It’s not often that I’ll willingly go to a vegetarian restaurant but when there’s Indian vegetarian food on offer, I’m totally game. I always said that if I had to become a vegetarian, it would only be possible with the spectacular variety of Indian vegetarian food available. When I learned that some of the best samosas in Southall were available at Shahanshah, a vegetarian restaurant, I wasted no time in roping in my two eating buddies, Mirna and Rachel, and headed there one Saturday.
I’d never seen the restaurant before, it being off the main roads and in a more residential part on North Road. The place is small, with a counter at the right hand end, only a handful of tables, the menu on the wall, and a long queue to boot! The menu lists both savouries (samosas, chaats, main dishes, breads) and sweets (sold by weight). We were there for lunch so savouries it was.
While Mirna held a table for us, Rachel and I braved the queue. I think we ordered quite a lot which necessitated a notepad for our list of dishes! To start we ordered one each of the salty (Mirna’s), sweet (Rachel’s), and mango (mine) lassis. All were thick and huge and just what we looked for in a lassi.
Along with these came a small cupful of some very tasty and spicy carrot pickles and a tamarind dip for the samosas to come.
Of course we couldn’t go all the way there and not try their famous vegetable samosas! Only 35p each (and there are discounts if you order in great numbers). These were superb, some seriously excellent examples of fine samosas. The filling was mostly potato but it was well spiced and very moreish while the wrapper was crisp and flaky and well, just thinking about it again starts the cravings!
When we polished those off, the main dishes started appearing. First up, saag – recommended by the man who took our order – it was spicy and had large leaf bits in there and one of the nicer saags I’ve had,
then some mutter paneer – peas with fresh cheese in sauce that was quite tangy in a good way,
and the best of the lot, malai kofta. I don’t think any of us were expecting the little fritters to be made of purely (or almost purely) fresh cheese! They were light and delicious and swimming in a creamy sauce that was wiped clean out of the serving dish. This is a definite order-again dish!
To go with these, an assortment of breads: two makki di roti, one chapati, and one bhatura. My favourite was the deep-fried fluffy bhatura but the makki di roti (made of cornmeal) and chapati were not to be sniffed at either.
We were pretty stuffed after all this Mirna still ordered her favourite rasmalai, a dessert that I’d never tried, not normally being a huge fan of cheese. Boy, am I glad she did get it that day! Rasmalai is so delicious! It’s cheesy but more like a fresh cheese and it’s sweet and cold and refreshing in a way I expected no cheese to be.
And the cost for this vegetarian feast? Only £22 for all this and 8 more samosas (6 vegetable, 2 paneer, couldn’t help ourselves!) for takeaway. Such is the popularity of this tiny restaurant that there’s an Appreciation Society for it on Facebook! So if you don’t believe me and my review, believe the comments there!
Shahanshah Vegetarian Restaurant
60 North Rd