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Darbaar

Darbaar by Abdul Yaseen

Indian cuisine is sure to please most people in a large group. For business dinners, it can be a struggle to balance the desire for a good curry with stylish interiors that can impress even the most discerning client. Darbaar by Abdul Yaseen ticks all the boxes in that respect.

When I visit with Leeanne Graham from Women in Sport, we’re invited into the atmospheric bar, where we settle on velvet stools while sipping on Indian-inspired cocktails – a martini for her and a cinnamon mai tai for me. Our bartender tells us he’s come to Darbaar from the longest bar in Europe, which goes to show the level of craftsmanship you can expect at the restaurant.

When we move into the main dining room, we’re flabbergasted by how much the venue opens up; the ceiling skyrockets to create enough space for beautiful fabric to be draped from the ceiling, while the outer wall of windows allows in just the right amount of natural light. The kitchen is open to the whole space, so we sit and watch the chefs hard at work while we wait for the first course.

Chef Abdul has recommended the Menu Dawaat, which offers a three-course sampling of some of the restaurant’s best dishes. The starter brings a date samosa, perfectly cooked salmon tikka and a slightly spicy lamb kebab.

The main course with sides fills every available space on the table – spiced paneer (cheese), incredibly tasty Kerala spiced shrimp and possibly the best butter chicken I’ve ever had, as well as daal (black lentils), naan bread and pilau rice to share. Leeanne and I are doing the polite thing of offering first dibs on seconds to each other, but it’s so amazing that secretly I’m itching to finish it on my own.

Astonishingly we’re not uncomfortably full, so we happily welcome a spiced carrot cake and lemon figs with milky chai tea. It’s the perfect end to a fantastic meal.

Before we leave we take a tour of the restaurant’s two private dining spaces – one behind the wine coolers that seats 20 and another with a window overlooking the kitchen for more intimate dinners of up to 12. All in all, Darbaar is ideally suited for business meetings and they even do a take-away menu for lunch.

Menu Dawaat costs £35 per person and is also available for take-away

The PA verdict
I like to have a secret stash of restaurants that I can wow my chief executive with and that’s exactly what I can do with Darbaar. In the heart of the city, close to Moorgate and Liverpool Street, it is perfect for business dinners.

After a quick cocktail at the bar (make mine a martini), we headed into the main restaurant. The dining room was spacious, with plenty of room and privacy for those important business dinners.

We couldn’t turn down the chef’s tasting menu, which was an absolute feast! Starters of tasty samosas, salmon (skin slightly crispy, as it should be) and lamb kebab; never over spicy but oh so full of flavour.

The service was very quick but not rushed and soon after starters our mains were beautifully served. Creamy butter chicken, juicy spiced prawns and an abundance of rice, lentils and bread.

We left room for dessert and the gorgeous warm carrot cake with lemon figs really hit the spot.

Fantastic food, great service and a place I will happily send my boss for client dinners.
Leeanne Graham, Crew Leader, Women in Sport

Darbaar, 1 Snowden Street, Broadgate Quarter, London EC2A 2DQ; 020 7422 4100; darbaarrestaurants.com