Places To Eat In London: Booma, Brixton
Concerned as I usually am with the hottest Central London eateries and everything new and exciting that arrives in my little corner of Kent, there is one category of really great restaurant I think I’ve been rather overlooking the past few years: the really great neighbourhood restaurant. This was really hit home to me yesterday when I was taken for lunch at Booma, a fantastic little Northern Indian joint smack bang between Stockwell and Brixton.
The menu at Booma is small and mighty – lovely for an Indian where there is usually too much choice, and a lot of the menu is paired with the equally small and carefully curated craft beer and cider menu, with food and drink pairings marked on the menu. We had 2/3 pints of their smooth, light and drinkable house lager with a pile of their poppadoms, finished with mango and tamarind chutneys – I loved this presentation, so much easier than dealing with little dishes of things that have to be passed around the table with messy spoons!
Our Bhindi Jaipuri – crispy fried okra with gram flour and mango powder – arrived first which were tasty to snack on but not really what I’d call a side, and the Achari Paneer Tikka, which while I can’t actually eat a whole serving, the bite I had daubed in both of the chutneys it came with made it stand out as a menu must-order, managing to be firm, toothsome and flavourful, and still rich, creamy and very more-ish at the same time.
My hero dish was the Pudhina lamb chops; double cut and smothered in spices before being served perfectly crusty on the outside and insanely tender and still slightly bloody on the outside, paired with a vibrant and punchy mint chutney, which they happily bought another bowl full of for me once I’d mopped up every last drop.
I did not get a chance to try the Duck Kathi Roll – roast duck and plum chutney in a garlic naan wrap – but it looked fantastic, and perfect if you’re just stopping by Booma for a light lunch, rather than the lazy Sunday lunch affair we were enjoying. However, I did have the Radga Patties all to myself – potato cakes topped with chaat, kachucumber and natural yogurt, and while the potatoes were not 100% to my liking, they were the understudy to the fantastic chickpea curry salad which I really, really loved. It’s a great dish for sharing.
The dish I was most excited to try at Booma was the black Dal Makhani, served with a buttered naan – we also got an extra garlic one as we were sharing, but controversially I thought the plain buttered one was better. This dal was excellent; rich, earthy and creamy, not quite soup and not quite stew, it had a really, beautifully deep flavour to it like those subtle notes in demerara sugar, but without any of sugars overwhelming sweetness. Comforting but still complex, but also deeply satisfying; a real cure for the bitingly cold day.
A lovely little touch that came with our bill were these homemade after dinner mints, simply still chilled fresh mint leaves generously dipped in crisp white chocolate. A lovely little idea I’ll be trying out myself at home the next time I’m entertaining. They were also perfect in place of dessert, as there was no way I could manage any more food after that lot!