Age: Just a couple of months.
Previous incarnation: The long-running Massala Hut.
So what goes on there? Chinese BBQ #realness from the people behind the respected (and always crazy busy) Murger Han on Eversholt Street. Plus there’s a very useful supermarket attached for all manner of noodles, rice and various packets, pots and tins.
What should I eat? On our visit the vegetarian options were superior to the meat and seafood. Many dishes are ordered on skewers (a snip at £1 upwards): our favourite was actually a simple cauliflower skewer (£1.40), four golden-crusted florets rolled in five-spice and briefly charred, still al dente, packing genuine flavour. Similarly fine was the broccoli (although it didn’t quite yield the same brassica hit as its paler cousin), while an oyster mushroom skewer was slithery and meaty in equal measures.
Anything else? A whole roasted sweet potato proved a bit dry inside, its flesh sticking rather than buttery, while of the non-veg skewers the best were king prawns, a messy but rewarding affair. Lamb and sirloin skewers are a surprisingly cheap £1.30 and £1.80 each, but are (obviously, for the price) slightly fatty cuts of meat, again with the charred, five-spice rub.
Best of all? A plate of dumplings, wonderfully light parcels with a soft steamed pork centre, sitting in a pool of umami-rich soy: so moreish we would order two next time. Or maybe even three.
The interior: Discuss. Ultra-contemporary and quite hip. There’s low lighting, long banquettes, leather chairs, utilitarian tables, exposed brick walls, and a well-conceived divide from the more traditionally lit glare of the adjoining shop. Good people-watching too, as ever on Drummond Street.
And what do I drink? If you’re in the mood, I’d plump for sake – there’s a good list with some unusual varieties. We knocked back a single bottle of Tsingtao beer each, perfect to wash down the spices with.
What’s the service like? Friendly, although a lack of English meant that the young server couldn’t advise us on how many plates we should order. But it proved a holiday-like culinary adventure nonetheless.
Do say: “It’s a welcome new addition to Drummond St.”
Don’t say: “Got any curry?”