Indian restaurant Babur has been a long-time Forest Hill resident, serving up contemporary and traditional dishes such as mango brulee and clove flavoured cocktails to hungry diners for 37 years.

The menu has many of the staples one would expect from an Indian restaurant, like naan breads and poppadoms, however anyone thinking this restaurant is purely traditional should think again.

There are also many contemporary dishes that I wouldn’t normally see at an Indian restaurant like griddled scallops and the steamed shoulder of lamb in beetroot rice.

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The Resident: Indian restaurant Babur has been open in Forest Hill for 37 yearsIndian restaurant Babur has been open in Forest Hill for 37 years (Image: Babur)

When I paid Babur a visit, the restaurant was packed and it was clear it was a popular choice for many in the area - the waiter mentioned that the restaurant is busy regardless what day it is. 

We began our meal with some poppadoms and a selection of four dips - the classic mango chutney, a chilli dip, a garlic dip, and a ginger dip too - which were a mix of spicy, sweet and savoury, and the standout of which was the garlic one. 

The very large cocktail menu was the product of 20 years work and had many options from gin, whisky and sparking-based tipples to dessert cocktails, the most popular of which, so I am told, was the Currytini - a blend of Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh curry leaf, green chilli, dry vermouth and lime cordial - and the first ever Barbur-created mixed libation. 

The Resident: Babur's cocktail list has been finessed over 20 yearsBabur's cocktail list has been finessed over 20 years (Image: Babur)

I, however, skipped a cocktail this time and went for a strawberry sparkler, a sweet but tangy combination of strawberry liquor and prosecco.

My dining partner tried the pineapple hookah which was a smoky, clove-strong riff on a pina colada and a mix of sagatiba cachaça, roasted cumin, caramel, pineapple and fresh clove smoke.

For starters we tried the crab bonda which were small and dough-like crab dumplings with a mint coriander puree - a nice start to the meal for a seafood fan such as myself. 

My plus one also tried goat shoulder tikka which came with black cardamom, green tomato and aubergine mash. The meat was tender and you could really taste the cardamon flavours coming through.

The Resident: Crab dokhla at BaburCrab dokhla at Babur (Image: Babur)

For mains we had a garlic naan bread to share along with pulao rice and the portions were sized for us both.

I tried the chicken lababdar which was made with creamy tomato, fenugreek and mace.

The meat was well-cooked, and the dish had a lot of flavour, which started to taste sweet, and not spicy at all. 

My plus one tried the steamed shoulder of lamb with beetroot rice. I was quite surprised they decided on another lamb dish, but who am I to argue?

Again, the meat was cooked well and apparently marinated for 100 hours. It had a very tender texture and pulled apart as you ate it.

For dessert I was really intrigued to try the mango brulee, as I felt this was a prime example of the restaurant's contemporary side.

It was an interesting combination and the most unusual dessert I’ve ever tasted, honestly. 

The Resident: Babur's lovely outdoor spaceBabur's lovely outdoor space (Image: Babur)

It was the texture of a brulee but mango flavoured. As someone who usually goes for mango sorbet after an Indian meal, I really enjoyed the novelty of this dessert.

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We finished off with a final round of cocktails, I tried the florally and fruity White Garden which is a mix of jasmine-infused Absolute Vodka, elderflower liquor, Cointreau with a hefty dose of lychee.

All in all, Babur made for a nice evening out. With well-cooked food served promptly and a fantastic cocktail menu, I will visit again.

Address: 119 Brockley Rise, Honor Oak SE23 1JP