66-71 Southend, South Croydon, CR10 1BF
A slick newcomer in the up-and-coming South End restaurant quarter of Croydon serving classy east west food in an interior designed space
The upside: Expertly executed, Western and Asian dishes from Yumn’s Indian chef who trained in classic French cuisine.
The downside: I wish I lived a bit closer; it’s a bit of a hike for dinner from Guildford.
The flipside: This is a restaurant with vision taking apprentices into the kitchen for full training and they make everything they serve from scratch.
First off the décor here is stylish – it’s clearly been interior designed too a high standard. Cleverly laid out areas for couples, larger parties and even a private dining room has been carved out in this large room. A large bar with seating offers another alternative.
Once seated water was served almost immediately and the menu not long after. Now the menu immediately concerned me (unnecessarily as it turned out) because it had an obvious East/West theme and it was large. We’ll come back to that later!
My sister and I decided to eat off both sides of the menu to see if they could pull this off here. Ordering up two starters I chose spicy chick-peas on a crispy puri (£4.95) and my sister scallops with hummus and beef vinaigrette. Both our choices were original, innovative and intriguing – so far so good. While awaiting the starters some warm from-the-oven sun-dried tomato bread arrived with butter. The waiter confirmed it was made on site and it was a perfect start to our experience.
Our starters arrived plated with care. My chick-peas were on a delicate crispy puri, topped with lightly dressed salad leaves on seasoned raita. I really enjoyed this but, as a spice-loving girl, it could have been hit with even more cumin and chilli. The scallops were fresh, fat and succulent. The beef vinaigrette was innovative and blended with the smooth humus and crunchy pistachio nuts. Here, the attention to detail is good.
For mains again we took a dish from each side of the menu, my herb crusted hake was hot, fresh and with crispy skin over tender flesh, served on top of Dauphinoise potatoes with a herby beurre blanc. This was a balanced, seasoned dish (£14.95). Our other choice was lemongrass chicken with rice and prawn crackers (£12.50) it was aromatic, flavoursome and freshly cooked with tender chicken pieces and creamy sauce. By now we were very impressed. The menu has plenty of choice too, from grilled meat, fish and burgers on their fancy Josper Grill ( a closed charcoal grill ) to lighter salads and pasta. Wine recommendations come with each dish too and the list itself is well priced with plenty of choice.
We hardly had room for pudding but decided it would be rude not to share something from the dessert menu and chose the pineapple tarte tatin with pina colada ice-cream (£6.50) although the creme brulee and sticky toffee pudding were also tempting.The dessert was light crispy and perfectly accented by the expertly made ice-cream. This we concluded is a professional outfit with top attention to detail. I had mint tea to finish from the Rare Tea Company (£2.20) and my sister a coffee supplied by Coffee Torelli (£2.40).
Joined by owner Kulsum Hussin for dessert we discovered that she grew up in a family of restaurateurs. Although trained as an accountant, a restaurant of her own was always the dream. Education it appears is also top of the agenda and is the reason behind the fabulous hand made breads, patisserie, pastries and sauces that emerge from Yumn’s kitchen. The restaurant is a training centre currently with three local apprentices. In 2003 Kulsum launched Welcome Skills in Bangladesh with the University of West London. A training provider of British qualifications such as NVQs to empower people to gain skills that are in short supply in the hospitality industry. Her current head chef from Bangladesh started in her training centre back home before coming to the UK. With a stunning CV under his belt (Conran restaurant, Hotel du Vin and G Hotel Galloway) he has the ability to run a menu with ease that crosses continents. With a strong kitchen team, on the job training and a dedication to excellence this business has it all.
This venue is already doing a roaring trade in the evening and weekends where you need to book ahead but lunchtimes are less so. It’s worth a visit even if it’s a bit of trip from home.
0208 861 2336