Dip In Brilliant

448-450 Fulham Road, London, SW6 1DL, United Kingdom

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This oddly named restaurant is related to the long established Brilliant in Southall, and opened in February 2018. It is a essentially a more casual version of The Brilliant, designed for quick eating where you can “dip in” and try the food within half an hour if you are in a hurry. It is run by Dipna Anand, the daughter of Gulu Anand, who set up The Brilliant back in 1975. Dipna studied hospitality and catering, gaining a masters degree at the University of West London, and is now a part-time lecturer in Hospitality and Catering at three west London colleges.

The restaurant is just yards from Stamford Bridge football ground, and can seat 70 diners at full capacity. A takeaway option is available when Chelsea Football Club is playing at the nearby stadium.  The menu unsurprisingly has some similarity to that of The Brilliant, though it is slightly shorter and with a few different dishes. Food is served on metal trays.  There was a short wine list, ranging from £26 up to a bottle of Dom Perignon of unmarked vintage at £180 (retail price maybe £140 depending on vintage). The wine list seems to have been put together by someone with limited experience, with no vintages marked and ambiguous labelling in places. The ”Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Argentiers” has tasting notes but no growers listed – maybe it is from Ogier, maybe Leon Perdigal, but who would know? Example labels were Waddling Duck Sauvignon Blanc at £32 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £14, Bollinger Special Cuvee at a very fair at £50 compared to its retail price of £50, and Laurent Perrier NV Cuvee Rose Brut at £85 for a wine that will set you back £65 in a shop.  Markups can be seen to be very kindly; it is just a shame that the inadequate labelling makes the list something of a lucky dip.

Papri chaat had potatoes and chickpeas topped with savoury vermicelli and mixed with yoghurt and tamarind. Although the texture was fine, there was nowhere near enough tamarind chutney, and for that matter less yoghurt than there might have been, so the dish was rather dry (12/20). Better was jeera chicken, the meat served on the bone and marinated with cumin and black pepper. The meat was tender and there was deep, rich cumin flavour; this dish was as good as in Southall (14/20).

Chicken biryani was a rather odd affair, served in a thali dish. The chicken itself was cooked all right, but the rice, which should be light and fluffy and aromatic, was definitely on the soggy side of where it should have been (11/20). The two vegetarian dishes that we tried were the best: aloo chollay has potato and chickpeas with spices, and aloo gobi had cauliflower and potato.  The aloo chollay was flavoured with raw mango and pomegranate, and this added interesting flavour without introducing sweetness (14/20). Both dishes retained the texture of the vegetables, and had nicely balanced spicing, the aloo gobi benefitting from fresh ginger and garlic (14/20). Naan bread was quite good, reasonably supple and soft (13/20). Carrot halwa was excellent, having very good texture and plenty of carrot flavour, sweet but not overly so (14/20). Kulfi came on a stick and was doused in rose syrup, rather too much to my taste, though the ice cream itself was fine (12/20).

The bill came to £56 a head, which is not especially cheap, though the rent in Fulham must be higher than Southall, and there was more food than we could finish. Service was pleasant, if not as slick as at the Southall parent. Overall Dip In Brilliant certainly offers authentic Punjabi dishes, though the meal tonight showed some inconsistency. It certainly gives a taste of the style of food at the original Brilliant, though the latter is considerably more consistent, as well as being cheaper.

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