Restaurant review: Karnavar, South Croydon


By - Wednesday 1st October, 2014

Joy Akwue-Butler discovers a gem in South Croydon


62 South End Croydon, Surrey CR0 1DP
Time from East Croydon: 12 minutes / 5 minutes by 119, 466 or 312

Tulsi seekh kebab starter.
Photo author’s own.

As my daughter Jasmine is due to return to university soon, I thought it would be nice to take her out for a meal. So on Friday 12th September Jasmine and I decided to check out the new Indian restaurant that has arrived in South Croydon. The Karnavar is owned and run by Manoj Karnavar – a chef whose previous employment boasts some pretty impressive restaurants and hotels.

We were one of the first to arrive and were warmly welcomed by Saran (the business development manager) who showed us to our table.  The interior has a modern but comfortable feel to it. While we were making up our minds as to what we should order, we were given a complimentary plate of appetizers – puffed poppadums, plantain slices and bread sticks which came with a delicious selection of dips.

Our waitress came back to take our order. For her starter Jasmine chose the hariyali chicken tikka – aromatic green herb and spice marinated tandoor roasted corn-fed chicken (£7.80). I ordered the tulsi seekh kebab – skewered ground lamb kebab, kashmiri chilli, ginger, saffron and basil (£7.80). The starters arrived after a short wait. Jasmine thought that her chicken tikka pieces were the best she had tasted in a long time! The chicken was tender and succulent it tasted as if it had been marinated with herbs andspices. My kebabs were equally good, not over cooked, which sometimes results with the meat tasting dry. The lamb was tender with a good balance of flavours.

Jasmine & I ordered some cocktails carefully prepared by Saran.  Jasmine had the Bellini Blue (£5.25) and I had the Cosmopolitan (£5.25).

Bellini Blue and Cosmopolitan cocktails.
Photo author’s own.

For our main course Jasmine ordered the chicken lababdar – tandoor roasted corn fed chicken, spinach and onion, tomato and fenugreek sauce (£11.00). This dish came with naan bread. I ordered the murgh adraki – roast corn-fed chicken supreme, Punjabi puy lentils, butternut squash puree and makhani sauce (£12.20).  I also ordered a side dish of garlic naan (£2.50).  Our dishes arrived and were well presented.

Jasmine enjoyed her main course – the chicken was well cooked and came with a mild creamy tomato sauce, which she ate with the naan bread that accompanied it. My dish was superb… one of the best I’ve ever tasted! The chicken was cooked perfectly with a thin layer of crispy skin, which kept the chicken tender. The lentils and butternut squash went really well with the meal and it all tasted delicious. The sauce was served separately – which I enjoyed eating with my garlic naan.

Murgh adraki main course.
Photo author’s own.

The portion sizes were just right, we both felt nicely full by the end and could not be persuaded to order a dessert. We were impressed by the level of service we’d received. The staff were all very attentive and friendly. The only thing that disappointed me was being charged for my glass of tap water, but other than that I am awarding them top marks.

I visited the ladies which was surprisingly quite basic, but clean.

I would definitely recommend that you pay a visit to the Karnavar and experience their delicious food for yourselves!

Joy Akwue-Butler

Joy Akwue-Butler

Joy Akwue-Butler works as the Operations Manager for IKM TeckChek Europe whose UK office is based in Croydon. She has lived and worked in the area for over 20 years. She currently lives in Caterham with her partner and has one daughter – Jasmine. Joy loves eating good food and enjoys socialising!

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