Dishoom The accessibility of Dishoom (various locations) has rendered it a go-to place when you’re searching for a quick Indian bite in the capital. This Bombay style cafe has fried on chilli cheese toast and the Parsi Akuri - spiced scramble eggs headlining their Breakfast menu or the Dishoom Chicken Tikka, Gunpowder Potatoes and Dishoom Slaw anytime of the day.
Pure Indian Cooking Resting near Fulham High Street is the unassuming restaurant front for Pure Indian Cooking. The brainchild of the husband and wife team Faheem Vanoo and Shilpa Dandekar who started out at Taj Group in India, Pure Indian Cooking does what it says on the tin. Sample the Pounded Coriander and Goat’s Cheese Samosa and the moreish Mussel Soup with lime leaf and coconut - truly remarkable. Pure Indian Cooking has emerged as a favourite haunt for the Fulham set.
Street Food Style:
Chai Thali The recently opened Chai Thali in Camden takes the fun alfresco concept of street food found in cities across India and brings it indoors with a kaleidoscope of dishes. Chai Thali gives the cuisine a modern twist with delicious eats such as Mumbai style scrambled eggs to Keralan South Indian fare such as rice pancakes known as uttapam. If it’s out there, it’s on the menu.
Bangalore Express Set opposite Leadenhall Market in Gracechurch Street, commuters, office goers, tourists and corporate clients make up the Bangalore Express loyal customer base. Now on to the menu. And where does one start? There are small tapas style offerings including Golden Fried Spicy Quail, Fish Tikka and Golden Fried Prawns with Chilli Jam. And then there are other tapas eats in the style of Indo Chinese fare. Something I call ‘Chinjabi’ delicacies which are a cross between Oriental and Northern Indian nosh - Chilli Squid, Lollipop Chicken (chicken drumsticks in a sticky and spicy sauce), Gobi Manchurian - a real classic, and last but not least, my favourite Chilli Paneer. The atmosphere is laid back and chilled out with staff members who are there to assist you with making the right selection although once you get your foot in the door, you’re quite literally spoilt for choice!
Gymkhana Dining, drinking and playing sport were the Raj rage in certain areas of India. This eatery gives that club style exclusivity feel with menus to match. There’s Haryali Bream on the Lunch menu or for a gamier option there’s Mallard Cafreal. Or you could try the Lasooni Wild Tiger Prawns on the Feast menu.
Unusual Vegetarian Option:
Bayleaf Restaurant The Bayleaf Restaurant mixes well-made traditional dishes with refined Indian regional delicacies into a modern twist. The menu is comprehensive with all the favourites that one would find in a contemporary Indian restaurant. The Lajawaab Lamb is a lightly and simply spiced. For an unusual vegetarian option, the Gobhi Tree is a centre piece of a cauliflower lightly spiced with black pepper, coated with semolina, shallow-fried and garnished with pomegranate seeds. They have a tremendous following both from locals and in and around North London. A customer loyalty that will last for a very long time.
One to Watch:
Thali Ho Opened late 2017 Thali Ho won Best Casual Dining Restaurant in London Suburbs (the restaurant is located in Surbiton) at The Asian Curry Awards two weeks later. Light and crisp surroundings make this family restaurant a fresh welcome from the run of the mill style decor. The food concept is simple with all dishes served in platters known as thalis. The recipes have been handed down to an energetic pair of brothers Shamim and Shah Malek with the Gunpowder Chicken Thali and the Daal Goshi Thali being popular amongst the Paneer Butter Masala Thali and the Niramish Sobji Thali.
Manju Malhi is a British-born chef and food writer, specialising in Anglo-Indian cuisine and has published several books on Indian cookery. Her latest book Everyday Healthy Indian is out now.
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