Last year, I wrote about a fantastic little gem hidden away in Walthamstow called Etles Uyghur, just one out of two Uyghur restaurants in London. I’m happy to say that there is a new, and third, Uyghur restaurant in town, Karvon (thanks to my super foodie friend, Feroz, for the tip-off!)! So what exactly in Uyghur food? Think hand-pulled noodles, samsa (samosa), juicy skewers with of cumin-spiced lamb, pilau, the works. It really is a melting pot of different cultures as the Uyghur cuisine belongs to the Xinjiang region in China, which also borders 8 different countries like Pakistan, Russia, Mongolia, and others too. Crikey, that’s a lot of flavours in one dish.
Karvon has not been around for long but as soon as you walk in, you can feel the warmth and friendliness of the owner and his family. The tables are filled with bright and colourful dishes being shared by big groups, couples, and small families too. Plus, the board games stacked up in the corner just add to the charm.
Right, let’s get to the food. If it is your first time, the first four dishes are a must-order in any Uyghur restaurant to get a real taste of what all the hype is about.Plump flaky pastry parcels stuffed with a juicy minced lamb and onion mixture. Skewers of lamb pieces that had been powdered in a generous amount of cumin and chilli, before getting chargrilled. The lamb was tender overall, with a few chewy pieces here and there, and is best eaten immediately after being served – forget the photoshoots! Fresh hand-pulled noodles that had been fried with pieces of lamb, vegetables, and sesame seeds. As Mum and Aadam can’t cope with super spicy food, we decided to keep it medium spicy and it was just right so that everyone could enjoy it.
The noodles had a great bite to them; not too soft and not undercooked either – just right! Unfortunately, the lamb was a little chewy and did not pick up much flavour from being stir-fried. Opt for the vegetarian and spicy version to really enjoy the dish.The star of the show, and well, any Uyghur restaurant really! Humongous plate of wide and fat hand-pulled noodles, sliced potatoes, chicken thighs, and peppers, all sitting in a pool of an extremely aromatic broth. The soup was so good that although being full to the brim, we were still slurping until the bill came – if only we had left some of the naan behind to soak up all the juice! Again, we had ordered this to be medium spicy so that everyone could enjoy, although it is worth ordering the hot version as I feel it might be a smidge better. A Uyghur staple, this pilar consists of slow braised lamb served over a sweet bed of rice, carrots, and raisins. The lamb was super soft with a slight crisp around the edges and complemented the sweet rice well.
The total bill amounted to approximately £51 for 3 people, including drinks and service, so £17 each. Not the cheapest but we had most definitely over ordered and there was enough food for 5 people. Not to worry, we made sure to take the leftovers home to demolish later for dinner!
There are not many Uyghur restaurants in London right now, perhaps 3 at most, but I really hope this is the beginning of its kind. Karvon Uyghur really is a great restaurant and worth the visit, especially if you’re in the area and are new to the Uyghur cuisine. Be sure to speak to the owner, Kurban, who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Karvon website: https://www.karvon.co.uk/?page_id=15
For more Uyghur restaurants, see below