Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Restaurant review: DAWAT (Tooting)

I could have South Asian cuisine for dinner most evenings, and Tooting boasts two great Pakistani restaurants, situated across the road from each other, to ensure that you never get tired of going to the same place.

My comments about Lahore Karahi pretty much all apply to Dawat, with regards to affordability, portion sizes and the no-frills dining experience. However, of the two, I think Dawat just edges it, because, from my two visits to Dawat, I felt their ingredients were fresher. See the photo below:

The biryani dishes are comparable in terms of aesthetics to Lahore Karahi, but at Dawat, the cooks have taken more care with the presentation of individual servings of meat. I welcome liberal quantities of onions (as readers of my blog may have inferred, it’s one of my favourite foods, and I feel it is a very underrated ingredient in how it simultaneously nourishes, and adds texture to the meal). The sauce-tinted orange of the chicken dishes look so appetising, and one bite told me what a succulent plate it was.

As slightly more thought goes into the presentation of the dishes in Dawat, this subconsciously makes the restaurant-goer even more excited about the food. The menu boasts a range of ways in which the meals are cooked (balti, jalfrezi, karahi, madras, to name but a few), so there’s guaranteed to be something to the liking of everyone. All the grilled items on the menu are great, but my personal favourite dish from Dawat is the chilli paneer. It’s fabulously chewy and the sauce is just divine!

Both Lahore Karahi and Dawat attest to a tenet which I am always banging on about, which is that the best South Asian dining experiences are found outside of central London. There’s more to a curryhouse than just Dishoom; two people can eat very handsomely at Dawat for the price of two plates of prawns at Dishoom! (I still haven't forgiven that wilfully obtuse the waiter in Dishoom for not alerting me that I had under-ordered. #GoneGirlEmma).

On the other side of south London, in Orpington, there’s Masala Dabbas which produces much more authentic Indian food than the manufactured, pandering to Western palates-dishes you’ll find on Brick Lane, plus the waiters actually take the time to find out what flavours you like, so that there’s a high chance you’ll actually enjoy your dish.

This thoughtfulness is also true of Dawat, where they bring you your starter promptly after you’ve ordered, so as to not make the diner frustrated about being surrounded by so many delicious fragrances, but being unable to eat. They allow a good amount of time between eating your starter and your main, so that you don’t feel rushed.

I’ve been to Dawat twice, and it’s always had a healthy number of staff to attend to their many patrons, so that you don’t have to wait long to make a request, which again, differentiates it from the central London eateries (who seem to feature one member of staff who’s almost always in their first week working, whenever I visit).

So there you have it. Don’t be constrained by central London restaurants, because the vast majority of them coast on their tourist-focused locations and do not put the effort into the cooking, that your taste buds deserve. There are two great South Asian restaurants in Tooting that merit your attention (and money) instead, and Dawat is the superior of the two.

Grade: A 


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Unknown said...

Hi yesterday I bought one of the mutton boneless curry. The Tast of the curry was not prepared same day. It’s Tast like old. That are charging 7 pounds but the quantity of the curry is not for the value of 7 pounds. This restaurant was good. Now not reaching the customer expectations. Thanks

Emma said...

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