Review: Shayona Restaurant at Neasden Swaminarayan temple, London

Archana Venkatraman
Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden, London
Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden, London

Shayona Restaurant located in the grounds of Swaminarayan Mandir (temple) at Neasden London is not your regular low-key, toned-down Indian temple restaurant. It has all the glory of a contemporary and authentic Indian restaurant along with the air of spirituality and serenity.

In London, there are curry houses, there are vegetarian restaurants (such as Saravana Bhavan) and there are super vegetarian restaurants – the kind that serves dishes prepared without onions and garlic. Neasden’s Shayona Restaurant falls in the third category. But onion-and-garlic-lovers need not be put off – the food is just as delicious and aromatic and more importantly has the familiar taste that Indian food lovers are used to.

Shayona Restaurant at Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden
Menu: Shayona Restaurant serves freshly-prepared sattvic vegetarian cuisine that is consistent with the tenets of Vaishnav, Jain & Swaminarayan dietary requirements. 

But Shayona's menu is still varied and covers all the regions of the Indian sub-continent. It includes traditional thalis such as Gujrati thalis and Rajasthani thalis, South Indian cuisine such as idlis and dosas, Punjabi dishes and curries from North India such as Paneer masala, Veg saagwala, Paneer tikka masala, and chana masala. There is also a wide variety of rotis and rice too.

Sweets and savouries sold at Shayona Restaurant, Neasden

But what stole India News Bulletin’s heart is Shayona Restaurant’s starters and “Light Meals” sections. These sections have hidden treasures that will transport you to the streets of an Indian region of your choice. There are dosas and uthappas served with coconut chutney and sambar; there is a chaat section featuring Aloo Papdi Chaat, Pani Puri, Bombay Bhel and Samosa Chaat; there is Rajasthani speciality – Khasta Kachori Chaat, and there are all-time favourites such as Paneer 65 and Spring Rolls among others.

For those who like a bit of excitement, Shayona serves sizzlers too.

Prices and Ambience: The food prices are mid-range and a filling meal for four without any drinks will cost between £40 and £50.

Featuring a contemporary décor blended with traditional Indian artefacts, Shayona Restaurant is an ideal place for a quiet evening meal for a couple or for a family. The restaurant is family-friendly with ample child dining seats.

The Shayona staff members are friendly and cheerful and the order does not take long to arrive.

Upside: Good, hygienic and authentic Indian food with plenty of choices; friendly and quiet ambience. It is perfect for vegetarians who have very few good options in London.  If good parking experience counts in making your dining experience pleasant, then Shayona Restaurant has a free car-park which is shared with the Swaminarayan Mandir visitors.

Shayona earns special brownie points for the presentation of the food in traditional copper-bottom dishes which adds more charm and authenticity to your dinner experience.

Downside: The menu options during the daytime are very limited. If you enjoy a glass of wine with your meal, you may be disappointed as Shayona Restaurant does not serve alcoholic beverages. But those who have only authentic Indian food in their minds, the place won’t disappoint.

India News Bulletin tip: Best time to visit is weekend evenings where you get ample parking space and the evening a la carte menu. Try out the chilli idlis – they are spiced up perfectly and will whet your appetite for an authentic pure vegetarian meal.

Shayona supermarket at the premises of the restaurant

Shayona Restaurant is not a “quick-bite” and low-cost snack place, but for a weekend Indian vegetarian meal for two, it is an ideal restaurant. There is also a Shayona grocery store in the same premises which sells Indian groceries, Indian sweets and savouries and ready meals.

India News Bulletin pays for its meals and all its restaurant reviews are independent and unbiased. 

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