Rasa Samudra

5 Charlotte Street, London, England, W1T 1NQ, United Kingdom

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Sadly, Rasa Samudra closed in early 2012 after a rent hike made the premises unaffordable. A  great shame; it will be missed. The notes below are of historical interest only.

The best of the Rasa branches is Rasa Samudra which, in addition to the usual vegetarian dishes of the other branches, also offers a selection of seafood. Here are notes from my most recent meal.

A sense of the care and attention that goes into the cooking here can be seen by the popadoms. Here you get a basket of several different styles of popadom (such as banana chips, crunchy roasted rice flour sticks with black sesame and cumin seeds called murokku, and poppondavadia, which are poppadoms dipped in a batter of rice flour and coconut, cumin seeds and black sesame seeds), plus no less than seven home-made chutneys, and not one of these is lime pickle or mango chutney. 

Parippu is a soup made from three different lentils, along with garlic, a little tomato and fresh coriander; this had a pleasing texture and the spices were very well balanced, giving a chilli kick that enlivened the basic stock, while the coriander added a freshness of tatse (14/20). Mysore bonda was a tasty trio of deep-fried potato balls with mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger, coriander and black mustard seeds, served with coconut chutney; the key here again is the balance of the spices (14/20).   

Koyilandi konju masala is prawns cooked in a sauce of ginger, curry leaves and onions, the prawns cooked well, the thick curry sauce excellent (14/20). Varuthoracha meen is tilapia cooked in a coconut-based sauce spiced up with red chillies, tomatoes and tamarind (13/20). A side dish of mixed vegetables was also carefully cooked, the vegetables retaining their texture and cooked with coconut, cashew nuts, mustard seeds and curry leaves (14/20). Paratha was a fine example of this bread, without even a hint of greasiness yet not dried out (14/20). 

Below are notes from a recent meal.

As usual, the popadom basket came with seven different chutneys (12/20). Mysore bonda is three balls of potato and spices (fresh ginger, curry leaves, black mustard seeds, coriander) that have been lightly fried in a batter of chickpea flour. What could be a very heavy dish actually had a delicate thin batter, and the spices work well with the potato (14/20). "CCP Vadai" are four deep fried nuggets of lentils, cashew nuts and fresh spinach, cooked with ginger, green chillies and curry leaves. These were pleasant, though a little drier than ideal (12/20). Uthappam is the south Indian pizza, made of rice and lentil batter and topped with tomatoes, onions, chillies and curry leaves (14/20); sadly this now seems to have been dropped from the menu.. This is served with a coconut chutney and an excellent sambar (lentil and vegetable sauce). Kappayum meenum is king fish with a sauce of onions, chillies, turmeric, ginger and cassava. The fish was cooked carefully and the spice combination worked well with the fish (14/20). Lemon rice was very good (13/20) while a paratha was exceptionally good, without a hint of grease and yet flexible rather than hard – one of the best parathas I have had anywhere (14/20).  I should add that dosas here are excellent also.


Further reviews: 01st Jul 2006

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