A Slice of Heaven @ Nirvana Kitchen, Marylebone

21 Aug 2017

Avoiding affluent areas of London is my default. I can usually be found in the depths of Walworth Road, or in the dark and crowded pubs of Finsbury Park - somewhere me and my distressed denim will fit in. So, arriving at Nirvana Kitchen in Marylebone, parking up between the BMW's and Mercedes’ I did feel a little bit out of my depth.

The restaurant is stunning inside, but naturally so. There is no ‘avant-garde’ decor, no paintings or art works so hideous ‘they must have been expensive’ on the walls, instead, furnishings in sunset oranges and sparkling white table tops set with gold cutlery.

For the first time, my younger brother was my plus one for the evening, we chose a table in the dining room at the back and I quickly grabbed his keys-cum-toolkit off of the table as we sat (does anyone really need to carry around an alan key and tape measure 24/7?), trying my best not to upstage the parties around us, with their Mulberry purses and Burberry bags.

We started our Friday evening like every Friday evening should be started; with a sweet and fruity Summer Rum Punch (£14) and a tall Maraschino Mojito (£14) from the cocktail menu. I can assure you, each one went down as well as Wham at a disco.

To begin, the Duck Watermelon Salad (£14) was everything the waiter promised and more: a mountain of shredded duck hiding pieces of crunchy watermelon, juicy mandarin, popping pomegranate and cashew nuts. I’m absolutely crazy about this dish, it took every last bit of willpower to not slam down my gold knife and fork, pick the plate up and lick it clean. The Crispy Salted Squid (£12), and Soft Shell Crab Tempura (£15) were also very noteworthy dishes, and we finished these off with the same amount of enthusiasm and decorum as a neanderthal at breakfast.

The infamous Lobster Pot Curry (£32) was next, securing my place as Nirvana Kitchen’s number one fan with large pieces of lobster, pineapple and fine beans, swimming in a mix of sweet coconut water and oriental yellow curry sauce. It was creamy, light, refreshing and indulgent all at the same time, looking ab-fab served in a shaved coconut.

By comparison the Chilean Sea Bass (£25) and Lamb Cutlets (£24) looked as plain as a bridesmaid at a wedding, however their flavour was anything but. Glazed and cooked to perfection, the flaky, salty, fish left no taste bud untouched and the coal cooked cutlets dressed with wasabi roasted garlic sauce, and edamame truffle puree filled the senses and the restaurant with a warm, fiery smell.

Yeah, the flaky Roti Canai (£3.50) and Steamed Basmati Rice (£3) side dishes were good accompaniments to the mains, but neither would have been missed. Maybe if the rice had been a smidge softer and the roti canai with a little less grease, but these were personal preferences and very minor grievances in the shadow of the rest of the above.

I’d say Nirvana Kitchen is the couture of Pan Asian dining. I could set up camp here and move in. I’m willing to leave my toothbrush in the bathroom if they’re willing to give me the spare key. I know a guy with a tape measure, he could easily check to see where to put the bookcase.


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