Samarkand marks our first dining at an Uzbekistan eatery inspired by the flavours of the Silk Road, we foodies were more than excited to explore our palettes. Right off of Charlotte Street in a chic underground hideaway, Samarkand creates an exotic atmosphere in the heart of Fitzrovia. No fashionable minimalism here and ideal if you want to avoid crowds and noisy street level venues.
Upon entering and making the steps down, you are greeted with a large dining hall, but our evening began at the mezzanine bar stocking more than 40 vodkas making it one of the largest craft vodka selection in town. To the side of the bar, you can see the various notes in crystal, the key to the rousing fusion of flavours created by the mixologists. We took the house suggestion of their signature Cosmopolitan “Marco Polo” inspired by the flavours of the Silk Road, a perfectly balanced blend of cherry yellow tomato, duck fat washed Vestal Vodka with honey comb and chilli, cranberry sauce, absinthe, sage, orange juice, orange liqueur, and a dash of Portobello lager to liaise all.
After getting our taste buds blooming with our beautifully presented cocktails, we made our way to our table. The friendly staff are obliging, courteous and knowledgeable about everything on the menu. Our waiter walked us through the menu made up of traditional dishes with a contemporary touch along with real home cooking on offer. Diners can choose a la carte or traditional shared dishes making for a feastt-like fare.
Signature dishes on the menu will include traditional favourites including Baklajan (smoky aubergine caviar), warm flat bread, tasty dumplings and the communal piles of plov (pilaf) the national dish of Uzbekistan with deep culinary traditions based on nomadic life including sheep that thrive in dry desert air. There are plenty of vegetarian options too all marked on the menu, we opted for the somsa stuffed with pumpkin instead of beef or lamb.
With hearty portions of classic dishes ss well as an excellent wine list, Samarkand goes the extra step beyond the fine dining service to provide a memorable dining experience. You may want everything on menu, surely to ensure return diners.
Editor’s Picks based on sharing:
Cocktail – Samarkand Mule
Starters – Baklajon, Uzbek style smoked aubergine caviar; Somsa, hand-made pastry parcels filled with pumpkin; selection of beef & lamb and pumpkin Manti, traditional Uzbek hand-made dumplings
Mains – Samarkand Plov, the national dish of Uzbekistan. A recipe passed from generation to generation. Beef short rib slowly cooked together with hand-cut yellow carrots, onions, chickpeas, barberries and rice. Garnished with pomegranate and spring onions.
Sides – Achichuk, traditional salad made with heritage tomatoes, onions and herbs.
Dessert – Baklava cake
Manti, traditional Uzbek hand-made dumplings
Samarkand Plov, the national dish of Uzbekistan
33 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia
London W1T 1RR, UK