Shayona is an Indian restaurant near London’s main Hindu temple in Neasden. The food caters for all branches of Hinduism and so is vegetarian, egg-free as well as both onion and garlic free. I must admit that I was sceptical about a restaurant’s ability to produce food without all the staple ingredients of western cuisine, but I really enjoyed my meal at Shayona and would recommend it to anyone who is keen to try something a bit different. A slight word of warning for weight watchers: the food is not healthy – it is very cheese heavy and there is a lot of frying going on. The menu is a mix of more familiar curries and starters (vegetable jalfrezi, tikka masala etc.) along with a good selection of regional dishes. We generally opted for more unusual dishes, starting with fiery fried potato bhajia, paneer curry with peppers in a light tomato sauce and very tasty fried okra. My favourite of our mains was the soya mince curry which had a rich tomato base and was lightly spiced with coriander. Other highlights included a fresh and light spinach curry and a baby aubergine that had been roasted and then stuffed with smoked aubergine pulp. If you have any space left after all that fried food, they offer a fantastic range of multi-coloured desserts – all taste of condensed milk, some of almonds, others pistachio and, bizarrely, tamarind.
Verdict: Recommended for the adventurous.
Crispy Potato Bhajia.
Paneer Sizzler: paneer and capsicums roasted in clay oven & sauteéd.
Bhindi Kur Kure: fried and lightly spiced okra.