Flavour of the Week: Samarkand
Not familiar with Central Asian cuisine? New Fitzrovia restaurant Samarkand shows why you should be
What's the draw
Named after the Uzbek city that sits in the middle of the Silk Road, Samarkand's menu showcases the flavours of Central Asia – albeit in a souped up form utilising the very best ingredients the chefs can lay their hands on. The décor is some of the loveliest we've seen, with turquoise tiling that evokes the city's famed azure structures; intricate wooden panelling; and – in case your geography isn't up to scratch – a handy map detailing path of the ancient trade route.
What to drink
Vodka and tea are the drinks of choice in Uzbekistan's hot climate, and the drinks list boasts an excellent selection of both accordingly. There's still plenty to keep you entertained on the wine list though, including a crisp and and fruity 2015 viognier by French winemaker Chapoutier.
What to eat
We bypassed the nibble-y bits and went straight for the manti – delicious, juicy little parcels filled with either pumpkin or beef and lamb (note: if you cut them in half, you're doing it wrong). Up next was luxurious, charred-on-the-outside, marbled-meat-on-the-inside wagyu beef shashlik with truffle, followed by fried lagman – a beef stew with hand-pulled noodles, reminiscent of goulash – and a sticky, aromatic whole chicken. Elsewhere, dessert was an absolute gem: a whole peach poached in thyme and chilli, with a violet-hued barberry ice cream.
33 Charlotte Street, W1T 3RR; samarkand.london. From £24 for two courses; wine from £7 by the glass and £25 by the bottle.