Where better to spend Valentine’s Day than in a restaurant designed as a love letter to a family and the continent behind it?
Colonel Saab is a bricks-and-mortar testament to the power of love, packed full of previous Indian art, artefacts, family heirlooms and even love letters between the restaurants’s namesake, Colonel Saab and his wife, Binny.
This Valentine’s Day, beneath the canopy of ornate, antique chandeliers and surrounded by the art, ancient furniture and priceless relics of Colonel Saab’s family, couples will be presented with red roses and treated to a tasting menu that will transport them deep into the heart of India.
An Amuse Bouche will whet the appetite for a platter of carefully curated Indian favourites – the vegetarian plate offering Kandhari paneer tikka, stuffed tandoori aloo and tandoori malai broccoli, while a non-vegetarian option delivers Grilled lamb chops and spiced prawns alongside the broccoli.
Malabar grilled lobster is served as a main with moiled sauce and steamed rice, or perhaps a Malai kofta curry with mustard cress and butter naan.
And dessert comes in the form of Pistachio cardamom Kulfi Falooda with saffron rabbi and chia seeds.
Valentine’s Food Gift Guides
Give the food of love this Valentine’s, with a £62 Virgin voucher for a British and Indian fusion afternoon tea at Colonel Saab, with Prosecco.
The three-tiered high tea feast includes, finger dhokla sandwiches with coriander and mint chutney; onion Bhajia sprinkled with pickle chaat masala, fresh raisin scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam; homemade coconut & Earl Grey cookies; Saffron & Rose Shrikhand macarons and a selection of tea cakes.
The voucher is available here…
Colonel Saab – A Love Letter To India
Multi-award-winning, luxury Indian restaurant, Colonel Saab was launched in the heart of London by Roop Partap Choudhary, who meticulously crafted the menu and art-festooned destination as a “love letter” to his family and India.
And in the past year it has been named one of the top Indian restaurants by Forbes, won Newcomer of the Year at the Asian Curry Awards, Best Newcomer at British Curry Awards, Best Restaurant in Feed the Lion awards and was awarded Harden’s Certificate of Achievement. It welcomes regulars from Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai – who says “it is the only place which serves the authentic flavours from home” to pop icons, TV stars and presidents.
The modern Indian restaurant at the grand, former Holborn Town Hall is a homage to Choudhary’s travels across India with his mother, Mrs Binny Choudhary and father, Colonel Manbeer, who was given the honorific name ‘Colonel Saab’ – shared by the restaurant – while serving in the Indian Army. The postings across India enabled them to experience the continent’s rich diversity of food from traditional local lunches in the tents of Rajasthan to British-inspired Indian breakfasts in the Officer’s Mess and banquets hosted by Indian nobility and Maharajas.
Choudhary spent a year retracing his father’s footsteps across India by train, bus and car with Indian food royalty, Karen Anand 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.
The exciting, all-day dining menu introduces diners to progressive takes on nostalgic dishes, from British and Indian fusion afternoon high tea, regional favourites rarely served in the UK, like the Cauliflower 65, signature dishes, like the Falahari Curry Kofta, their popular Gutti Vankaya – Andhra curry, baby aubergines in tangy tamarind gravy – and the restaurant’s outstanding desserts, including signatures like the Rasmalai Milk Cake in cardamom cream and Boondi Caviar or the Bengali, Mishti Doi Cheesecake in jaggery syrup.
Dining at Colonel Saab is also a feast for the eyes, with a treasure trove of eclectic Indian art and artefacts collected by his family on their travels, lovingly brought to the space under challenging conditions.
Downstairs, a grand, pure silver door from a Gujarat temple greets you, while upstairs features a carved temple door from South India. The opulent dining room is bathed in light by a canopy of ornate chandeliers from Firozabad. A drinks bar made by Asprey for the Maharaja of Patiala takes pride of place in the private dining room, while 17th and 18th century Tanjore paintings and handwoven Persian silk carpets adorn the walls and precious decanters and crockery from the palace of the Maharaja of Faridkot shimmer in cabinets.
The Colonel Saab staff bring the decadent surroundings to life, happily regaling diners with the rich stories and histories of the sumptuous artwork collected by the Choudhary family.
Every element of Colonel Saab has been lovingly and imaginatively crafted to create a multi-sensory experience of India, including the 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.
When Colonel Saab and his wife returned home, they channeled their unique experiences into serving the community, starting with a modest hotel and continuing their journey with boutique and palace hotels, which are now managed by their proud son Roop. He began his work life in their hotel kitchens as a young man and continues the proud legacy of hospitality that spans more than three decades, with Colonel Saab.
Choudhary is on course to set a new benchmark in London, continuing the family tradition of celebrating the vibrant and diverse culture of India’s food and history with humility, elegance and originality.
193-197 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7BD