their hotel kitchens as a young man and continues the proud legacy of hospitality that spans more than three decades, with Colonel Saab.

Colonel Saab Rasam

Executive Chef Sohan Bhandari oversees both London restaurants and has created a menu that offers an imaginative, multi-sensory experience of India taking you on a culinary journey around the country. This is also extended to the drink’s menu, with a Masala Dabba or spice box of artisanal gins, whiskies and rums based on Indian botanicals that have been created with the Diageo mixology team designed to complement the food and named after Choudhary’s family members.

The all-day dining menu introduces you to progressive takes on nostalgic dishes such as British and Indian fusion afternoon high tea and regional favourites that are rarely served in the UK, like the Sunday Lamb Curry, the Falahari Curry Kofta and the popular Gutti Vankaya, which is an Andhra curry served with baby aubergines in a tangy tamarind gravy.

Memsaab’s Tasting Menu, priced at £80 per person, is what I was here to try, and takes you on culinary journey with a curation of Chef Sohan Bhandari’s own culinary heritage and signature dishes as an ode to Indian homemakers and traditional food. It is also a great way to experience a wide range of dishes from the main menu.

Colonel Saab also has a comprehensive international wine list with many labels available both by the glass and bottle, which is good to see. We chose a superb Chilean Tamarind Garden Syrah Cabernet which is also available by the glass and bottle (£32) and paired really well with our meal.

The five course tasting menu, with the option of additional cocktail, champagne or wine pairing, opens with Rasam, which is a South Indian tomato and lentil rasam served with mini idli and tasty puffed pastry bites, followed by Marwad’s Raj Kachori, which is a delicious mix of spiced chickpeas and potato, trio sauce, pomegranate seed boondi, savoury crisp, herbal jam and black lime chaat masala.

Colonel Saab Tasting Menu

You then have a choice of either Kandhari Paneer Tikka, which is a seasoned cottage cheese stuffed with prunes and pomegranate in tomato, served with a garlic mustard salsa or an Anglo Indian Chicken Chop, which is a Madras spiced pulled chicken cutlet served with a salad and tomato raisin relish.

A palette cleanser of Alphonso Mango Sorbet is a welcome interlude before you are presented with the main event and choice of either a very tasty Sunday Lamb Curry with cumin potato, dal makhani, steamed rice and accompanied with a butter naan or Nadan Fish Curry with beans poriyal, dal makhani, steamed rice and Malabar paratha. Alternatively, you can opt for the vegetarian option of Falahari Kofta Curry which is a beetroot and lotus kofta curry with beans poriyal, dal tadka, steamed rice and zaatat and olive roti.

If you have any room left after that feast and I mean feast, as there is a lot of food to get through, you will then be presented with a choice between the Mishti Doi Cheesecake which is a Bengali dessert of sweetened and flavoured yoghurt cake with a Bengal lime and jaggery syrup or the Raspberry, Pistachio and Coconut Tart, which is a raspberry mousse in coco-pista tart, passionfruit pearls, berries and pistachio sprinkle. The cheesecake was the clear winner for me and a perfect way to round off a fabulous meal accompanied with an excellent espresso before emerging from the restaurant after a rather long but most enjoyable lunch.

I must also mention that Colonel Saab caters really well for anyone with special dietary requirements, as my guest suffers from celiac disease. The kitchen was, however, able to offer a wide range of gluten free dishes that were just as good as my dishes.

These two London restaurants continue the family tradition of celebrating the vibrant and diverse culture of India’s food and history with humility, elegance and originality by the delightful team who looked after us superbly. So, if you are looking for a good quality Indian restaurant in the West End, I would certainly recommend a visit to Colonel Saab in Trafalgar Square.

The Details

Colonel Saab Trafalgar Square, 42 William IV Street, London, WC2N 4DD, England.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8016 6800



Conveniently located between Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross Station, which is just a two-minute walk away, Colonel Saab is open Monday to Sunday from midday to 9:45pm.

Type of Restaurant: Modern Indian Restaurant

Price Band: Medium to high

Insider Tip: You won’t need another meal that day if you have Memsaab’s Tasting Menu as there are a lot of dishes. And if it’s too much they will obligingly offer you a doggy bag to take home.

Reviewer’s rating: 9/10

Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a former member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.

Photographs courtesy of Colonel Saab

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.