Royal Shezan in Hotel 55 sets standard for London Ealing hotelsHALAL STATUS Fully Halal food menu • Alcohol served
The last time we reviewed a restaurant operating as part of a hotel establishment, was none other than Marco Pierre White’s Mr White’s English Chophouse in east London’s boutique hotel, New Road.
Despite the chef’s formidable reputation, however, the food failed to live up to high expectations, with us coming away concluding that “given the pedigree, let’s just say that we were expecting far more”.
This time we visit an Indian eatery in west London, which isn’t just located in Ealing’s only Halal-friendly boutique hotel, but is headed by another high calibre chef.
Hotel 55 on Hanger Lane recently soft launched Royal Shezan – a walk-in restaurant whose menu has been created by the former head chef of world renowned, fine dining restaurant, The Cinnamon Club, and Mint Leaf in Haymarket: Khilesh ‘KK’ Anand.
Having started out at five-star hotels in Delhi and Singapore, this Indian chef’s reputation is such that he’s cooked for and received compliments from diners as illustrious as the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Gates, the Sultan of Brunei, and UK-based Indian steel magnet Lakshmi Mittal.
Located on the ground floor, Royal Shezan is a beautifully elegant venue that offers indoor seating for 28 guests amidst a relaxed setting, and an additional 22 outdoors on the canopied terrace of the hotel’s landscaped garden.
With the official grand opening launch scheduled for July next month, the hotel’s owner has informed us that a non-alcoholic cocktail menu will be introduced to the menu very soon.
When done right, Papdi chaats are a thing of beauty. Except that many chefs appear to throw the kitchen sink at theirs believing that in doing so, they’ll be done right. They won’t.
And that’s where Chef Anand’s comes into its own. He succeeds in the difficult task of finding harmony between the many bold flavours and textures.
You won’t find his version too sloppy, too dry, or too crunchy; neither will the sweet overwhelm the sour. In short, a brilliant Papdi Chaat.RECOMMENDED
This is Chef Anand simply having some fun. Of course, with decades worth of experience behind him, he knows that which we mere mortals don’t, that putting onions rings with pan-fried asparagus on a bed of yoghurt-based pachdi will work.
A seemingly simple plate; but one where the uber crunchy onion rings, drizzled in a lightly spicy sauce, provide the earthy sweetness necessary to work against the gentle piquancy of the textured pachdi.
When slices of marinated paneer are served as soft and tender as these, you know you’re in safe hands.
While the mellow spices define this Chili Paneer, the magic of the tandoor lends that smoky edge, with the charred red and green peppers coupled with the red onions ensuring texture and that natural caramelised sweetness.
Despite these tandoori chops not quite as well executed as the ones presented in the Royal Platter below (closer to well done than medium), there was no denying how well balanced its marination was, made better by the smoky edge delivered by the charring.RECOMMENDED
These plump and ultra juicy Ajwani Jheenga on the other hand were executed exceptionally well, driven by an earthy marination that offered a tad of sourness, and a similar thicker textured sauce streaked across the bottom of the plate.
FROM THE TANDOORRECOMMENDED
The Royal Platter was every bit as royal as the name promised, with a superb assortment of tandoori delicacies.
Although the chops were certainly an improvement over their initial serving, turning out medium well and thus more succulent, the elements that caught the attention were again those huge prawns, as well as the large soft nuggets of semi-translucent white fish.
What’s more, the seekh kebabs were tender without being overly spongy in texture, and the chicken tikka delightful, being moist on the inside and boasting a smoky fragrance.
But perhaps the stand out feature for a platter as big as this, served with plenty of salad and greens, in addition to a dip, was its price at just £25!
We just knew, even before these gorgeously large portions of sea bass flaked apart at the merest glance, that this appetising plate was going to be one of the dishs of the review. And so it proved.
And though there were enjoyable pieces of al dente broccoli and soft baby potatoes nestled neath these moist fillets, what made this entire blue plate sing the high notes was the vibrant orange curry sauce – a deliciously smooth and velvety tomato-based one, with a subtle sweetness and a touch of heat, which we couldn’t get enough of. Addictive!
There aren’t very many places that serve dum biryanis, which raised the question as to why this wasn’t designated as such on the menu.
In any case, this relatively moist Chicken Biryani, which was certainly an aromatic one, was accompanied by a beautifully thick raita that helped cut through the pleasant heat delivered by the spices therein.
Although the eggplants on top were an aesthetic touch more than anything else, this thick, hearty and soothingly-spiced Dal Tadka, which easily stands on its own, was tempered in the true sense of the word, with the aroma of cumin coming through nicely.
A freshly made Gobi Aloo of this standard, where the spices and vegetables are brought together to punch above their perceived simplicity, is hard to come by. A fragrant dish that you won’t go wrong with.
Large, freshly made and crispy naans, straight out of a tandoor oven, are a thing of beauty. These two (and there’s plenty of others to consider) were perfectly done.
Of the two desserts tried, we’d probably opt for the homemade Kulfi, especially during these warm summer days.
That’s not to undermine the soft and saturated balls of warm Gulab Jaman which, while contrasting nicely against the scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with crushed pistachios, was an enjoyable ending.
- YES/ NO
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- FREE WI-FI
Of course, there's simply no substitute for the year's of experience that Chef Khilesh Anand brings as the restaurant's Head Chef. In fact, when thinking of other Halal-friendly Indian restaurants in Ealing, how many can boast having a chef of his calibre and expertise? We can't think of any.
It's obvious that the ambitious folks behind Hotel 55 are out to make a serious statement with Royal Shezan. They've certainly impressed us. A boutique hotel that offers Indian cuisine of this level? Good luck finding that in west London.
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