86 Hill Rise, London, TW10 6UB, United Kingdom

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Since I last visited Swagat there has been a change of head chef and a partial change of ownership. The intriguingly named Sudden Alberts is still in charge, but his erstwhile co-founder Krishnapal Negi has headed off to Atithi. The new head chef here is Mr Kalya Singh. 

Although the menu seems largely unchanged, the food is noticeably different following the chef change. Incdentally, a pint of Cobra costs £5. Murch achaari (£9.95) had pieces of chicken in pickling juices, which were just a fraction dry inside despite a liberal amount of butter applied, though the meat was tender enough (13/20). Sev poori (£6.75) was pleasant, the chickpea flour noodles suitably crunchy, paired with potatoes, chutneys and yoghurt (13/20).

Tandoori prawns were good, carefully cooked and with a pleasant marinade of spices (13/20). By contrast the methi chicken had changed a lot, and compared to my previous visit had less chicken and a lot more ghee. There was still a decent amount of fenugreek flavour but the overall effect was too buttery – you can actually see this visibly if you compare the photos of the notionally same dish under the new and old regimes (12/20). Black dhal was still very good (14/20) and aloo gobi was fine, retaining the texture of the cauliflower, and to an extent the potato, quite well (13/20). Naan bread was reasonable (12/20) and plain rice was properly cooked, though £4.25 seems quite a lot for a fairly small bowl of rice.

Carrot halwa was disappointing, the carrot bland, and the vanilla ice cream having no obvious vanilla flavour (barely 11/20). Service was fine, with a capable eastern European waitress. The bill came to £51 a head with beer to drink. This is quite a chunky bill for the level of cooking, though admittedly there was plenty of food. It was still a pleasant meal, but at least one notch down in quality compared to my previous visit.

Further reviews: 29th Jul 2013

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