A real shame, after 33 years of great food, Sabras closed in 2007. Eventually the rent rise and the difficult location finally proved too much. The notes below are of historical interest only.
Hermant Desai has been running this vegetarian cafe in the unpromising location of Willesden (where even the Alsatians go around in pairs) for what seems forever. It has very basic café decor, but the extensive Gujerati menu is the best rendition of vegetarian Indian food in London. Try the Hyderabad dosa with fresh black pepper and roasted cumin, the complex five-lentil dhal, but whatever you do, please try the deluxe sev poori, which you pop into your mouth in one go - this is divine. Sunny Beaches beer from India is available. Here are notes from a recent meal.
The Sabras looks better since its refurbishment – they even have tablecloths now (though these are the cheap and nasty washable kind). We always start with deluxe sev puris: little crisp puris filled with spiced potatoes, spiced yoghurt and hot and sour chutneys topped with sev and garnished with fresh coconut, coriander and lemon juice. This is a wonderful flavour combination, mixing crunchy outside with a tangy liquid centre (15/20). For main course I tried panch-kuti dal, made from five varieties of lentils (blackeye, moong beans, masoor, chickpeas and pigeon peas) cooked with garlic, herbs and fresh spices. This was not the watery soup that so often passes for dal in Indian restaurants – here the pulses retain their texture and have excellent flavour (14/20). Sakkariya featured tender slices of sweet potato, sow cooked and lightly coated with fresh spices that are held in check so they nicely complement the flavour of the sweet potato (14/20). Mutter paneer was the classic dish of home made cottage cheese cubes fried with petit pois and spices in a mild gravy; an excellent rendition with non-chewy cottage cheese, good quality peas and fresh spicing (14/20). Rice was cooked with onions and potatoes (Masala Bhat) and has very godo texture (14/20). Chapatis are cooked fresh to order and were also excellent (14/20).