RESTAURANT REVIEW: BABUR | SOUTH EAST LONDON

Indian cooking isn’t easy, especially the mint and yoghurt dip...

...but the guys at Babur have been doing it the raita way for 32 years.

If London’s Indian restaurants had a Mughal Emperor, it would be Babur. When you arrive at this Forest Hill curry house, be prepared for a bit of a shock. Firstly because you’ll be greeted by a life-size fibreglass tiger prowling across the roof, and secondly because as you sit down you’ll be offered the tasting menu.

And if you’re of the opinion that a curry house with decent decor is rarer than a short Bollywood movie (and normally less tasteful), then Babur’s simple open brickwork interior, low-level lighting and local artwork will be a warming surprise. But really you’re coming for,

The Food

The menu is the right mix of things that sound enticing, things that sound unusual and things that you’ve never heard of. All are mouth wateringly good. Start with Gurkhali ostrich tikka, szechuan pepper, celery and mooli sesame chutney, followed by the kasundi king prawns, bengali mustard, spiced puffed rice and green papaya murabba, and finish with cumin chocolate fondant and salted caramel gelato. Flavours that only get better with,

The Drinks

Next to every dish there are suggested wine pairings. They’re available by the glass, good value (typically six or seven pounds each) and often with a choice of red or white (or have both). The cocktails are so good that they could stop doing the food and you’d still vote it your favourite Indian restaurant. They’ve nailed the classics, and the experimental list uses banging ingredients like saffron syrup, clove smoke and homemade coriander masala.

After all that food and drink you’ll need a lie down, just make sure you’ve got a soft pilau and a decent madras.