Tamarind Mayfair was the first Indian restaurant in the UK to be awarded a Michelin star. Following an extensive eight-month refurbishment project, the restaurant reopened last year, doubling its capacity in the process. We love the beautiful first floor dining room, which is accessed by a glass fronted lobby and sleek metal staircase. Highlights from the kitchen include tandoori quail with caramelised gooseberry and tandoori prawn balchao with spicy and tangy chilli marinade. Carole Brown, a former bar manager at Hakkasan and Park Chinois, is the force behind an impressive list of cocktails, which features a mix of Indian twists on both classics and original cocktails that use Indian ingredients and flavours.
20 Queen Street, Mayfair, W1J 5PR
Kutir is a newly launched restaurant by Rohit Ghai and Abhishake Sangwan. Situated in Chelsea, this elegant townhouse restaurant serves Indian food that focuses on elegance and tradition. The restaurant offers diners the opportunity to enjoy traditional flavours in refined dishes alongside cocktails and a wine list full of rare finds. Head chef Rohit served up a variety of menus from set lunches to an ‘Expedition’ tasting menu: of all the dishes, we like the sound of jackfruit kofta with spinach, dumplings, sautéed spinach and vine tomatoes; and truffle khichadi with rice lentil kedgeree and wild mushrooms. One to watch.
10 Lincoln Street, Chelsea, SW3 2TS
DUM Biriyani House
Dhruv Mittal was born in Hyderabad, India and raised in Manchester. Following a diploma in French cuisine and patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu and stints at The Fat Duck, Hisbiscus and Restaurant Sat Bains, Dhruv travelled across India developing his knowledge of the cuisine while working for the Oberoi Hotels in Mumbai and Agra. Inspired by his travels, Mittal launched ‘The Chaiwalla Supperclub’ at his home in London, before launching DUM Biryani House. The Soho establishment is named after the cooking method of the biryani, ‘dum’ by steaming rice and meat together, on a low heat. Set in a basement on Wardour Street, the restaurant takes inspiration from Telugu cuisine from the regions of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in South India, with the Hyderabadi biryani being the main focus.
187 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 8ZB
Brigadiers focuses on different methods of Indian barbecue, utilising tandoors, charcoal grills, rotisseries, wood ovens and classic Indian smokers. Bringing the city to life at weekends with its Indian roast menus, free-flowing drinks, live sport and a dedicated Campari spritz bar on the outside terrace (we’re sold), each Sunday, the event offers sporting action screened alongside a three-course BBQ roast menu. Across the week, the team encourages socialising and camaraderie: live sport is shown on demand in selected rooms, while pool and classic card games are offered for those who wish to play as they eat and drink.
1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, Bank, EC4N 8AR
Darjeeling Express started as a dinner for 12 guests at home, serving Indian food lovingly cooked from family recipes that go back generations. The food is a true homage to founder Asma’s royal Mughlai ancestry and the busy streets of Calcutta, where she grew up. The food here is served the way Indian food is meant to be eaten – platters of dishes boasting texture and flavours which complement each other, encouraging you to gather and share in the style of the traditional ‘daawat’ (feast). An all-women team runs the kitchen and has been doing so from day one. Best of all, a percentage of all proceeds from the restaurant go to charitable cause Second Daughters.
Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, Soho, W1B 5PW
Dishoom has become a London institution among Indian food lovers – there are venues scattered all over the capital stretching from King’s Cross to Covent Garden – and each one is always packed. Food is served street-style and designed to be shared, so look forward to delicious plates of chilli cheese toast, gunpowder potatoes and succulent minced lamb kebabs, served alongside biryanis and fluffy handmade naans. Its breakfast dishes are just as delicious: away from the team’s famous bacon naans, we like the organic porridge oats cooked with milk, banana and sweet Medjool dates paired with a breakfast lassi.
Various locations in London
Gunpowder Tower Bridge
Following the closures of the group’s much-missed Madame D and Gul & Sepoy, Harneet and Devina Baweja have focused their efforts on a follow up to Gunpowder in Spitalfields. A much larger and sleeker site, the open-plan space seats 100 across high-bar seating, shared tables and ‘love seats’. It might have a new look, but the menu is still familiar: the team has made sure to serve popular dishes such as the Keralan beef pepper fry; spicy venison and vermicelli doughnut; and Kashmiri lamb chops. That said, we love the new additions, particularly the peanut masala chaat with chopped onions and chillies; and a fragrant lentil and beetroot salad with spicy orange and ginger dressing.
4 Duchess Walk, Tower Bridge, SE1 2SD
The newest outpost in the gourmet Indian restaurant group, Cinnamon Bazaar is a magical fusion of rustic Indian street food with a signature Cinnamon-style twist. Look forward to a heady mix of fragrant Asian flavours sprinkled with a hint of Middle Eastern charm, including the likes of Iranian chicken haleem; Kabulia kefta with tomato makhani sauce with influences from Afghanistan and Punjab; and Middle Eastern-inspired millet, date tamarind and pomegranate salad.
28 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7JS
With multi award-winning outposts in New Delhi and New York, Indian Accent has made a serious statement since launching its newest outpost in London. Headed up by acclaimed chef Manish Mehrotra, this luxe Mayfair offering reinterprets nostalgic Indian dishes with a modern twist, drawing on cultural influences from all over the world. Devour bold, flavoursome dishes of ghee roast lamb with roomali roti pancakes or makhan malai, a medieval dish made with saffron-infused aerated milk; or lighter dishes of langoustines, French beans, moilee; soy keema, quail egg, lime leaf butter pao; and beet and peanut butter vadai, goat cheese pachadi. The kitchen also does a must-try spice-laced take on brunch.
16 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4HW
Another award-winning Indian eatery (this one is the proud owner of a Bib Gourmand) from the Sethi family who also own Trishna and Gymkhana, Hoppers is one of the very best exclusively Sri Lankan restaurants in the city, and what’s more, it’s incredibly reasonably priced. Aptly named after one of Sri Lanka’s popular dishes, egg-topped pancakes, Hoppers offers a drool-inducing menu that’s brimming with flavour. The restaurant – a small room with a sexy Soho take on all things Sri Lankan – is always buzzing, and the fiery flavours are guaranteed to get the taste buds tingling. The second location in St Christopher’s Place offers up the same sumptuous fare – we like to head in for one of its Sunday Sessions.
Locations in Soho and St Christopher’s Place
Swanky Mayfair haunt Jamavar won a Michelin star in 2017 for its regional Indian fare. Dishes are served as small plates; delicately spiced, elegantly decorated and brimming with flavour. Look forward to the likes of Malabar prawns – sautéed king prawns cooked in white turmeric, onions and curry leaves; kid goat shami kebab – served with black cardamom, mint chutney and chur chur paratha; tulsi chicken tikka – with sweet basil, pickled radish and raita; and dum nalli biryani – a heady mix of Hampshire lamb with a serving of basmati rice, crispy onions and fresh mint.
8 Mount Street, Mayfair, W1K 2NF
Occupying a prime slice of real estate opposite Sloane Square’s Cadogan Hall, Kahani is the first solo venture from Peter Joseph, former head chef at Indian restaurant Tamarind, where he won and retained a Michelin star for ten years. Dishes take an unusual turn, but in the best way. Highlights include masala-grilled avocado, olives, caramelised onions and iceberg leaves; smoked malabar prawns with fresh turmeric, coconut and curry leaves; and Chawri Bazar savoury doughnuts with sweet yoghurt, mint and tamarind chutney. Make sure to order Joseph's signature dish, the Kahani butter chicken, along with a side of gruyere naan bread. A rare combination, but one that we’ll be sure to return for.
1 Wilbraham Place, Chelsea, SW1X 9AE
Located in Marylebone Village, Trishna delivers a contemporary taste of Indian coastal cuisine and an extensive wine list that focuses on emerging regions and fine wines from niche producers and boutique wineries from all over the world. The informal and pared-back aesthetic of the interiors, offset with antique mirrors, marble table tops and original wooden panelling offers a sociable neighbourhood atmosphere, with terrace doors that open onto Blandford Street, creating a semi- alfresco ambience throughout the restaurant. Part of the JKS Restaurants, which includes Gymkhana, Hoppers and Brigadiers, expect Michelin-level menus that offer the likes of artichoke and squash samosas, followed by nariyali prawns served with squid ink tuile, coconut chips, vermicelli upma, chilli and coconut chutney.
15-17 Blandford Street, Marylebone, W1U 3DG
Kricket Television Centre
Part of the Television Centre redevelopment, from the outside Kricket is an expanse of glass, yet within, strategic yet striking décor makes this an inviting spot for dinner. Dishes are designed for sharing: menu highlights include old favourites such as samphire pakoras with tamarind and chilli garlic; and Keralan fried chicken with curry leaf mayo and pickled mooli; together with new hits – the kid goat leg raan (complete with pomegranate, goats curd and mint raita, and pink pickled onions) is sensational. Make sure to order a wholewheat roti to mop up the sauce. Even if you’re full, be sure to order the gulab jamun with carom seed crumble and milk ice-cream for dessert – delicious.
Wood Crescent, Shepherd's Bush, W12 7SB
Teeming with modern Indian soul, this colourful Canary Wharf joint is inspired by traditional Indian toddy shops – south India’s roadside drinking dens – and serves up a mighty menu of Asian-spiced sharing plates. Choose between Indian tapas in the Toddy Shop or a selection of heartier mains in the traditional dining area of the restaurant. Be sure to try the tandoori butter chicken thighs with crispy spinach and the Goan prawns served with chilli, rock samphire, cinnamon and tempered coconut rice.
Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5AR
Tandoor Chop House
Mixing the meatiest elements of a British chop house with the spices of Indian tandoor cooking, Tandoor Chop House specialises in hearty cuts of smoked, spiced meats in the coolest of industrial- style settings. Chomp down on bone marrow naans and chunks of smoky prime cut meats, slathered in aromatic Asian spices and served hot from the tandoor grill.
8 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, WC2N 4HZ
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