This Hammersmith eatery is quite smartly decorated, with wood panelling and assorted ornaments displayed in wall recesses. It has a lengthy menu of vegetarian dishes, with South Indian specialities such as uttappam as well as more familiar vegetable curries. On my most recent visit, a starter of potato bonda had a decent outer coating though a somewhat bland potato filling (1/10). Better was aloo papadi chat, crisp wafers broken up and served with yoghurt and tamarind sauce: refreshing and enjoyable (3/10).
A dosa was also quite good, although the filling was again rather tentatively spiced (2/10), but aloo gobi was rather soggy in texture with a bland tomato sauce (barely 1/10) and a bhindi was poor, the okra cooked for too long and mushy (0/10). However lemon rice was nicely cooked (3/10) and a light sphere of batura bread was both impressive in appearance on arrival and had good texture once it had deflated (3/10). Gulab jamun was one of the desserts made here (some, such as the kulfi, are bought in) and the sweet syrupy doughnuts were rather soggy in texture, and rather over-sweet (1/10). By contrast shrikand was lovely, without too much saffron, but rich and delicious (4/10). This is a tricky restaurant to score, since depending on what you ordered you could have a sub 1/10 meal here or a 3/10 level meal.
The bill came to £26 a head, including drinks. Service was very good, with drinks refills appearing almost immediately and no difficulty getting attention. This is a pleasant restaurant and good value for money. The strategy appears to be to avoid the curries and stick with the specifically South Indian dishes such as the dosa, and save room for the shrikand.
The notes below are from a visit in March 2009.
There are now several Sagar branches in London. The Hammersmith branch is in busy King Street, near a clutch of other indian restaurants. Poppadoms were fine, served with four chutneys that may even have been made in the kitchen: an apple chutney was unusual and enjoyable, in addition to the usual mango and mint chutneys. My starter of bhel poori was very dry, and badly needed something like a tamarind chutney to go with it (0/10).
Better was aloo papri chat, rather heavy on the yoghurt and lacking spice, but pleasant enough (1/10). A vegetable samosa had pleasant filling but somewhat soggy batter (1/10). Utthappam (Indian pizza) was rather doughy in texture, and needed more chilli bite from its topping in my view (1/10). I enjoyed a masala dosa, whose outside crisp could arguable have been crisper, but still had a nice potato filling (1/10). Channa masala had tender enough chickpeas but the sauce with it lacked spice and was uninteresting (1/10). Generally I found the spicing over-restrained.
The best dishes were a light and fluffy batura bread (2/10), arriving puffed up at the table (usually this a breakfast dish in India, as indeed is a dosa, but nonetheless enjoyable for that) and a superb shrikand dessert. The shrikand tasted distinctly of saffron without being overwhelmed by it, as can easily happen, while the texture was enjoyably runnier than many; this was really classy, a difficult dessert to make, and in a different league to the rest of the meal (5/10).