Name: Rasa W1
Area: Oxford Street
Address: 6 Dering Street
London W1S 1AD
Phone: 020 7629 1346

Visits to this restaurant ...

1. 24 Jun 2010|2. 27 Jan 2011

Having recommended this restaurant, Richard prays that Rasa W1 will live up to his expectations.

Visit Report

Visit Number: 123 (visit 1 of 2 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 24 Jun 2010
Cost per head: £37.00 (2 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 7.7 6.5 6.7 8.5 6.3 6.3 7.8 6.7 6.0 7.09
John 8 6 6 6 7 6 8 7 5 6.7 See John's comments
Jon 7 7 7 8 2 3 7 5 4 5.8 See Jon's comments
Mark 8 5 7 8 4 4 8 7 6.6 See Mark's comments
Richard 9 8 8 10 9 7 9 9 8 8.7 See Richard's comments
Robin 8 6 7 7 6 6 6 5 5 6.2 See Robin's comments
Brian 6 6 7 10 8 7 9 7 6 7.6 See Brian's comments
Jeff 8 7 6 10 5 6 7 5 7 7.0 See Jeff's comments
Graeme 10 7 6 9 6 7 8 6 5 7.3 See Graeme's comments
Elango (Guest) 6 6 7 8 7 8 8 7 5 7.0 See Elango's comments
Tim 7 6 6 10 7 7 8 8 6 7.3 See Tim's comments
Alex 8 8 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 7.8 See Alex's comments

All Comments

John - One of the better places we've been to but quite expensive. Food was very good and unusual - I particularly liked the king fish curry (although the menu took about three paragraphs to describe it as a fish curry). Robin's chana-masala was tasty too.

Jon - Not only did Richard take us out of our comfort zone in terms of location, but also in terms of style.  Apparently "South Indian" in its cuisine, the Rasa's menu was lacking the old favourites both in terms of main course, but also in terms of accompaniments with no pilau rice and no nan bread.  With a general sense of bewilderment around the table, all but one of our number followed Richard's recommendation of the "feast" – a four course extravaganza giving a selection of most dishes from the menu.  The first course, effectively replacing popadums, included some popadums, a few other crispy things and a nice selection of dips.  The starters were very good with lamb puffs, some sort of potato and rice dumplings and samosas.  The main courses were all tasty although not overly spicy, but I was disappointed by the choice of coconut or lemon rice, and I definitely missed a nan bread.  I didn't stay for the desert course as I had a train to catch and no more room – besides, desert on a curry night is just wrong!!  It turned out to be a bit on the lumpy side and, although the food was generally good, it wasn't worth the money and I wouldn't rush back.

Mark - Rasa W1 was certainly a new experience for CurryMarks. Most of us having a set menu including desert (don't tell Griff). We were sort of shoved in upstairs and I ended up sitting in a permanent draught from the air conditioning but it was so warm outside we could not think of turning off. Being at the end of the table meant I missed out on the Fish Curry, only finding out about it on the train home! Overall it was enjoyable and somewhere I would happily go in a small group but "The Feast" did not do it for me on this occasion. Parts of it were very good but others not so. I would certainly go á la Robin next time.

Richard - I love Keralan food and was keen to share some more unusual food with the club. I have been a regular at Rasa over the years and the food was up to the usual high standard. Once again I had the 4 course feast, and the tender lamb, chicken, and fish curries were delicious. The best thing for me was the unusual side dishes, starters and snacks. The price of the feast was high but in my view fair, and the a-la-cate pricing is standard. The service was spot-on, and I like the restaurant styling and location.

Robin - Our first official Kerala experience: interesting, but most dishes were rather too sour for me. I prefer to mix a bit of sour with a bit of "normal" but that didn't seem to be an option. I had the Lambpuffs to start; nice lamb stuffing but the pastry was a bit soft, followed by the Malabar Erachi Chaaru main dish. Beautifully cooked lamb, but the sauce wasn't that spicy and was quite sour. The tamarind rice was pleasant enough but didn't taste much of tamarind (which I rather like), and the chana masala that I ordered was nothing special – the "thick tomato sauce" wasn't that thick and didn't taste of tomatoes. I was pretty glad that I'd not chosen the Vadakkan Feast that Richard persuaded everybody else to go for. It contained exactly the same dishes that I'd ordered plus quite a few ingredients and dishes that I know very well I wouldn't have liked (beetroot, spinach, cabbage, rice pudding, etc.). Even though I ordered the combination that probably suited me best, for me Kerala is an acquired taste that I'm in no hurry to acquire.

Brian - You go to the West End for a Chinese, and you go to the East End for an Indian: it's the oldest rule in the book.  Rules apparently are made to be broken, so we headed west (off Oxford Street), and well beyond our comfort zone.  The menus were pink and chatty - a dish often described by a meandering paragraph reminiscing about where the author was when he first encountered this sophisticated blend of spices and so on (and on), and it took an age to determine whether the dish was chicken, fish, lamb or whatever, so most people got bored and instructed the waiter to bring "food".  It was apparently called a "feast", but I don't know 'cos I couldn't find it in the menu, amidst all the chatter about the sunset over some bay somewhere and the smell of freshly burnt sandalwood and so on (and on).  The food was rather good, very tasty but perhaps not enough kick.  Standard bottled Cobra, which is fine, but a bit of choice or variety would be nice.  A good place to eat, but don't bother looking at the menu.  Probably one for the family on a day out in the West End.

Jeff - A trip up West (ooh err) to celebrate Italy's early World cup departure.  A hot day and lots of nice scenery outside the pub.  A few minutes walk down Oxford Street to the Rasa, our first Keralan restaurant.  On Richard's recommendation, we all (except Robin) went for the Keralan feast at £25 a head; on reflection I wish I'd chosen from the menu, as I do not know what I had.  Everything was well cooked and there was plenty of it (except for rice).  Good mixture of crispy things and dips to start the meal, and truly excellent starters, but the final course of rice pudding was not to my (or many others') taste and perhaps we should have negotiated a 'feast' without this.  The bread was just ok, but it was the best fish curry I've had.  All in all a place I'd return to, and choose off the menu.

Graeme - Most of us opted for the "Feast" which meant that we were served a variety of dishes throughout the meal, rather than ordering our own starter and main. We had quite a few different appetizers / starters which were all very good - the highlight being the potato 'bomb'. Although the various main course dishes were also generally tasty and well cooked, in a way there were too many different and rich flavours. I'm pleased that I went for the Feast as Richard (who recommended this place) had had it before and was keen for us to try it. It was an enjoyable and different experience but I probably wouldn't have it next time (if there is a next time). I thought the service was excellent (there was always a waiter on hand to take away empty dishes, bring cutlery, etc) but the price was too high (even taking into account the location). I had the misfortune of sitting opposite Rats who, as usual, spent the whole evening moaning about something or other - he is turning into Victor Meldrew.

Elango - The Vadakkan feast gaves us a sample of various foods and it was nice to try many different dishes. The starters were authentic as was the pudding (payasam). I also liked the different rice and the Lamb curry was very good.

Tim - It was nice to be out of the City for a change, and to stand outside the pub and see people other than City workers. The restaurant itself was clean and pleasant, though our long table felt a bit awkward in the round space by the spiral staircase. As it was the first curry club visit to a restaurant serving Keralan food, the menu was quite different, and most of us ended up choosing the Vaddakan Feast. To start with there were mini poppadoms, achappam, murukku and a few others, with a selection of pickles, including lemon and mango. This made a pleasant change from the usual large poppadoms and standard sauces. This was followed by three starters, including a tasty lamb puff (minced lamb in a sort of puff pastry), and a chicken samosa. These were very good. There was a selection of main courses, vegetables and breads, but unfortunately I didn't get the names of any of them. They were all tasty though, and I would have been happy to eat any of them as a single main course. We finished with a sort of milk pudding which included sago. It was OK, but a bit too sweet. Overall, the service was efficient, and although the cost was quite high, given the selection of dishes we had, I thought it reasonable value for money.

Alex - Nice change and good food.

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