Kasturi

Tel: +44 (0)20 7480 7402
Address: 57 Aldgate High Street, EC3N 1AL
Cuisine Type: Indian
nearest tube station Aldgate

KasturiThose of you who have read my recent reviews will know that a trip to India earlier this year has resulted in all kinds of withdrawal symptoms. For everyone else, now you know why I have visited so many Indian restaurants in the past few months. But, hearing about a Rajasthani food festival at Kasturi sent me into a paroxysm of craving, because this was the very region we had travelled in.

A stone’s throw from the City, Kasturi has obviously been fitted out to cater to the business diner. Light wooden flooring, matching wooden tables and chairs and rather nondescript modern art form the pleasant, if rather sanitised, backdrop for your meal, a far cry from the flock wallpaper hung with an obligatory picture of the Taj Mahal of more traditional establishments.

The menu is wide ranging, with a few favourites, but many more unusual dishes that I have not seen on other menus in London. We started with dal bati (£4.95), tasty dumplings stuffed with lentils originating from Jaipur served with vibrant red tomato and green coriander sauces, and bada jam (£3.95), thick slices of aubergine topped with coriander yogurt. Both were excellent choices as appetisers, not too heavy but packed full of flavour.

Main courses continued to impress, with a spicy lamb biryani (£10.95), golden grains of basmati slow cooked with a generous portion of tender lamb, and the thali royal (£9.95), featuring a mild and creamy chicken curry, a medium spicy lamb, black lentil dal and spinach, accompanied by raitha, pulao rice and fluffy garlic naan. We also had a side order ofbharwan tinda (£3.95), an unusual dish of stuffed gourds that ended up being the highlight of our meal.

I’ll be returning to try the likes of amrud ki subzi (guava curry), patiala shahi gosht (a lamb curry apparently originally prepared for the royals in the Punjab) and lal mass, a Rajasthani “red hot” lamb dish.

Kasturi don’t appear to do desserts (they might have something if you ask; we didn’t), but we were at that comfortably full stage and any more food would have pushed us into the uncomfortably stuffed zone, so it was probably a good thing.

In short, this is a great place for business dinners, relaxed out-of-office lunches, and perhaps most importantly, for relieving the craving of a self-confessed curry addict.

– Tracy Yam, 05/2006

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