Luxury Indian restaurant Colonel Saab promises a feast for the eyes and stomach
London is not short on food pairings - usually with wine, beer or assorted spirits. But luxury Indian restaurant, Colonel Saab will become the first to pair food with… art.
But do not fear, you won’t be tearing canvases from the wall to mop up your Butter Chicken.
We’ve dined at this eclectic and palatial, Holborn restaurant, so have high hopes for the unique Food and Art Pairing experience, which launches on 24 May.
Colonel Saab's founder, Roop Partap Choudhary will personally take diners on a culinary journey across India, with a nine-course tasting menu of dishes and carefully paired and curated art collected by the award-winning entrepreneur and his family across the continent and lovingly brought to London.
Roop’s father, Colonel Manbeer was given the honorific name Colonel Saab - shared by the restaurant - and the extensive menu is inspired by places he was stationed in the army, from local lunches in the tents of Rajasthan to British-inspired Indian breakfasts in the Officer’s Mess and stunning banquets hosted by Indian nobility and Maharajas
The art-festooned restaurant was meticulously crafted as a love letter to Roop's family and India, with a treasure trove of eclectic and museum-worthy Indian art and artefacts collected by his family on their travels.
Roop spent a year retracing his father’s footsteps across India by train, bus and car with Indian food royalty, Karen Anand (Dishoom) to curate contemporary twists on dishes passed down through the generations of people they met, with many regional specialities appearing for the first time on a London menu.
And for this event, Roop and his team will pair extraordinary art including 17th and 19th Century Tanjore paintings, the Maharaja of Patiala’s Asprey drinks bar, pure silver Gujarat temple doors and a canopy of ornate chandeliers from Firozabad with dishes which tell the stories of those regions and people.
The multi-sensory experience of India will also incorporate drinks. A Masala Dabba - or spice box - of artisanal gins, whiskies and rums based on Indian botanicals has been created with the Diageo mixology team, along with innovative cocktails by celebrated mixologist Antony Bertin, designed to complement the food and named after Choudhary's family members.
Roop said: “We are passionate about food, art and India so this event combines all three and brings them to life, in a multi- sensory experience which will take you across the vast continent and its diverse and beautiful sights, tastes and fragrances, showing the powerful roles food and art play in India."
The nine-course menu will cost £150 per person and includes progressive dishes, from Pulled Charcoal Lamb with Jeera Aloo and Biryani to Chicken Chettinad with Malabar Paratha and Chocolate Silk Cake, Thandai Crumble, Candy Floss and fresh berries. The vegetarian menu includes Gutti Vankaya, Andhra-style Eggplant Curry and Cauliflower 65, South Indian curd rice with fruit sorbet.
Each mouthful promises to bring the continent and its rich history to life, with stories and insight about the carefully paired art and artefacts, from a stunning, carved temple door from South India, to handwoven Persian carpets and precious decanters and crockery from the palace of the Maharaja of Faridkot.
One of the highlights of a dining experience at Colonel Saab is listening to the staff bringing the art and artefacts to life, so we are loosening our belts and eyelids in preparation for this feast for the eyes and stomach.