There are hidden gems everywhere, even more so in your own back yard.
I am not a local to Whetstone, but live close by and have visited the area often. I also thought I knew about what was hot or not round there.
I was wrong. I had not heard of the latest restaurant. So I was happy to hear of a new restaurant in Whetstone called Bayleaf.
"It’s been 23 years since the Bayleaf journey began. In this time, we have won many awards and accolades through our takeaway delivery service.We are now proud to offer you a dining experience you have been waiting for, with a restaurant in Whetstone. It has always been and will be our policy that the quality of our food and service is second to none.
Our vision has been to provide a restaurant with a stunning ambience, where you will receive friendly and attentive service. We have introduced a completely new menu, using traditional cooking techniques and the finest ingredients money can buy."
I visited Bayleaf a few weeks ago with my parents. Since my son has arrived (Lucas), they have been super helpful. I also had to leave Laura at home to look after Lucas. Don't worry, I will have my own time with Lucas soon.
As we walked in, we were greeted by a friendly team and the restaurant was quite busy for a Tuesday night. Another reason why I love London, people don't care about what night it is or when they should eat out. When there is good food on offer and they are hungry, they will feast and drink too.
Below is what the Bayleaf team recommended to us and what we ate:
Samander Ki Bhojan (Serves two guests) (SF)A dish to impress the best. Succulent chargrilled king prawns lightly spiced with ajwain seeds and yoghurt, delicately panfried king-sized scallops, accompanied by a light dressed micro salad.
Lajawaab Lamb (Medium) (D)One piece of sheek kebab and two cubes of lamb grill barbecued in a traditional clay oven. Served with fresh salad.
Kanava Koliwada (Medium)Fresh rings of squid pan cooked with ginger, garlic, green chillies, curry leaves, turmeric, onions and fresh tomatoe sauce. Served with micro salad and lime wedge.
Tandoori Mixed Grill (Served with complimentary naan) (N) (D)A combination of chicken tikka, grilled lamb, malai tikka, tandoori chicken and sheek kebab.
Sholay Gost (Served with complimentary pilau rice) (D) (Hot)Cubes of lamb marinated with ginger, garlic, green chilli, black pepper and yoghurt - grilled. Cooked in a thick fresh tomato and onion based sauce together with whole garam masala.
Tandoori Garlic Chicken (Served with complimentary naan) (D) (Hot)Succulent half chicken delicately marinated with fresh smoked garlic, Greek-style yoghurt and a blend of fine spices, including garam masala, green chillies and coriander.
We were treated really well here by all the staff. Funnily enough we were greeted by an Iranian lady so after the formalities we went about inspecting the menu.
The menu isn't complicated, but I initially did get confused about what to order. It is all broken down into easy sections, it is more to do with the fact that each dish sounded great. To avoid any blame by my parents, for choosing the wrong thing, I asked the head waiter to choose.
From above you can see what they recommended. I can tell you now, it was a lot. I wasn't complaining as I managed to have some leftovers and enjoy the food the next day too.
The food was good and Bayleaf is a restaurant I will be returning too. The stand out dishes were the scallop and prawn starter; which is a must. Especially due to the smoke show. The best dish however was, the Sholay gost The lamb was cooked so tenderly and the rich tomato sauce had great depth to it. The aromatic flavours ran throughout and meant that although we had a lot of food; we finished this one.
We had quite a fair bit for starters and the squid and scallops were good; I don't usually order seafood at an Asian restaurant. I am glad they suggested this for us.
Unfortunately, however the dish I would usually order, the lamb chops and sheekh kebab were not that great. They were quite dry and lacked the tandoori grill char that I welcome so much.
For main courses, the tandoori chicken with rice was another dish I would recommend and with rice makes it a filling dish, especially if you wanted it alone.
Bayleaf has evolved itself from just a takeaway joint to a good restaurant. Hearing from friends after this trip, it is a fan favourite and hopefully will last longer than other restaurants in this Whetstone site. Thank you to all at Bayleaf. I'll see you soon.
GOOD TIMES: The SHOLA GOSHT, oh so good. You have to order it
WATCH OUT: The sheekh kebab and lamb chops were not that great
OMG: Scallop smoke display, a good show in a different setting.