On the quiet streets of Belsize Park, listening to the murmur of voices as people enjoy one of very few warm summer evenings, you may stumble upon Hazara Restaurant. The stylish décor, intimate ambience, and authentic food have earned it a place in the Michelin Guide – a great indication that this restaurant has been acknowledged as one to watch.
Hearing that chef Shatrughan Singh Rathore sources his ingredients from local markets in London we knew we were in for something fresh and flavour-packed.
Served with a selection of fresh homemade dips, we decided that popadums were the perfect way to start our dining experience.
Having read through the menu 3 or 4 times as there was so much to chose from, we eventually chose multiple dishes to share, giving us the chance to try as many dishes as possible.
The first dish to arrive was the chicken tikka marinated with kashmiri chilli and yoghurt – delightful chunks of fresh juicy chicken with spicy flavoursome sauce were joined by a side of light lettuce leaves. Creatively plated and alive with fresh flavours, we were off to a good start.
Next to arrive was the tokari chat, the second part of our sharing starters. Rolled in basil, garlic, fresh chilli, and olive oil, the tilapia fish was soft and melted in the mouth. Topped with mango and sun-dried tomato, the fresh ingredients ensured that the dish was light and tasty.
After an exquisite start, we set our hopes high for the main courses. The food arrived with what felt like the perfect amount of time between courses to allow our starters to go down whilst enjoying the relaxing environment and taking in the decor of Hazara. First up was the tandoori duck. I was drawn to trying duck in an Indian restaurant, curious of how it would be cooked and balanced with an ingredient I love – cardamom.
The tender duck in a sweet sauce created a beautiful dish of perfectly balanced flavours. We chose the recommended side dishes that worked well with the main courses, a plain basmati rice not to complicate the ingredients, and plain naan bread to ensure we were able to wipe our plates clean!
Our final dish of our Indian adventure was the authentic chicken jalfrezi, a great blend of spices and tomato, with juicy white chicken breast and bell peppers topped with coriander.
With any meal so full of flavour, it’s always nice to finish off with something to cleanse your palate, so we tried the selection of handmade ice creams. The perfect end to a great evening, something refreshing, cold and light to cool down our spicy taste buds.
We had a deliciously delightful dining experience at Hazara, and would highly recommend taking a trip to the beautiful streets of Hampstead and enjoying an adventure to tastes of India without needing to buy an airline ticket!
44 Belsize Lane, London, NW3 5AR