Location: 119 Brockley Rise, Forest Hill, London SE23 1JP
Babur is an Indian restaurant on Brockley Rise in Forest Hill. This place is not your standard curry house, it has more of a fine dining vibe combining the best of flavours from the subcontinent with tastefully and beautifully plated creations. The curries here are nothing short of incredible, but the service; not so great.
We started with Poppadoms and they were amazing, I don't have a clue what was in the chutneys and dips that they served alongside the poppadoms, but they tasted magical. For starters I had the tandoori red deer and Claire had the crab cakes, both dishes were delicious, well spiced and very flavourful. For the main course I had the seared Baramundi with Rajasthani Mustard sauce served with a mustard mash. The fish was perfectly cooked and seasoned and the sauce was a really delicate flavour that perfectly complemented the fish. Claire had the goat shoulder rogan josh, a slow cooked meat dish that melted in the mouth and exploded with flavour. The sides were also a delight, the apricot naans were soft and fluffy and the makhani dal was nothing short of exquisite, I actually think the dal was the best dish on the menu. The desserts were fine but nothing to write home about.
The service is where this place really fell down. One of my measures of how good a restaurant is, is how long it takes them to get water on the table. The attention to this important detail usually indicates how good the waiting staff are. We had to remind the staff 3 times and even still, our water didn't arrive until after we had finished popadoms, starter and main course. They forgot the wine pairing with the main course and we were nearly finished eating by the time we realised it was not going to be forthcoming, but amazingly they forgot to bring the pairing for the dessert too! I will admit that it was one of the very few times in my life I did not tip. I was genuinely surprised as none of the reviews I had read indicated any service issues, possibly they were having an off night.
Pricewise this place is at the upper end of what you pay for a curry in London, with the valentines set menu coming in at £65 a head (including a couple of drinks each) While the food is amazing, and I will go back again (I really want to try the Monkfish from the á la carte menu), they really need to sort out their service issues.