You might not be familiar with the word “Carom”, but it’s one that means many things. It’s a sport a bit similar to snooker, another name for popular Indian spice ajwain seeds, and a set of Sri Lankan tabletop games. It’s now also a bar and restaurant in Soho.
It’s the game which gives this new D&D venue atop Floridita its name, with carom boards provided in the bar area so guests can discover the weird hybrid of table billiards, shuffleboard and air hockey for themselves. You might even be able to savour a cocktail made with the other kind of carom at the same time, as the drinks team have put together an impressive selection of tipples with an Indian theme. Don’t worry, it’s much classier than a garam masala mojito – it has been done! - with offerings instead using subtle spicing and regional ingredients such as Indian wines and whiskies. They’re also going all out on the oh so British G&T, stocking a large selection of boutique brands in both the gin and the tonic departments in honour of the drink being first created in India, rather than on our humble shores.*
The bar’s Indian leanings play warm-up act to the main restaurant event. Tucked around the corner, and decked out like a sleek but slightly S&M nightclub, every part of the service is flawless as we encounter dish after dish of regional specialities from the sub-Continent that span the ubiquitous to the unusual.
A light and zingy dish of Kerala sea bass in a mango, coconut and ginger sauce and an earthily dark and rich Goan spiced beef curry are entirely antithetical but claim joint top spot in our list of highlights. Meltingly tender lamb chops are also up there – they’re served more well done than we would normally say we liked them, but 24 hours of being marinated in yoghurt, turmeric and papaya seeds prior to their session in the tandoor has obviously worked some magic.
Tandoori pineapple with star anise and fennel seeds, and other palate refreshing puddings of the kind you’d never find in your local curry house close the show. That’s unless you decide to stay for a whisky or two, which is a tempting proposition given the array of Indian single malts being offered. Yep, we’re staying...
Carom is part of the (slightly confusingly branded) Meza complex at 100 Wardour Street, W1F 0TN. Visit www.danddlondon.com.
*In the joint name of pedantry and patriotism, we feel we should point out that the G&T’s creators were almost certainly part of the British Navy, having sailed from Plymouth which was at the time the largest producer of gin in the world.