Babur, Brockley Rise – this Indian restaurant has been a want-to/must-visit place for us for the last twelve months. Babur is on the corner of the quiet Brockley Rise, between Honor Oak and Forest Hill Overground stations.
Inside Babur is spectacular. Long, rectangular shaped dining room with tables close to one another, I thought that Babur would be more expensive than the prices suggested. Kept minimal in decoration, the restaurant is still very well furnished. Toilets are extravagant although it is freezing in there. Has anyone felt like a toilet could tempt you to order a glass of bubbly? Babur does. Another similar feeling toilet to Babur is the one in Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. Please do not categorize me as a weirdo.
Babur’s menu is impressive. A wide range of choices; guinea fowl, duck, prawns, buffalo, lamb chops which involves marinating, tenderising with beetroot, smoking and tandoori-ing. Other dishes including paneer, beetroot, crispy roasted potatoes pairing with chutneys and spices are all very desirable. Secretly I was already planning my food choices on my second visit to ascertain what to order for this visit.
Cocktails and wines are chosen to compliment your choice of food. The wine menu suggests an attention and careful selection of wines to pair with your meal. Overall, it has a large selection from Australia and New Zealand but the Shiraz, Sula 2010, Nasik Indian wine made it to our table; full bodied, leaving a peppery note at the end. However, this peppery taste does not stand out with the meal. It started off sweet but after breathing, the sweetness mellows out. It reminds me of an Australian wine I had in Kuala Lumpur.
I also suspect that the way the menu is designed, ie. fine dining Indian style, attracts more customers in pairs rather than larger groups. Most people were on casual dates trying to impress each other. Babur makes a pleasant midweek fine dining restaurant to go to if residing in the areas near to Lewisham.
Takeaways are available, only limited to certain dishes but there do not seem to be any takers midweek. Then of course, with an exquisite dining restaurant, I would choose to dine in Babur myself. Babur restaurant was full of diners and there were still few waiting to be seated at 2100 hours. While waiting, entertain yourself with their choice of snacks in the waiting area. But (ADVICE!) do not pig out because you would want to leave room for Babur’s desserts.
oven roasted seabass with pickled vegetables, moilee sauce served with steamed rice GBP 14.95 – presentation was first class but the seabass was mushy, served with a sauce tasted similar to my homemade green chicken curry but was a super rich coconut sauce that is only one step away from the Malaysian nasi lemak that I could compare it with.
steamed spiced crusted shoulder of lamb, beetroot khichdi GBP 14.95 – a nice piece of lamb, encased with quite a thick crust of spice and nothing muttony about it. The rice tasted strongly of ghee. A miniature jug of lamb jus that was delicious with the tandoori roti.
homemade kulfi with stem ginger and honey GBP 4.75 – this was good and by far the richest kulfi I have ever eaten – very creamy and milky even with the powerful stem ginger taste, it is not enough to cut the heavy, pungent cream. Cubes of beetroot makes great colour on the dish.
caramelised tarte tatin, with vanilla gelato GBP 5.25 – beautiful dessert! A small and adequate dessert to finish the meal but leaves the sticky caramel stuck to your teeth. Vanilla ice-cream was identifiable as the famous haagen dazs! Yum!
Our choice of food was very rich and laden with milk, coconut milk and ghee. Not sure if this it was a good combination for the waist line.
Service was attentive in the beginning but began to lose control when the crowd starts to pour in. Otherwise, polite and respectful. The waiters all know the dishes well, giving a short and comprehensive introduction when food is served.
Babur is an Indian restaurant with a classy presentation, place and food, but I prefer my Indian meal to be a casual, finger dipping dishes that involves sharing too. Oh, and a larger table please, for all the other side dishes to fit!
119 Brockley Rise
London SE23 1JP
+44(0)20 8291 2400