Last month saw the opening of Farzi Café in London’s Haymarket, which is promising to change the Indian dining scene by bringing Indian cuisine back “in-Vogue” with a modernist approach, offering diners a tapas style menu in a high energy restaurant space, coupled with a relaxed atmosphere.
The lavish launch party was filled with journalists, Londoners and celebs, such as Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud and DJ Lara Fraser, braving the chilly January evening to have their photographs taken in front of the restaurant.
The first Farzi Café opened in 2014 in New Delhi and caused quite a stir in the city. It was unheard of to transform classic dishes with then new cutting-edge molecular techniques, served with their rather unique panache and style, squarely aimed at Millennials. Today, in 2019, there are now nine successful sites situated across India and one in Dubai. This new opening in London is the tenth addition to the family.
Farzi Café is the brainchild of Zorawar Kalra, the restaurant’s founder, who says that the new location is an “experimental Indian cuisine restaurant that focuses on avant-garde techniques on really cutting-edge food”. He goes on to say that the restaurant “has a great cocktail menu, the first in the world that is based on astrology and a food menu that is illusion” in other words “you will see something, you’re not going to expect what it is, but when you taste it you will know what it is”.
So what can you expect from the menu? Well, dishes like Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie, made with seared wagyu and Masala scotch eggs and a Bhaji Fondu. Not quite what you would expect from a traditional Indian restaurant. But that’s the point. Farzi Café is about the unconventional and out of the ordinary, offering a “a sensory adventure of the traditional fused with the futuristic”.
Step into the modern kitchen, or perhaps we should call it laboratory, and you will find award-winning chef Saurabh Udinia at the helm, conjuring up these fantastic dishes along with his team of chefs, creating some wonderfully experimental Indian cuisine for diners in the capital.
Signature dishes for Farzi Café London include Dal Chawal Arancini, which are Sicilian balls made with dal and chawal and served with aachar, papad and chutney. Tandoori Wild Mushrooms with Truffle and Walnut dust is an interesting sounding one, as is Raj Kachori, which is mini shells with sweet and sour pumpkin topped with chutney foam and a crisp okra salad.
The large laboratory-style bar takes centre stage in the main street level restaurant area and serves a wide range of unique cocktail creations inspired by India’s ancient Hindu past. Interestingly, every cocktail from the Venika Menu, which is Sanskrit for “restoring knowledge”, is created using the latest cocktail making equipment as well as centrifugal machines and yes, even a sonic homogeniser! The end result is a mixture of dark rum, pecan orgeat, toasted sesame oil, ashwagandha and jasmine as well as sugarcane crystals.
If wine is more to your liking, you’re in luck, as Farzi Café stocks a really nice selection of labels from small wine producers.
Farzi Café, 8 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4BP, England.
Tel: +44 (0)20 3981 0090
The restaurant is located in the heart of London’s West End close to both Piccadilly Circus Tube station and Charing Cross Mainline and Tube station. Open daily for lunch from midday to 5:00pm and for dinner Monday to Saturday from 5:00pm to midnight; Sunday from 5:00pm to 10:30pm.
Type of Restaurant: Modern Indian Bistro
Price Band: Medium
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Farzi Café