157 King Street, Hammersmith W6 9JT
Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £50
020 8741 8563
Sagar is a true South Indian restaurant – the menu is entirely vegetarian and has a fantastic range of Thalis (selections of small dishes served in a steel tray with lots of compartments). I went to the Hammersmith branch but they also have restaurants in Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road. The simple décor belies the quality of the food, but the hard surfaces and generic prints do not create a great atmosphere.
The food strays far from traditional British sub-continental fayre – a speciality is their lentil pizzas (£5-7) of which they have 7 to choose from including tomato, coconut and masala. To drink, I opted for the salt lassi which was sharp and creamy, cut with cumin and a great compliment to the spicier parts of my dishes – my friends also had this and said it was as good as what they had sampled in India. The starters all seemed fairly standard except for something called Idli which is a rice dumpling. My onion bhajis were crisp and fresh with crushed coriander seeds giving them a beautifully flat spiciness; they were softened by a light and creamy coconut sauce.
I sampled both the north and south Indian Thalis, which both come with rice and bread: the highlight of the south was a sharp, hot and dry potato and mustard seed curry. The north Indian Thali had some slightly more familiar dishes – chana masala (chickpea curry) , spiced cauliflowers (aloo ghobi), paneer and vegetable kurma – these were all well cooked with a nice crunch still remaining in the vegetables. The Thalis included a wonderfully sweet and sticky Gulab Jammun for dessert.
If you love curry, but want to try something a bit different I would strongly recommend Sagar.