Colonel Saab interiors

Review: Colonel Saab

Colonel Saab is an atmospheric spot with gorgeous dishes from all over India

Colonel Saab is a feast for all the senses, taking diners on a journey around India in a glamorous and eclectic setting filled with artefacts and antiques. The first restaurant opened in 2021 in Holborn’s grade-II listed former library building, with a Covent Garden outpost launching last year.

The man behind it is hotelier Roop Partap Choudhary who was inspired by his parents Colonel Manbeer and Mrs Binny Choudhary who travelled all over India, and who loved meeting local people, trying the many different kinds of foods and collecting things they found beautiful.

The restaurants are the perfect antidote to a grey February. We headed to the newest, and stepping off the blustery street into this opulent interior, it feels like you have been transported to another country, and, indeed, time. The warm orange walls are filled, and I mean filled, with artefacts, and the ceiling drips with a host of twinkling chandeliers. It’s quirky and rather magical.

We were seated on the mezzanine level, a good vantage point. Dressed-up diners arrived to go to the private rooms for celebrations, couples sat around the balcony tables, eye level with the chandeliers.

The charming staff were on hand to provide recommendations. We loved the grilled black tiger prawns and the Kolhapuri lamb chops to start, both perfectly cooked and spiced.

The menu, overseen by head chef Sohan Bhandari, features several of the usual favourites (my son loved his choice of butter chicken as did we) but also more unusual choices – a beef pepper fry, a Keralan-inspired drier-style dish, was utterly wonderful with Tellicherry black pepper giving it a real kick. Shikari Raan (slow cooked kid lamb with pickled onion) was also a totally unexpected dish served with a sweet toasted roll and was sublime. Prawn moilee is always a favourite of mine and here it was no exception. The breads are also fabulous.  A dark chocolate silk cake with candy floss was a fun way to end the meal.

You can rack up the bill here with some starters priced at almost £33 for the chops but you can eat more frugally with the likes of chaat to start and the cheaper curries (there’s an interesting veggie selection that sound gorgeous such as confit of cauliflower with cardamom saffron sauce).

It’s a lovely convivial spot. People come for a special night out but it’s welcoming for families, too: over half-term, the restaurant is hosting free Valentine’s and Pancake Day art and cookery masterclasses for kids, as well as a five course Valentine’s Tasting Menu for grown ups (£140 per couple).

Kids’ free masterclass: 13 February. 3.30pm to 5.30pm

Colonel Saab

Prices: from £7.30 for a starter, mains from £17.95

42 William IV St