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Restaurant Review: Paro, Covent Garden

paro covent garden

A Buzzing Indian in Covent Garden

Paro is nestled in the heart of theatreland, directly connected to the Lyceum, renowned for housing “The Lion King” as long as memory serves. Occupying an enviable location, it’s the quintessential spot for a pre-theatre meal. Our visit at 6 pm on a bustling Wednesday evening confirms that we’re far from the only ones enticed by the promise of a good curry before the curtain rises. So much so, upon arrival, we find ourselves briefly sipping drinks at the bar—a stylish establishment adorned with faux foliage overhead and neon signs illuminating the space.

paro covent garden 1

A Love Letter to Calcutta’s Cuisine

Paro tells a compelling culinary tale, proudly branded as ‘Calcutta’s love letter’. The curries here boast the mystique of being concocted from a secret blend of 48 spices, all meticulously sourced from Calcutta itself. At the helm is Chef Niaz, a name familiar to admirers of Brick Lane’s coveted eatery, City Spice, whose chicken tikka masala recipe has graced the screens of Channel 5. Paro is his foray into a solo venture, and the vast and inviting menu bears testament to his ambition.

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The Pre-Theatre Menu: A Swift Sojourn of Spice

Our objective: the pre-theatre menu, a succinct and expeditious offering of two courses for £19 or three for £22. The starters—potato chops, breaded and delicately fried potato balls seasoned with mild spices and mustard seeds—deliver a robust and savory introduction. Meanwhile, the Welsh grass-fed lamb mince samosas, encased in Calcuttan filo pastry, astonish with their exceptional crispness.

For the main act, we opt for the butter chicken, a classic rich in tomato essence, and the enigmatically dubbed Classic Curry British Indian Style, drawing its inspiration from Brick Lane. There’s a caveat, though; we’re told to anticipate a slight wait for this dish, piquing our curiosity.

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The Final Verdict

Contrary to expectations, the dish arrives synchronously with the others, delivering an impeccable medley of spices with a lush, creamy consistency that does not disappoint. Accompanied by a superlative naan, charred just so, it leaves an indelible impression and a longing to return. Glances at neighboring tables reveal a sumptuous-looking thali, further fuelling our future menu musings.

From the a la carte selection, the lamb chops dusted with black bean, toddy shop tiger prawns, and grandmother’s Bally black dhal beckon enticingly. But for a pre-theatre pitstop, Paro stands out for its swift yet satisfying service, ensuring patrons are well-fed and timely ushered to their theatrical engagements.

Next time, however, we resolve to linger a little longer.

For more about Paro and to explore their full menu, visit Paro Indian.

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Picture of Pendle Harte

Pendle Harte

Pendle Harte joined Zest in 2012 as launch editor of Absolutely Notting Hill, Zest's first London title, and then became launch editor of Absolutely Home magazine in 2018. Now she edits the London portfolio, sourcing content on all things London related, from food to culture via fashion, interiors and health. Pendle is a lifelong Londoner whose interests include books, clothes, theatre and spelling. She lives with her partner and their two teenage daughters in north west London.
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