• Spicy Food Plus (Near Victoria)
Very basic chicken curry with rice and potato cutlet dotted with minced lamb. Cheap, nothing special nothing bad.
• (The other) Moti Mahal, Kensington
Not the one at Covent Garden, completely different place, ownership etc. A fairly decent chana masala, chickpeas cooked to a decent softness. Fish jalfrezi is primarily perked up by green chilli, among the background of other spices. Gulab jamun was disappointing - overly soft and tired. Basic and ordinary.
• Zayna, Marble Arch/Mayfair
I really liked the soft potatoes in the lamb biryani. There's a few bits of plum, and tender chunks of lamb, the sauce was very pleasant, even if not transcendent. A part of me wanted more caramelised shallots. Satisfying on the whole. A very small serving of a carrot and milk pudding for dessert, spiced with cardamom and saffron for a cool sweetness.
• S&M, Spitalfields
The parsnip mash was nicely seasonal and interesting, with what I perceived to be loose soft pieces of parsnips, almost invisible amidst the mash, rather thna a fully integrated mixture. Mash could be smoother, finer. A decent boar sausage, with a certain meaty intensity and a pheasant sausage, more peppery, lighter. An ok gravy with the appropriate brown flavours. Sticky toffee pudding was nothing special, the sauce needed to insinuated deeper into the pudding.
• Japan Centre, Picadilly
A down to earth chicken katsu don, properly made, with appropriately runny egg and browned onions that are almost smothering the fried chicken cutlet. Not bad if you're inthe nabe.
• Hazuki, Trafalgar Sq.
Japanese cooking from a Chinese crew. Surprisingly decent, even if it's not particularly special. Very finely sliced lotus root, paper thin, the sauce a touch too heavy on soy sauce, for too much umami and perhaps a touch too little light sweetness. Nothing to fault on a stir fry of pork slices, pleasant flavour, contrasting with a ring of julienned vegetables, including raw napa cabbage.
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