Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Brigadiers Indian Restaurant Review


Brigadiers - Indian Army Club Culture Restaurant & Bar


This fathers day we decided to go and visit a new restaurant that has recently opened in the heart of London's financial square mile - Bloomberg Arcade. I love trying new places and Indian food is one of my favourite cuisines. Having grown up eating this my whole life I love trying the different variations chefs have on some of my home favourites.


Over the past two decades I feel Indian restaurants have come on leaps and bounds. From once serving unauthentic flavoured curries in darkly lit establishments; to now serving delicately spiced regional food highlighting quality local produce and traditional cooking techniques.

I recently watched a programme ( Metropolis ) on London, which said we now have more Indian restaurants here than in Delhi and Bombay, and I for one love exploring them. Brigadiers thankfully delivered on fathers day and we enjoyed a wonderful family meal.


First Impressions


From the street itself, only a small Brigadiers sign shows the location, however as soon as you enter into the restaurant you are transported back to a Colonial Military Club in India. The lobby area contains a large shoe polishing chair, perfect if you need to take a seat whilst waiting for others to collect their coats.
To the left is a large bar area, showing lots of sports of the several screens and to your right is the main dining room. Decorated in rich maghonies browns, deep reds, with lots of leather and animal prints, you can feel the history of the different regiments and see some of their hunting trophies adorn the walls. We were seated in a cosy booth, perfect for a larger group to see be able to be social whilst talking and sharing food. Much as the old army officers would have done in a time gone by.

Dimly lit corridoors lead onto the restrooms and several smaller private dining areas - perfect for parties and special occasions.
My first impressions were to be very impressed with the opulent decor and how fitting it is to the theme of the restaurant.

History



The idea behind Brigadiers is the old Army bars in India where the higher ranking Military officers would gather to eat, drink and plot their next moves. As this were dominated by males back then the food very much focused on using outdoor cooking - BBQs, tandoors, wood ovens etc. They provided a social gathering spot for them to come together, play card games, smoke and drink. This culture can be seen in how Brigadiers has lots of smaller rooms to provide social spaces for gatherings, lots of different alcohol options and great tasty food.



Location


Brigadiers is located in the newly opened Bloomberg Arcade in Bank, a state of the art building with an emphasis on the lower units being rented out to only new upcoming food spaces rather than the many chains more commonly food in this area. During the week Bank is packed full of office workers, however at the weekend it is a bit of a ghost town, probably due to the lack of attractions compared to other more popular parts of London. This in a way worked to our benefit though as even on a busy Sunday we were able to get a table reservation and navigate a pushchair through the empty streets with ease. Also great links to travel in via public transport, we caught the tube which was part of the fun day out for Bubs.

Brigadiers occupies a large corner plot of Bloomberg Place and also has an outside terrace which I am sure gets packed out during the summer evenings. Maybe with more eateries and bars opening up this could see more visitors during the weekend.

Service


Excellent, right from the outset of booking a table to receiving our bill and coats. Sometimes newly opened restaurants have a few tweaks they need to make but this was not the case. All staff were attentive with drinks, refilling water and knowledgeable with food recommendations and menu choices.


Child Friendly 


Children were welcomed with open arms, as we visited on fathers day the majority of tables did have children, toddlers or babies on them. Although there were no baby highchairs available yet, they maybe on order and I did not see any baby changing either in the ladies toilet - it may have been in the disabled toilet. Bubs2 actually slept for most our meal in her pushchair so this was not a big issue for us. Also as we also went with my brother, my sister in law and my dad we had plenty of hands available to hold her or take her for little walks around the restaurant. I understand this restaurant is located in the City and therefore families and children are not their main clients. There was no kids menu so I order Bubs a chilli - cheese naan bread - without the chilli which was actually like an Indian cheese on toast and he also enjoyed the chicken wings. They were more than happy to recommend less spicier items and change them to make them more kid friendly. The dining room itself is not very large so best suited to children who are happy to stay at the table than run around.



It also has lots of large taxidermy animals on the wall which they loved seeing. We had great time taking the kids there, so although not it may not be child friendly in terms of facilities, if you know your child is happy to try new foods, sit at the table and enjoy them you will be fine.

Menu



With a big trend being on having smaller more specific menus it was a refreshing change to see a large menu, also fab when there is a large table for lunch as you get to order more to try. The menu is made up of roughly 5 courses - Beer, Snacks and Bitings to enjoy with your pre-dinner drinks whilst deciding what to order; starters - Chhota Chapati and Anda, Rolls, Bun Kebab, Pao; middle course - Sizzlers & Kebabs and Steaks, Ribs, Chops; mains - Rotisserie & Wood Oven, Biryani and Sides finally finishing with desert. We took our time over the courses, with no rush from staff the immense amount of food we enjoyed over a few hours was delicious. I will definitely be returning to try the remaining items on the menu. There are also several set Feast menus for private dining available. A meat heavy menu I feel but all of the vegetarian options were tried on it were delicious and a big hit even with some of the serious carnivores at the table.

Food


Starters:

Original BBQ Butter Chicken Wings
Midly spiced, in a delicious sauce, succulent meat, could have done with more of a BBQ charcoal taste

Arbi Tokri Chaat (V)
Delicious, one of my favourite dishes, very crispy, spicy, sweet with just the right amount of yoghurt to cool afterwards. A true explosion of all the flavours

Smoked Aubergine Missi Rotis, Burnt Corn Kachumber  (V)
Flavourful small bites with a tasty topping



Amritsari Fried Fish Paos
Like little Fish burgers, delicious and well balanced with the chutney


Wagyu Seekh Kebab Anda Kati Roll
This was good, could not tell it was wagyu meat over a traditional kebab, but then my family makes very good kebabs at our own BBQs so I have high standards.

Lasooni Chicken Tikka & Heart Skewer
Personally I did not try the heart, from those who did I heard it was chewier and similar to chicken kidneys.

Beef Chuck Bonemarrow Keema, Chilli Cheese Kulcha
Not the best Keema I have had, not enough chilli or spice, generous bone marrow maybe added to much sweetness to the dish. Nice potato straws for texture






Middle Course:


Tandoori 5 Spice Chicken Chops
These were really good, glad we order two portions, very well BBQ with lots of flavour and juice chicken meat, served with a delicious chutney on the side.

Mains:


Sikandari Kid Goat Shoulder, Lacha Parathas, Lacha Onions
This just fell apart, the paratha, onions and gravy it were served with made it all the more delicious, very good and highly recommend. 


Dum Beef Shin & Bonemarrow Biryani 
A good biryani, not the tastiest I have ever had however. Lots of meat flavour but felt it lacked depth. 
Chaat Masala Aloos (V) 
Wow, another stand out vegetarian dish. Soft cubes of potato covered in tangy, spicy and chilli crust. Perfect accompaniment. 

Brigadiers House Dal
I love Dal Makhani so this was tasty but I prefer Black lentils over yellow/orange/green. 
Sesame Cucumber Raita
Creamy and cooling.
Bread Basket
Great selection and generous size naan - lots for everyone to share.
My favourites out all we tried would be the Arbi Chaat, Tandoori Chicken Chops, Kid Goat Shoulder and Chaat Masala Aloos along with all the breads. 



Desert:


All served as soft serves, both were delicious and I cannot wait to try the other two desert options on the menu.

Banana & Yoghurt 


Chocolate & Coconut 

Drinks 


An extensive drinks menu, along with a  separate bar, Tap room and self dispensing whisky machine in the pool room make Brigadier just as much about the drinks as the food. Personally I tried the Mango Soda - very refreshing and tasty. Similar to the Mango Shandy they offer, lots of different whiskey and unique draft beers on offer too meaning there is a drink available for everyones taste.


Toilets


I love a loofie ( loo selfie), and also checking out cool toilets which these certainly are. Old school western swinging doors and pull chain toilets you feel like you could be back on an old( luxury ) army base.


Bill 


We enjoyed lots of food and drinks and our bill came to around £50 per head which is fairly good value for money I felt for the amount and quality of what we ate and drank. Although this is at the higher end of pricing a few weeks before this we went to a local pub where the bill was not much different and considering the atmosphere and service provided by Brigadiers it is money well spent.

Final Thoughts 



This is one of my new favourites for Indian food in London and I would highly recommend visiting it, not one to go back to restaurants easily I look forward to returning here and trying the rest of the menu. Even if it maybe a bit further out to travel it is well worth effort, or would be great for an after dinner meal if you work locally.