Lasan, in my mind, was always a place reserved for special occasions, but recently it’s had a bit of an overhaul, with a new look and a new menu.
Everything is lighter, more airy and a touch more casual.
I was invited along for dinner by the esteemed food writer Paul Fulford, and when he says it’s good, in my experience, it usually is.
I met Paul on a Monday evening in the new bar area, which is perfect for a pre or post-dinner drink.
The dining room was buzzing with plenty of tables full, so we headed in for a look at the menu.
The dishes are designed to be “true to India” in the sense that they capture the spirit of real Indian food. There is still a feeling of luxury though, with scallops, halibut and lamb shanks on offer.
I couldn’t resist the sound of the Tisria – scallops with coconut gravy – so I ordered that for my starter, and as I love game, the Pankshi korma – tandoori guinea fowl in a creamy cardamom sauce – for my main.
Before the starters arrived, we enjoyed poppadoms, chutney and puri, which were crispy, fresh and had just the subtlest hint of heat in the spiced sauce poured inside.
The puri were almost like an amuse bouche, which was a lovely addition to the poppadoms, and helped to retain that fine dining feel that Lasan is known for.
I could smell my Tisria starter before it arrived, with the scent of the most aromatic coconut gravy wafting through the dining room. Our lovely waiter explained all the elements as it was served and gave me a jug of coconut gravy to pour on as much as I wanted.
As well as smelling amazing, this dish was as photogenic as it was fragrant, with bright pops of colour.
The tender but meaty scallops were cooked beautifully, with a slight sear on the outside, and despite all the flavours going on from the beetroot, coconut gravy and spiced, roasted cauliflower, the taste of them really came through. The balance of all the flavours in this dish was really exceptional.
The main course was equally as fragrant, with the sweet, creamy cardamom sauce infusing the rich guinea fowl.
I loved how the meat had that signature tandoori crust on the outside, but remained tender and juicy on the inside, especially as lean game has the tendency to become dry.
Again, I was surprised how well the guinea fowl went with the spiced sauce. I’ve never had game with Indian spices before, but the gentle perfume of the cardamom really sang and gave the whole dish a surprising and delicious flavour.
This was a large portion too, with half a guinea fowl presented just for me. This would be an ideal dish to share between two, as you could both get plenty of meat from one portion, plus share another dish.
Paul’s choice was Salli keema – slow cooked minced mutton with herbs, chilli and yoghurt – which came with straw fries and a gloriously yellow duck egg served on top.
I have this thing with eggs and curry, I love the combination, so this dish really appealed to me. It also appealed to another diner as a lady excitedly joined us momentarily to find out what it was so she could order it herself! Paul seemed thoroughly satisfied with it too, if a little full.
I always go overboard with sides, so I had ordered rice, gobi angara – tandoori roasted cauliflower with nigella-scented onion masala – and roomali roti. In all honesty, we didn’t need all 3 sides, but they were delicious nonetheless.
The roti was buttery and rich, the rice had deliciously sweet caramelised onions on top, and the cauliflower was simply gorgeous, with heaps of roasted spice flavour and plenty of green chilli kick.
After such a huge meal, I’d convinced myself I wasn’t going to have dessert, but one look at the menu and I was ordering the mango and passionfruit cheesecake, much to the delight of our waitress, who said that this was her favourite of all the desserts.
I always find Indian desserts either too sweet or too much for me, but this managed to strike a good balance between lightness and tradition. The cheesecake filling was silky, on a thin biscuit base. The exotic mango and passionfruit provided tang, while the jalebi on the side provided sticky sweetness.
The presentation with edible flowers made this a really pretty dessert.
By this point I was extremely full, so rather than a creamy coffee, I had a beautifully light darjeeling tea to round off the meal.
I was impressed with the new look and feel of Lasan. The decor is really beautiful, and although the menu still feels luxurious, it also feels more accessible now – less of a special occasion venue and more a go to meals with friends or family.
I was afforded the pleasure of dining on the house, but at around £80 (excluding drinks) for the two of us, I thought the bill was very reasonable for such lovely quality food.
I’d certainly go back to Lasan, I’ve already got a list of dishes from the new menu I want to try.
Have you been to the new look Lasan? What did you think?
Thanks to Paul Fulford for the invitation, and for being a wonderful dining partner. Thanks to Esh Capelo of Lasan group for covering our bill on the night. My opinions are, as always, my own, and I was under no obligation to provide a positive review.