Address: 636 Fulham Road, SW6 5RT
Cuisine Type: Indian (Hyderabadi)
Specialising in Hyderabadi cuisine, Dalcha opened its doors to the public at the beginning of 2013. This stylish new Indian restaurant, decorated in subtle shades with the odd splash of bright colour, has well spaced tables and a fresh, almost minimalist but classic quality. Its subdued lighting and low level background music add atmosphere, helping to create a comfortable environment in which to relax and enjoy an evening. There’s a small bar to the rear of the restaurant at which customers waiting for a take away order, or perhaps waiting for a table, can sit and have a drink, maybe one of Dalcha’s house cocktails, before enjoying their meal.
We started our meal at Dalcha with some plain and spicy pappadums, served with the restaurant’s home-made chutneys, all three of which had good, rich depth of flavour, more so than most others I have tasted. We then shared three starter dishes; chaat, a chick pea and potato dish, which had some light spicing as well as tamarind, and some slight chilli heat coming through in the mix of flavours. Lasuni Jingey was two good sized, beautifully cooked, king prawns that had been marinated in mustard oil, yoghurt, garlic, ginger and lemon: these crustacean were tender with a subtle, but good depth of flavour, and came with a good dipping sauce which complimented them really well. The Chicken 65, a dish with a number of anecdotal and folk lore stories attached to its origins, was comprised of tender chunks of chicken that were well seasoned giving a good, rich depth of spiciness together with a chilli/ginger heat coming through. The chicken 65 was completed with strips of capsicum that were just cooked, leaving them nicely al dente, their sweetness combined perfectly with the deliciously seasoned chicken. All three of these starter dishes were full of good fresh flavours and hardly a trace of oil perceptible.
We chose two mains dishes and a dal side for our next course, the Karahi chicken Hyderabadi had tender and moist chunks of tender chicken breast in a thick sauce of capsicum and onion, those giving the whole dish a sweetness that balanced its spicing perfectly. Lamb Dalcha, the restaurant’s signature dish, was a must to choose and it didn’t disappoint, it had a great rich depth of subtle, soft spicing. The meat had a little resistance to the bite but was tender and was supported well by its lentil based meaty sauce. The dal Bukhara had amazing flavour, a vegetarian dish which I understand is slow cooked for the best part of 24 hours with water added at intervals, then cream and butter, to give it its rich meaty flavour and creamy texture. With this we chose the Kashmiri pulau rice which was light and fluffy with a mix of nuts, fruits, capsicum carrot and broccoli combined in it, the sweetness in the mix working well with the other three dishes. And, of course, we chose a garlic nan, which was light and had a good crispness, with a buttery topping that was generously scattered with finely chopped fresh garlic, flavouring it amazingly well. Like the starter dishes these were beautifully flavoured with a great freshness yet amazing depth of flavour.
We really didn’t have room, but were enticed by the dessert menu to the home-made ice creams, a scoop each of creamy and well flavoured vanilla, good rich strawberry and lovely chocolate, with nice chunky bits of chocolate within it. We also had the gulab jamun, which was light and delicate with a lovely soft texture, it wasn’t overly sweet, like some I have tasted and was served with a scoop of the creamy home-made vanilla ice cream. It had to be done and they were a great end to what was a delightful meal.
We accompanied our meal at Dalcha with an Australian red, The Old Press Shiraz, which had nice forest fruits on the palate with lovely vanilla coming through, together with some zingy tang and pepperiness in its finish, at £20 its great value and went well with each of the courses. Service was spot on, attentive, but not overly so. We enjoyed the food and the atmosphere at Dalcha immensely. Starter courses at the restaurant were in the £5 to £7.50 range, mains mostly around the £10 mark, with a few rising towards £15 and sides in the £5 to £6.50 range, the dishes were well priced and great value.
I would absolutely recommend it.