28 March 2023: Three Falcons - High flying curry
It had been a long time since getting the old work crew together. After some failed attempts to involve a curry into previous boozey outings, I found somewhere that combined the two. Yes, a pub that served curry.
Desi pubs are all the rage, but the game has evolved from Indian publicans to modern Indian cuisine in contemporary pub-style (or ex-pub) venues. Brigadiers, The Tamil Prince and Lahori are just some in this style that we've visited on our travels, but a new kid on the block - Three Falcons - really caught my eye for this occasion. And, situated nearish to Paddington it met the transport needs for some of the out of towners invited (even the ones that didn't bother to turn up *cough* Pete *cough*).
Joining me on this occasion was a host of current and ex-colleagues from across the country - Dan, Spells, Harkness, Wakey and Sean, as well as debuts from Jamie, Niran and Sanj. The unusual location meant a staggered arrival, but nonetheless all found it eventually to give Three Falcons a proper trial.
As alluded to, Three Falcons, is slightly away from the capital's usual dining hotspots, caught in a strange area between Edgeware Road, Maida Vale and St John's Wood. Walking up the former, there were some questions about where we were heading, but eventually a plush, refurbed pub emerged from the less than salubrious streets around to allay any fears.
Similar to nearby Lahori, Three Falcons has turned an old public house into a slightly different eating and drinking establishment. In fact, Three Falcons is also a hotel, and a bit more refined as a result. It was certainly more hotel restaurant than the pub vibe I was going for, but large screens with Sky Sports, and wooden panelling hint at the room's pub past. And, whilst we weren't standing at the bar, a large table in the dining room accommodated us all comfortably. Mirrors and floral patterns added colour and light, whilst a fully stocked hotel bar kept us equally rosey.
Three Falcons is a classy London curry joint with a rural hotel charm - think Brigadiers, but with a Cotswold weekend away vibe.
Starters and sides
Poppadoms & Chutnies
Papdi Chaat X2
Paneer Tikka x2
Lamb Seekh x2
Lamb Chops x2
Murgh Angara Tikka
Garlic Naan x2
Plain Naan x2
Chilli Cheese Naan
Kicking things off were a plethora of fantastic starters, starting with popadom baskets and delicious tamarind and mango chutney sides. Alongside these were plates full of papdi chaat, paneer tikka, chicken tikka, lamb chops, and seekh kebabs, filling the table with a rainbow of colour. Most notable, in this regard, was the papdi chaat with its inimitable swirls of tamarind and green chilli admidst drizzled yoghurt and sev sprinkles. It tasted as good as it looked, as did the lamb chops which were amazing and almost unrivalled in their beautifully tender and flavour-filled bite.
Also delectable and of the highest order were the seekh kebabs - beautifully soft rolled mince kebabs - and the large paneer tikka squares - grilled to melt-in-the-mouth perfection and accompanied with grilled peppers and salad leaves on the side. Finally, the murgh angara tikka - pieces of charcoal smoked chickekn in the north Indian, angara style. Another delightful dish, rivalling the best equivalent chicken plates.
These were all-round excellent dishes, and worthy of a high score. The naans that came with the mains later, were also good and were packed full of garlic and chilli flavours, leaving the final mark of a very high 9/10 for Starters and Sides.
Hara Pata Gosht
Lamb Dum Biryani
Prawn Goan Curry
With such excellent starters and punchy prices (more on that in a bit), some felt they'd had enough to eat meaning only four mains were sampled.
The hara pata gosht was probably the pick of the bunch, a beautiful braised lamb curry with a superb methi, garlic and spinach flavour. Contrasting in appearance, with a bright orange colour, was the shahi paneer in a cashew and tomato sauce. More similar in style was the Goan prawn curry in a typical creamy coconut sauce, but slightly sparing in butterflied king prawns. And fourth was the lamb dum biryani - slightly diminuitive for it's price, but still packing the desired moist, slow-cooked lamb and rice mix.
All very good, just not quite as good as the starters.
The staff here were of the standard expected of a hotel, meaning an above average smartness and politeness not always found in curry houses elsewhere. The drinks kept coming too meaning we were a satisfied bunch. They were also very patient with me as I spent far too long performing mental gymnastics to resolve the bill. Good service.
Value for money
The food here is brilliant and the restaurant very smart, but given the location is more Edgeware Road than Maida Vale, the punchier prices, left a slightly sour taste, not least as the portions of the curries weren't the most generous. The beer prices were pretty commendable at £4.70 for a Guinness, but the £17+ curry prices and £11 chicken tikka were a little less fair. Yes, the price tags do rival the likes of Brigadiers and Tamil Prince, but the food at those locations has more of a unique feel, whilst the former's Bankside location will always add a premium. Maybe a 5 is slightly harsh, but we certainly felt the pinch a little more than expected here.
This was an enjoyable experience, not least for the reunion of old friends, and the superb starters that were well received. It wasn't quite the desi pub trip I had in mind, but the dining arrangements suited us perfectly and we had a great time. lt was worth the visit, particularly for the lamb chops, and the big screens mean it rivals the high-end sports bar vibe that others like Brigadiers offer. However, the location means it's unlikely to attract natural footfall and the prices may put some off. But it's still a highly respectable 38/50 for Three Falcons, and a high-ish ranking on our leaderboard as a result.
<<<Read our previous review here
Address: 1 Orchardson St, London NW8 8NG
Alcohol Policy: Licensed
Summary: Converted pub with high quality (and priced) modern, Indian fare