Lunch at The Savannah:
I know the area around Euston for one kind of food – Southern Indian. Drummond Street has, for many years, been home to a row of excellent, mainly vegetarian Indian restaurants where you can dine out for less than £10. An invitation to review The Savannah, a restaurant formed as part of The Wesley Hotel was intriguing. Tagged as ‘London’s most ethical and eco-friendly bar and restaurant’ with food sourced from sustainable suppliers, I went along to find out more.
The lunch menu is a curious mixture of fusion dishes. Three starters, four main dishes, a good selection of side dishes and a mixture of desserts, ice-cream and sorbets are on offer. My initial feeling was that there should be sharing platters of charcuterie or cheese to complement the rather brief selection of starters and perhaps a salad or two as an option for mains.
For my own starter I picked the prawn tempura with spicy tomato fondue, shitake mushrooms and mango puree served on a banana leaf. For my palate it was overly complicated and the prawn batter was rather heavy – closer to the kind you’d find on a prawn in a Chinese sweet and sour dish than a classic tempura. Perhaps that was deliberate though?
My companion’s chicken and duck pastille with quinoa salad and an orange dressing was altogether more successful. A pastilla is a sweet or savoury Moroccan pastry, I suspect that is what was intended here – it was very similar to the pastilla dish I’d seen prepared at Momo a year or so earlier, that time with a pigeon filling. She loved it.
For main she picked the Sea Bass in Papillote with bok choy, lemon grass, red chillies and baby corn. Again, a winning dish, it appeared on the table wrapped up in its paper package and ready to eat. It looked light and refreshing, a great summer lunch dish.
My oven baked chicken breast came with a rich ragout of mushroom and prosciutto with baby carrots and red wine jus. A wonderfully comforting dish, I thoroughly enjoyed it, though it might not have been the best choice for a hot summer’s day.
Dessert was the highlight of the meal for me. I really enjoyed the ginger and almond pudding with vanilla ice cream. In addition to the short selection of puddings there’s also a list of rather fabulous sounding ice creams and sorbets – lemon and red chilli or Mojito sorbet, olive oil or whisky ice cream and ‘the daily selection’.
My companion enjoyed a picture perfect lemon basil panna cotta
My impression of the Savannah was that it would make a great place for a working lunch. It’s a calm space with a reasonable choice of well-cooked food. I did wonder a little about their claim to be ethical and eco-friendly. There’s nothing much on the menu about sourcing and I don’t recall being given any information from the friendly staff either. And, if I am honest I suspect that serving this kind of fusion food is counter indicative to being eco-friendly. There are a lot of air miles between here and Asia for example. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fine place to enjoy lunch. It just needs a little more explaining.
The Savannah At The Wesley Hotel
81 – 103 Euston Street
London NW1 2EZ
Tel: 020 7691 8588