5 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RE
- Recommended for:
- Backpackers / Students, Business travellers, Culture vultures, Foodies, Mature travellers, Relaxation
Expert review of Rasa Samudra
Whenever my parents are visiting, we always make one or two trips to Rasa. This chain of pink-coloured restaurants specializes in the home-style cooking of south India, especially the region of Kerala, from where owner Das Sreedharan hails. Entering via Charlotte Street you'll find a charming though fairly normal restaurant; pop round the back to Rathbone Place at lunchtimes, however, and you'll see the dinky 'Rasa Express' takeaway - source of the best meal deal in London.
Rasa restaurants are best known for their vegetarian dishes but this branch (their largest) is also a seafood specialist and the peppery crab varuthathu, stir-fried with plenty of curry leaves and chilli, is a must-have. Most people start with the intriguingly shaped crispy snacks served with fresh homemade pickles, including some terrific fish and prawn pickles. However the hot cooked starters are worth trying sometime too, especially the medhu vadai (lentil dumplings), Mysore bonda (potato balls) and banana boli (bananas deep-fried in a batter of rice and chickpea flours and black sesame seeds). I always order bagar baingan (aubergines in cashew nut sauce), the beetroot and spinach, and moru kachiathu, a mildly-spiced yogurt sauce with mangoes and green bananas cooked in it.
Downstairs is rather formal; I prefer to go upstairs to the blonde wood dining room overlooking the action on Charlotte Street.
Friendly but sometimes a little shy and slow-off-the-mark.
At the foot of one of London’s great dining-out streets, about 10-15 minutes from the British Museum.
For first timers, the easiest and most cost-effective thing to do is order a vegetarian or seafood feast menu (£22.50 and £30 per head respectively).
Rasa is burgeoning and now extends as far north as Newcastle and down to Brighton. In central London there’s a discreet branch on Dering Street, near the big department stores of Oxford Street, and another (surprisingly handy) tucked away in a branch of Holiday Inn Express at King’s Cross. There's a standalone branch of cheap-as-chapatis Rasa Express on the Euston Road. The business started in Stoke Newington – see website for details.
More information on Rasa Samudra:
- Price guide:
- Restaurant, Takeaway
- Indian, Seafood, Vegetarian
- 5 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RE
- 020 7637 0222
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Mon-Wed noon-3pm, 6-10.30pm; Thur-Sat noon-3pm, 6-10.45pm; Sun 6-10.30pm.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Kerala, Keralan, Malabar, Hyderabadi