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Winner of Channel 4's 'Come Dine With Me' (West London) 'Bronze' winner in professionally judged 'AA Home Cooking Competition 2009' Appointed resident cookery columnist for Foodepedia

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Every so often, i am asked by a Chef or Restaurateur to come and have dinner at their restaurant, usually after an opening or launch of a new menu, to experience the food and also write a little 'review' (if you will) that will give some constructive feedback about my findings. Recently i was lucky enough to be asked to do so, at a restaurant i have been dying to go to for 6 months... so naturally i leapt at the chance and here are excerpts of my reportage.
Located in Westferry, East London... Dockmaster's House is a stunning venue, with a colourful history dating back 200 years. Purpose built by 'The West India Company' as the excise house which served West India Docks. In 1846 it was converted into 'The Jamaica Tavern' which also doubled as a hotel mostly occupied by merchants. Tales of Opium scandals and ill repute plagued the building, until 1926 when the building was adapted to provide office space for the Dock Superintendant and his staff. So in fact its current name 'Dockmaster's House' is somewhat inaccurate, but nonetheless, the building is absolutely stunning and with the touch of modern architecture and design, it is still very much formidable.

As I walked through the doors, a pleasant incense scent greets me and an atractive blonds leads me to my table by the floor to ceiling glass windows, overlooking the stunning private garden. The restaurant is opulent and tasteful in design, yet understatedly so. There is nothing offensive in your line of sight, everything is muted and pleasant and the dining room is calm and serene. An Amuse Bouche of a spiced potato cake is sent to the table. I find that potato doesn’t do much to amuse my ‘Bouche’, so to speak but the drizzle of tamarind sauce is both sharp and piquant, which lifts and compliments it perfectly.

We begin with the mixed Tandoori selection, Duck Confit Samosas and Crispy fried scallops and squid. The Tandoori selection was a platter of chicken, lamb, swordfish and giant prawns, which were particularly good. The Duck Confit samosas were two perfect little triangular pastry pillows brimming with meaty duck filling, served with an apple and ginger chutney. The deep fried spiced squid and scallops… Perhaps not the most appetising appearance, would benefit from the addition of some colour, but were absolutely delicious in their golden crunchy spiced jackets.

Studying the main courses on the menu, it appears that i was spoilt for choice. I have a particular penchant for ‘all things rice’… and so the Biryani caught my eye immediately. The Biryani was (simply put) the most magnificent Biryani I’ve ever had in my life. The puff pastry was cooked perfectly and peeling it back, steam arose from the pot and its aromatic perfumed teased my nostrils and intoxicated me instantly. Inside was beautifully cooked Basmati rice with the delicate but beautifully noticeable accent of saffron, which was nothing short of a pleasure to behold. Tucked away in the dish were juicy, succulent pieces of the most perfectly cooked lamb and as an added treat, lots of juice at the bottom of the dish, which was just wonderful. The dish was not spicy at all, subtle notes of chilli were present, but what really sent me into a spin was the delicate layering of spice that really made this dish so fantastic. I really couldn’t fault it, in fact I would have been happy to just have the Biryani and nothing else!

In addition, we chose a lamb curry which was brimming with perfectly cooked tender morsels of lamb in a deliciously rich and perfectly spiced sauce, just wonderful! We also had a side dish of Tamarind aubergines, which I found surprising at how well the acerbically tart Tamarind worked with the delicate flesh of the aubergine, it was truly delicious.At this stage I’m totally stuffed and not being a dessert person, its all a very tricky affair… but still lots of interesting things to choose from. We decided to be greedy and taste three desserts… Mango Pannacotta, Pistachio Crème Brulee and the Chocolate Fondant with homemade mint Ice Cream. The flavour of the Crème Brulee was everything you’d expect from a Pistachio-laden treat… thick, rich and gloriously unctuous with a freshly baked cardamom cookie. The chocolate fondant was cooked perfectly and was absolutely fantastic and fulfilled every expectation revealing a gooey centre of oozing chocolate. I wasn’t a big fan of the mint ice cream, but that’s just a personal dislike for mint really. Lastly the Mango Pannacotta… The dessert itself was too gelatinous and not creamy and rich as it should be and the concentrate of mango was not nearly enough, although the flavour of the Mango sorbet was excellent and perhaps if more of the sorbet’s flavour would lend itself to the Pannacotta, the problem would be solved.

Executive Chef Navin Bhatia came over to our table after the meal to see if we enjoyed everything, which of course we did. He very kindly gave us a tour of the venue and its grounds. It even has a stunning bar and club on the ground floor, adjacent to the private garden, which is so elegent. Navin is a lovely man and he really puts his heart and soul into his food and his business. To conclude, the meal was superb and the standard of cooking that takes place here is clearly a cut above the rest! The restaurant is very special, not just historically, but also the uniquely modern design and attention to detail and décor. A perfect place for a date or a really special meal… Check out the restaurant at: http://www.dockmastershouse.com/ Namaste!!!


  1. sounds great i love your style of writing

  2. I should never read your food posts on an empty stomach. Makes it growl something fierce. And every food description makes me salivate. Mind you, in this particular case, I think I would have salivated even on a full stomach.
    Too bad Westferry is a tad far from where I live. I will just have to arrange a meet with someone in Canary Wharf to have an excuse to be in the neighborhood.
    Very nice, and fast loadign web site too. Well designed. Though the picture of the ultra modern entrance on the Reservations tab was a bit much for me.
    Now off to get lunch before the stomach rumbles can be heard all the way at Westferry!!

  3. Wow, sounds like a really cool place. Thanks for the review, I hadn't heard of it before.