Take a trip to Goa by way of Waterloo!
Assado sits in the ground floor of the Hampton by Hilton London Waterloo, seconds from the bright lights of the Old Vic. Run by Cyrus Todiwala (star of BBCs The Spice Men, and Chef Patron of Cafe Spice Namaste) the food takes its influence from Goan cuisine.
A four-course Gourmet Goan Evening awaited us, and as we entered the restaurant, we were happy to see that Assado doesn’t look like a hotel restaurant. With bright Portuguese-style tiling, Scandi wooden furniture, turquoise floor and a yellow ceiling, it felt like a slice of Goa south of the river.
Before the food was served, we were presented with a glass of Prosecco and Cyrus himself explained the preparation and influence behind the dishes. Alongside well and truly whetting our appetite, it also served as an interesting history lesson into the old ties between Portugal, Goa and Britain. It made us want to go home and brush up on our history!
The first course was a selection of three Goan/Portuguese appetisers. The Chanafana de Peru Chamucas (Turkey thigh simmered in wine and garlic with spices, filled in pastry and fried) was like a samosa, with a deep, rich spice flavour and tender meat. A slice of spiced British lop gammon rolled in puff pastry was delicious – as if the humble British sausage roll had gone on holiday to Goa!
Next came a Torta de Batata et Espinafre, a baked omelette with layers of sliced potato with spinach, spring onion, green chillies and coriander. This was accompanied by Espetada de Frango Cafreala, a beautifully grilled piece of chicken marinated in Green Masala. The flavours and spice of the masala really shone through and worked perfectly with the potato omelette by its side.
For us, the main course was the real standout of the evening. We were treated to rice cooked Goan style with diced lamb in hot red masala and grated coconut, and a baby potato curry. The lamb melted in our mouths and the red masala added a real kick to the dish. It had a lovely heat but it didn’t build to make the dish unpleasant, as can happen with some curries. The potato curry was so delicious we had to stop ourselves from licking our plates clean!
The desserts, Bolo de Rei et Pistache (Almond, pistachio and semolina cake with vanilla ice cream) and Allay Bellay (Goan-style coconut pancake flavoured with cardamom and nutmeg) rounded off the meal. The subtle flavour of the cardamom and nutmeg, mixed with the sweet coconut worked perfectly in the pancake. And we are never ones to resist pistachio flavoured anything!
We left Assado completely satisfied and discussing how we could afford a trip to Goa in the near future!
Four Course Fixed Menu £35 per person – for bookings contact 0207 870 3747