Where: Marylebone

Cuisine: Central Asian (Russo-Uzbek-Kazakhstani )

Swank Levels: 4/5
A British rapper was filming his bling new video in the bar when we were dining there, giving an indication of the swank levels.

Samarqand is therefore swank in a strange swish upmarket bar sort of style.
Newly opened it prides itself on and heavily advertises the fact that it specialises in authentic Central Asian cuisine, including food from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan as well as using influences of Russia, China and Mongolia food; really quite unique.

However despite the promise of rare and ‘exotic new flavors’ the emphasis in the design seemed to be on the bar.

Samarqand does have a very chic bar and cocktail lounge at the head of the restaurant. It serves a wide selection of innovative Eastern inspired cocktails and the clean cut, silver and glass d├ęcor of the whole restaurant gives the feel of a cocktail bar, with dining tables in it.

There seems to be an area at the far end of the restaurant near an open-ish kitchen with a few table allocated especially for the diners, but the rest of the tables seem to swim toward the bar. In this way, although Samarqand likes to rightly place emphasis on its distinctive menu, the layout and feel of the restaurant doesn’t seem to follow on from this.

Would I Want Seconds?

The menu here is very unique. The selection includes Shashlik, Russian Herring and Vareniki (traditional Russian flat dumplings) which is what I tried. They  were well cooked, well flavoured and well presented. However although the portions were satisfactory, they wouldn’t be enough if you had worked up an appetite. Also the food isn't very more-ish, so I doubt you would want more of the same thing. In addition although the menu is quite varied, there seem to be more the double the number of pages in the drinks menu.

The dessert menu does have some appetisingly named dessert, but this also doesn’t quite live up to the hype, as the interestingly named Zebra cake with white and dark chocolate turned out to be nothing more than a slice of marble cake.

Could I Afford Second?
No. The food tasted good, and the portions sizes would incline you towards ordering another course, however the prices would put you off doing this. Standard main courses are between £13-£17 but the food served isn't enough to justify the price.

Also, for some strange reason they also only serve pots of tea which costs £10 and don’t offer another option if you just want a cup of mint tea to end your meal.

The restaurant promises a lot but instead offers a bar. With the type of food they aim to specialise in they should focus more on the restaurant side, however as this is a newly opened restaurant, this may be something that will change.

Despite this, if it is a chic bar that you are looking for with five private rooms, all of which have flat screens TV’s and DVD players, karaoke machine and games consoles and inbuilt sound system and you have the money to blow, than this definitely is an option.


Samarqand on Urbanspoon

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