Sunday 1 March 2009

Rooburoo - London, N1

Sounds Australian, yes? Aborginal? Kangaroo on the menu?! Bush-tucker Grub?
No! Thank heavens! It simply means ‘face to face’ in sub-continental speak.

The place has been showered with awards over the last couple of years, including ‘best cheap eat in London’, and was rated highly in Harden’s restaurant guide. I had been intending to eat here for a while but plans can fall through as so often they do. Thankfully, as luck would have it, a hastily organised get together of publishing post-grads gave myself and 3 others the opportunity to visit this lively restaurant.

The wine was really good. Never considered pinot noir as a good accompaniment to spicy food, but it’s mellow, plumy tones really struck the right note. We shared a few bottles, feeling frivolous, in part because prices are indeed truly reasonable, especially considering the eclectic meal we enjoyed.

Starters (or ‘Lite Bites’) included ‘excellent’ steamed cod wrapped in banana leaf, lamb paratha’s and the wonderfully titled ‘Chicken Ooty Tooty’ - a trio of tikkas in a sandy coriander, fruity lime paste. All Tandoori items can be ordered as starter portions.

Mains were various. Yuri’s fish stew was lovely and tasted like a good bouillabaisse with chick peas and tangy Indian spicing. Val’s lamb steaks came drenched in a beautiful ochre yoghurt sauce with dashes of cream and a subtle twist of rum, while Jeremy worked through his herby, coconut Malabar seafood bisque much to his Francophilian satisfaction. I enjoyed Naga Murgh, from the perilously hot Nagaland! Succulent, eggy strips of chicken cooked in a light but hot, citrussy sauce (derived from pickling spices including fenugreek, cumin and fennel) with the fabulous, crunchy texture of ‘Mooli’ (white radish). Pilau was good value at £1.95 and Naans were pretty fine although a side of crisp red veggies felt nothing more than virtuous and I have enjoyed better Saag Aloo.

Nevertheless, we had great fun. Rooburoo is run by an enthusiastic and professional team which consequently stands them apart most curry houses. Will return - for sure.

FOOD (& DRINK): 3.5/5

Willp2328 score: 7.5/10

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