Bars & Leisure Focus: Project - Colonel Saab
COLONEL SAAB is an authentic and unique, luxury Indian dining concept in Central London created by entrepreneur Roop Partap Choudhary, who has carefully crafted the menu and art-filled destination as a ‘love letter’ to his family and India.
Words by Toby Maxwell
The modern restaurant is located in the former Holborn Town Hall and the menu – covering breakfast to dinner – and artworks are a homage to Choudhary’s travels across India with his mother and father, Colonel Manbeer, who was given the honorific name ‘Colonel Saab’ (from which the restaurant takes its name), while serving in the Indian Army.
The menu is inspired by places Colonel Saab was stationed and Choudhary spent a year retracing his father’s footsteps across India with Indian food royalty, Karen Anand, to curate contemporary twists on dishes passed down through the generations, with many specialities appearing for the first time on a London menu, alongside some of Anand’s signature dishes.
Choudhary explains: ‘My father’s decorated career led to postings across India, tasting an array of delicious and varied regional food, from traditional local lunches in the tents of Rajasthan to British-inspired Indian breakfasts in the officers mess and stunning banquets hosted by Indian nobility and maharajas. Travelling with them as a child taught me so much about different ways of life in India and the powerful role food plays.
‘I wanted to celebrate these diverse cultures and introduce the capital to the authentic flavours and textures, which are lovingly prepared at homes, street markets and royal kitchens across India.’
Downstairs, a grand, pure silver door from a Gujarat temple greets visitors, while upstairs features a carved temple door from southern India. The dining room features a canopy of ornate chandeliers from Firozabad. A drinks bar made by Asprey for the maharaja of Patiala takes pride of place in the private dining room, while 17th and 18th century Tanjore paintings and handwoven Persian carpets adorn the walls with decanters and crockery from the palace of the maharaja of Faridkot displayed in cabinets.