Sunday, 22 December 2013

Carom

Where: Soho

Cuisine: Pan-Indian

Swank Level: 4/5

Carom really surprised me with how good it actually was. I turned up expecting only to stay for a drink in their very swanky bar but ended up staying for an indulgent meal as well.
Carom, named after the Indian spice also known as ajwain and not the Indian board game, is both a successful bar and restaurant, something which is very hard to achieve.

The decadent and lively bar offers an extensive range of cocktails many of which are infused with Indian spices, herbs and Indian inspired ingredients.

Additionally they have also recently opened a beautifully cosy Tea Light Lounge, an additional snug space for guests to enjoy chai teas, cocktails and snacks during the cold winter months. This lounge is what drew me to try out Carom as it is full of enchanting twinkling lanterns, tea lights and comfortable seating, making it a stunning little place to spend some time. The Tea Light Lounge will be open from 1 November until 28 February 2014 and is defiantly worth a visit.




Would I Want Seconds?
Pan- Indian Bhelpuri


Carom’s menu is very unique. Created by Executive Head Chef Vishnu Natarajan, the menu is an exciting collecting of pan-Indian pairing, often based on the concept of sharing.


We ordered a couple of small plates to start us off including a good quality Bhelpuri, Potli, made up of seasonal vegetable parcels served with mint and tamarind chutney, and poppodums, which I must say were still slightly oily when served. However the highlight of the whole meal was the Chilli Squid small plate; a large bowl of delicious and moreish crispy fried squid with coriander dip.

We also ordered a grill dish of Tandoori Parsnips, an interesting dish which essentially consisted of grilled strips of parsnips, but the addition of turmeric, honey and mint chutney made it more appetising.

Potli: vegetable parcels

Tandoori Parsnips
On the menu there are also Mains made up of curry dishes, tandoori breads and biriyani. Yet as Carom is a Pan-Asian restaurant these are not standard curries, instead diners will find dishes such as Red-Deer Venison, ‘Goan’ Pumpkin Curry and a Vegetable ‘Poriyal’ Stir-fry. These are very exclusive combinations which you will only find in Carom, making it the place to come if you are willing to take a risk and try something experimental.


Additionally, every part of the service is flawless, friendly and extremely attentive despite the large number of covers, which is always appreciated.




Could I Afford Seconds?

The prices at Carom don’t look to expensive at first sight, but diners will be tempted by the menu to order a load of sharing dishes, adding up the total on the bill.

Individually the prices are reasonable, with small plates and grills ranging between £3 - £5, a very good price for the amount of food served. The main courses are between £7 - £9 with Biriyanis at about £9.

The prices therefore are affordable and it is unlikely that you would want to order more as the portions are a healthy size.
Unfortunately Carom doesn’t currently offer Happy Hour which means the cost for drinks will also add up, as many of them look very attractive.



Overall: 3/5

Carom is the perfect combination of bar and restaurant, with a large buzzing bar area with speciality cocktails, as well as a good sized restaurant with innovative dishes on the menu.

However this means Carom is more suited to a casual meal where the emphasis is on the drinks and a good time rather than the quality of the food. This restaurant can be hired exclusively for 280 guests at a seated dinner or 460 at a cocktail reception and it is larger gatherings like this that Carom would be perfect for.
Additionally the new Tea Light Lounge is gorgeous and definitely worth a visit.


Website: http://www.meza-soho.co.uk/



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