Samarkand Review

samarkand_barOn the 26th of October 2016, I was invited along to dinner and a masterclass at Samarkand to learn how to make Manti Dumplings. I obviously didn’t read the press release properly as I had not realised that Samarkand was not a Japanese restaurant as first thought, but London’s only Uzbekistan restaurant. From the moment my friend and I walked into the restaurant we were totally blown away by the décor and the atmosphere inside. It would have to be up the top of my list of stunningly beautiful restaurants in London. From each of the dining room areas, to the bars and even the toilets, no expense has been spared to create an absolutely gorgeous venue for diners to spend their time in.


After an extremely refreshing and moreish cocktail (that if I remember correctly consisted of citrus, champagne and vodka) we were shown to our seats to begin the masterclass. Seated with other members of the press around a bar, we were provided with lamb, beef, beef and lamb fat, onions and seasonings to begin mincing our ingredients for the Manti Dumplings. Not being a lamb eater, I didn’t include this in dish so my tasting of the dumplings were likely to be a tad different but still just as good. Now my dumplings were unlikely to win any prizes for the best looking dumplings but they sure were tasty. (Hence why there’s no photos of them included). This was a fun experience and would definitely be a treat if the restaurant chose to sell masterclasses to the general public. When we’d finished making our dumplings for the true master chefs in the kitchen to cook up for us, we were seated at the dining table to enjoy some of Samarkand’s signature Uzbekistan dishes.


For starters we had Baklajon Uzbek style smoked aubergine caviar, Somsa Hand-made pastry parcels filled with pumpkin and our dumplings. All this was served with Uzbekistan style bread which was very similar to sour dough but a tad heavier. I really enjoyed the flavours in the aubergine caviar and the pumpkin somsas a lot more than I thought I would. Especially as these are two vegetables I tend to steer clear from. Both dishes are definitely worth ordering!

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When it came to the mains we were served the national dish of Uzbekistan. Beef short rib slowly cooked together with hand-cut yellow carrots, onions, chickpeas, barberries and rice. Garnished with pomegranate and spring onions and Achichuk (Traditional salad made with heritage tomatoes, onions and herbs). I must admit both these dishes were a little disappointing. While the beef was definitely tender and the pomegranate gave the beef that little kick, it was a tad bland and a bit oily.

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By the time dessert came though, my friend and I were extremely full and could only manage a bite of the Chilli & Thyme Poached Peach with Pistachio Crumble and Barberry Ice Cream Baklava Cake. Both dishes were extremely over powered by cinnamon and readers will know I can’t stand cinnamon at all so I didn’t enjoy them as much as I wanted too. Presentation wise they looked amazing and other diners at our table definitely looked like they were enjoying the deserts.


After dinner, we headed back to the bar to speak to the head bartender about the cocktail menu and the numerous flavoured vodkas available at Samarkand. Being so close to Russia, Uzbekistan is known for its vodkas and we were lucky enough to try the ‘Duck Fat Vodka’. While it sounds like the last thing someone would want to try, I can’t recommend it enough. It was so smooth and easy to drink. A complete and utterly unexpected surprise that you definitely have to try yourself.


Our time spent at Samarkand was so lovely and I’m looking forward to all the events the restaurant has planned. Afternoon tea with Vodka! Sign me up for that! Make sure you head along to try some unique food, enchanting cocktails and a vodka experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

Reporter: Tegan LeBon

Twitter and Instagram: @toogs1

Samarkand  33 Charlotte Street  London W1T 1RR

0203 871 4969

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