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best indian food in london?

any rec's on the best indian restaurants in london? we will be there over thanksgiving and would love some suggestions on where to get great indian food. thanks!

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  1. Howler directed us to Bombay Brasserie. We went for the lunch buffet. It was wonderful. The spicing was very subtle and I liked that I could taste individual spices clearly. Lunch there is a deal.

    Another suggestion of his was Randa which is Lebanese and most excellent. We ended up with 3 meals there (one was take out) the first time we just ordered the set menu for 2 and there was enough for 4 andd the courses just kept coming. The next we met Howler there and since he knew the place so well just had him order. It was really good and due to a power failure in our flat the night beofre we left, my DH wnet back and got take out for us. The company has several restaurants. Where will you be staying? I can let you know which is closest if you are interested.

    1. Dont want to be a pretentious curry snob but I guess it depends on what kind of curry you want. If you want a traditional Indian restaurant with a buffet then candy is quite right to suggest Bombay Brasserie, it is excellent.

      For a more "real" and authentic experience you may like to try one of the many restaurants on Brick Lane.

      For "Posh" curry then I love Zaika and The Red Fort. They have taken Indian food to a whole new level.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Moz

        Oh we like Zaika too and had a wonderful dinner there last month.

        1. re: Candy

          Do I need reservations at Zaika for lunch on Sunday?

          1. re: Elphaba

            We went on a Fri PM without them. But I don't know about Sunday lunch. The Sunday brunch at Bombay Brasserie is reputed to be fantastic, we went on a Monday for lunch and it was terrific. I imagne for that on Sunday you would need a reservation.

            1. re: Candy

              Thanks Candy, I just went ahead and made reservations just to be safe.

              1. re: Elphaba

                I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Wish I was back over there. Never enough time and so much good food!

      2. I would like to echo Moz's comments- Seek out Brick Lane for a more authentic selection.

        Brick Lane is the most famous area for South Asian food and markets but Southall is definetly worth checking out.

        Here is an article I found on thelondonpaper's website-


        and if that doesn't work,


        1. Brick Lane is good, but considered by most serious indian or bangledeshis to be homogomeous and uninspired. For the best indian in that area, make your way to the huge modern mosque which is a ten minute walk from brick lane, once you are there ask people where the newish indian place is. I forget the name but was directed there by an indian business man my third day in london as I hunted for authentic indian.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bwvanleeuwen1

            'Good' but considered uninspired . . . hmmm . . .

            The place round the back of the mosque is New Tayyabs - it's good and inspired.

          2. Another few names... Amaya, Benares (famed chef Atul Kochhar)...

            1. NO No No! NOT Brick Lane. The food is cheap slop for unsuspecting tourists. If you're in that area go to the Pakistani Kebab Houses- Tayyab on Fieldgate St, Lahore on Umberstone St. Or there is Mirch Masala on Commercial Rd. All are miles better than anything on Brick Lane

              1. hey thorny -

                wots mirch masala about then?

                5 Replies
                1. re: howler

                  Its on the other side of Commercial Road from Umberston Street. To me, it has the atmoshere, furnishings and food of an Indian Canteen. I have eaten there a few times, but alsways seem to return to The Lahore or Tayyabs. As far as the restaurants of Brick Lane are concerned, I recently had a decent meal at a place opposite the Mosque. I think it was called Cham Pan.

                  1. re: loobcom

                    Could you help me with this, then? There's what I remember as a Mirch Masala restaurant somewhere on the north side of Lower Tooting Road or its extension. I'd like to go back because the food was good, but all I remember about the location is that we got out of the tube at Tooting Broadway or Tooting Bec and walked west for a number of blocks to get there. The interior was brightly lit sith a lot of bare tables set close together, and you reached the washrooms via a staircase on the right hand side of the dining room (from front facing rear). Does this description correspond to any known Mirch Masala?

                    1. re: RobertL

                      The Mirch Masala you're remembering is at 213 Upper Tooting Road. I passed it a few months ago when driving somewhere north of there. Tooting Broadway is a bit closer than Tooting Bec.

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        Thanks! You've saved me some time pounding the pavement. I'm going to try to find the place when I'm in London a couple of weeks from now.

                    2. re: loobcom

                      A few days before Christmas I tried the Commercial Road location of Mirch Masala rather than making the Trek to the Upper Tooting Road location, and went back again the next day. I agree with Loobcom's description of the atmosphere but the food was great. Fresh ingredients, pungent masalas. But BYOB.

                  2. just got back from london - we went to tayyabs (aldgate east tube) for indian - it was FANTASTIC. everything was delicious and super flavorful - highly recommend!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lettuce

                      Based on this forum we went to New Tayyabs on Fieldgate (aldgate east or whitechapel tube) when visiting London the other night. Food was excellent-- my husband said the best curry he'd ever had-- and the price was right. Also, the place had so much life to it. That said, even though we'd called in a booking and were on their list it still took 30 minutes to be seated and not without being a bit assertive with the host to make sure we'd get the seat. Of course there were probably 50 people in line (no reservation), so we felt like royalty. But it's not for the faint of heart getting a table-- sort of a fragrant, riotous chaos. They pack you in and out of there but the lamb chops and the eggplant curries were delicious. BYOB.

                    2. I know I'm late chiming in, but I ate at Haandi off Brompton in Knightsbridge a while back and it was fabulous.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: LMS1108

                        I am even later adding my 2 rupees' worth - My family and I are very fond of the "Farhana Indian Restaurant" in Barking, Essex. We eat there regularly and particularly enjoy some of the vegetarian dishes - Chilli Paneer for example.

                        Incidentally it all costs a fraction of what you would pay at some of the other places which have been mentioned and is BYOB. It just goes to show that the price and decor sometimes have very little to do with either the quality of the food or the overall dining experience.

                        1. re: HarminderSingh

                          ki hal he sardar?


                          can you tell us a little bit more about farhana? is it standard north indian? what else do you like there?

                          1. re: HarminderSingh

                            I'll give it a shot ASAP when I have cash. It's close enough so I can get there pretty easily.

                            1. re: JFores

                              Reading about Farhana here and on another blog, I took my son there for dinner last week. The complete absence of other diners and my instincts should have prevented me from entereing. Unfortunately this was not the case.
                              and I did not heed the alarm bells that were ringing in my head.

                              Shortly after ordering, the waiter appeared and told us that he was not sure whether the meat he had was lamb or beef. This should have been a further warning.

                              By this time, humour and cheerfulness had taken over and the knowledge that sometimes in life you have to eat _ _ _ _ and I suppose that it was just as well done here than anywhere else.

                              So the food arrived. It was abominable as expected. We left without touching it. Without being asked, perhaps through pangs of guilt, the waiter had as some recompense, already reduced the bill by one third.

                              Sadly, during the 40 minutes or so we spent there, not one other customer entered, nor did the phone ring. This should been another warning.

                              I have a feeling, the favourable reviews that are popping up here and elsewhere are, how can I put it kindly, rather fanciful.

                              JFores, spend you cash elsewhere.


                              1. re: loobcom

                                Reason for going to Barking down the tube...

                        2. Brick Lane? You've got to be kidding? It's catering for people who've already anaesthetised their taste buds early in the evening . . . identikit dishes, not a great atmosphere.

                          Walk five minutes east round to the back of Whitechapel mosque and go to New Tayyabs for their magical Pakistani grill food.

                          For South Indian food there are a couple of very worthwhile places in Tooting.

                          1. Indian Brasserie on Rupert St. was excellent. Delicious. Reasonable. The service was a little stiff, but the food was so great I didn't care.

                            1. Has anyone on here been to Regency in Queensbury? All of my Indian friends from high school (and their families) love the place.

                              1. Bombay Palace between Paddington and Marble Arch is excellent. It is not cheap but it is quality. Also they have locations in midtown NYC (very good) and Beverly Hills (the bronze medal of the three. Don't go to Brick Lane...

                                19 Replies
                                1. re: chezzer

                                  i would terminate bombay palace with extreme prejudice.

                                  quilon, bombay brasserie, moti mahal (great queen street), gaylords in central london, indian zing in west london and tayyabs/needos for roti and seekh kebabs in east london.

                                  1. re: howler

                                    .....and did you see Tamarind is the latest to get a Michelin star (although was it one of the first years ago then lost it?). Never been, but colleagues who have, were unimpressed. Any thoughts?

                                    1. re: PhilD

                                      none whatsoever. i grew up - till 21 - in bombay, eating parsi, gujarathi, keralan, tamilian, syrian christian, bhoji, goan, konkani, bengali, punjabi, marwari, mangalorean, hyderabadi, kashmiri, rajasthani, irani, karnataka, udipi etc.

                                      who cares a toss about michelin?

                                      indian zing .. now we're talking,

                                      1. re: howler

                                        "who cares a toss about michelin?" - well I suspect these five chefs do: Vineet Bhatia, Karunesh Khanna, Atul Kochhar, Alfred Prasad, and Sriram Vishwanathan Aylur. Especially, Vineet as he has stars in both London and Switzerland.

                                        1. re: PhilD

                                          I should also give the names of the restaurants as well as the chefs in case people are interested in trying any of the five Indian restaurants in London to hold Michelin stars: Rasoi, Amaya, Benares (reopens after a kitchen fire in spring '10), Tamarind and Quilon.

                                    2. re: howler

                                      dear howler, i will be travelling to london alone for a short trip next month. after reading many post on chowhounds and going over their respective websites, i have come down with the short list of indian restaurants of quilon, moti mahal and indian zing. although moti mahal is my favourites, it is not open on sunday (most likely i would only be able to schedule my indian meal on sunday), which one would you suggest that i should choose, quilon or indian zing?? coming from hong kong and having spent quite number of years in sydney, i have had a lot of indian meals, except i believe they are mostly "localised" and not truely authentic. with a large indian population in UK, i am trying to look for something authentic in a more upscale restaurant (what i mean is somewhere clean and comfortable, not the cheap fast food feel kind of place). thank you.

                                      1. re: Tweety2004

                                        quilon is keralan and indian zing has a number of maharastrian veg dishes (the chef is maharastrian). so it depends on what you're looking for. both are authentic.

                                        if your looking for authentic immigrants cooking for each other fare, you are probably looking at a trek out to east ham; search these boards for j fores' posts re thatakudda etc.

                                        1. re: howler

                                          thank you howler for the analysis. however i'm no expert on indian cuisine, the most i could tell is northern or southern indian. but it seems that both keralan and maharashtra are kind of in the south. so what are the distinct characteristic of each of these cuisine? i'm not particularly looking for veg dishes but would like to try if that is what the cuisine is famous for.

                                          i think i'll give east ham a miss this time 'cos time is short on the current trip. but i'll keep in mind if i do get to visit london again in future.

                                          1. re: howler

                                            oop, by the way, is "thatakudda" the right spelling? i couldn't find anything by this name of the board.

                                            1. re: Tweety2004

                                              don't worry, i found it, it should be Thattakuda... thanks anyway!

                                              1. re: Tweety2004

                                                i spelt it wrong. in any case, looks like quilon is your best bet if you're staying in central london and want to stay local.

                                                1. re: howler

                                                  thanks! i just realised that moti mahal's last seating is 11pm which means that i may be able to do a post theatre dinner on monday night. though their tasting menus look interesting on their website, do you think that the cooking at moti mahal is more geared towards "westernised" than quilon? as i mentioned before, i want something authentic and not anglo indian.

                                                  1. re: Tweety2004

                                                    you'll find north indian cuisine a lot easier than you will keralan. for that reason, i'd stick with quilon.

                                                    1. re: howler

                                                      thank you very much, quilon it will be then. one question, if my show finishes at 10pm at Adelphi Theatre at the Strand, would i be able to make it to quilon for the their last seating at 22:30??

                                                      1. re: Tweety2004

                                                        at that time of night, it should be 10 minutes by cab at most.

                                                        1. re: howler

                                                          ooh, i was thinking of the tube, but ok, the cab it is then... hope it's not going to cost too much! thanks!

                                              2. re: howler

                                                howler, if you told me to jump off of a bridge, I would. We had the tasting menu at Quilon for dinner and spent ten minutes discussing if we had EVER had a better meal anywhere in the world. The wine was well matched to the food and the service was attentive, without smothering! I was reluctant to eat the next day for fear of overwriting the experience my taste buds had. Thank you for contributing to this board! I do not have the words to express how divine the food was! THANK YOU!

                                                41 Buckingham Gate, London, Greater London SW1E 6, GB

                                                  1. re: slwscout

                                                    I had a tasting menu @ Quilon for one, after reading the numerous recs on this board. Honestly, I was disappointed. I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area and there is a sizable Indian population where we live, but I've always been told that our Indian restaurant choices are somewhat poor (and eating in a home is the only way to experience authenticity). So I had high hopes for this taste test. If I compare it to any great eating experience I've had, not just Indian restaurants, I would say only the dessert was memorable in any way. I loved every bite of the warm rice kheer with fresh fruits, rose kulfi, and a southern indian coffee. But the rest of the food struck me as a bit one dimensional--too many proteins presented solo with no accompaniment to help vary the taste: grilled scallop w mango and chili (flavors a little muddy), mapla chicken, tomato?/coriander broth, prawn byadgi (simple taste of grilled prawn), lamb shank (good spicing, just fine, but not great), mango curry (yogurt flavor too dominant for me). The spicing was subtle, not spicy in any way, but not memorable for me, unfortunately.

                                          2. my favourite is Kastoori in tooting which has never let me down - try the tomato curry and chapatis ( you can never order too many) - centrally moti mahal is just ok and so is imli on wardour street (better that mm in my opinion) - most of the local indians is normally better for bog standard indian than the central ones - kebab rolls are best where you can see them making the naan or see them grilling the kebabs on the stick - should be made fresh - the food already made and laid out is also normally a good sign.
                                            If you must go to brick lane try Shalamar - the only one I like - othwerwise walk over to whitechapel and Tayyabs, Lahore and Needoos seems to be the ones.

                                            1. don't ever let anyone recommend brick lane to you for serious indian food. it's fine for a pre-night out with friends or for non-foodie friends. but you really need to seek out the chennai dosas etc. in southall and wembley. that's a no-brainer.

                                              tayyab's and lahore are amazing but they're both pakistani. you couldn't tell from all the grilled meat?

                                              1. I'd like to know if Tayabs is the best for Pakistani food?
                                                I'll be visiting from the States in June and looking for good North Indian, Pakistani or Afghan?

                                                15 Replies
                                                1. re: fvande

                                                  It's good food at a good price as well but is it slightly overhyped? maybe. If you don't mind the queue (even when you have a reservation, you may have to wait half an hour), then have a go!

                                                  For Indian food in the same sort of price range, I quite enjoy Khans in Bayswater.

                                                  1. re: fvande

                                                    Tayyabs is one of the best if not the best. As Jon says, Khan's is also very good. I also frequently go to the Lahore Kebab House on Church Street in Marylebone. Both of the latter have much more accessible locations from Central London.

                                                    The standard for South Asian food in London is quite high, and IMHO a place like Tayyabs rates quite highly even against my regular haunts in Pakistan itself

                                                    1. re: Russian

                                                      My Pakistani friends from the States love Tayyabs and Tayyabs is better than any Pakistani food I'd have in the States. Thanks for the recommendations. I will add Khans & Lahore Kebab House to my list.

                                                      1. re: fvande

                                                        just so you know, khans is completely a bangla deshi curry house - nothing whatsoever to do with indian food other than the dish names.

                                                        1. re: howler

                                                          Re: Khan's, I admit its been a few years since I last ate there, but when I went, it was certainly not a "Bengali curry house"... I didn't sample their saucier/more exotic dishes (don't remember if they even had many), but their seekh kebabs, chicken boti, etc and accompaniments were very much done in the traditional Pakistani/North Indian style that I grew up on.

                                                          1. re: Russian

                                                            oh i'd beg to differ. how often does a chicken boti show up on an indian menu?! i for one have never seen it, and would certainly be nervous about ordering it.

                                                            also, khans is not bengali, its bangla deshi run - along with over 90% of all 'indian' curry house restaurants in the uk.

                                                            khans wouldn't survive a nanosecond in mumbai. guaranteed.

                                                            1. re: howler

                                                              My username notwithstanding, I'm Pakistani born and bred. Chicken boti shows up in menus all over Pakistan. Never been to Mumbai, but chicken boti is a staple of Pakistani tandoori/bbq places, especially most of the places I regularly go to in Lahore.

                                                              1. re: Russian

                                                                Russian, Sounds like I should stick to Tayyabs for Pakistani food?
                                                                I'm an American of Pak/Indian descent and having been to Karachi
                                                                a few times, I found Tayyabs to be pretty good last summer
                                                                and look forward to returning.

                                                                If you can strongly recommend any other Pakistani places in London, please let me know but we may stick to Tayyabs and get to Lahore Kabob or Khans if we have time.

                                                                1. re: fvande

                                                                  Tayyabs will compare favorably to "BBQ Tonight" if you know what I mean :)

                                                                  Lahore is pretty close, although their chops are not as good as Tayyabs. No need to go to Khans if you go to those two, and your plan is good if you can only go to one.

                                                                2. re: Russian

                                                                  ok i'm indian born and bred. vive la difference!

                                                                  1. re: howler

                                                                    Russian & Howler, thanks!

                                                                    My Mom is Pakistani and Dad is Indian, so I tend to favor northern Indian and Pakistani cuisine. The Indian food in NYC is pretty good,
                                                                    but it's really hard to find Pakistani food in the States.

                                                                    Thanks for all the great recommendations. Tayyabs has a pretty strong reputation in the States among Desis :)

                                                                  2. re: Russian

                                                                    I'm white (hurray legitimization) and I'd really press you to go for Needoo or Lahore rather than Tayyabs. Also, I prefer Lahore Lahore Eh in East Ham to either of those, but that's obviously a longer (but far more interesting) trip. Their grilled items are about on par with Needo but their karahi, veg, etc is all much better.

                                                                    Similarly, Kebabish on Green St has better grilled items. Longer trip though. Whitechapel is by no means the epicenter of good Pakistani food in London or even in East London.

                                                          2. re: Russian

                                                            Is the Lahore in Church Street any good? A mate mentioned that it's a branch of the one in Whitechapel but i'm not fully convinced as the website of the one in whitechapel does not list it as one of it's branches. In any case, not so concerned if it's a branch as i guess that's no measure of the standard. Main question is how's the food there??

                                                            1. re: jonY

                                                              Lahore on Church street is excellent. I go there all the time. Not as good as Tayyab's (if I'm going that far, I prefer Tayyab's to Lahore on Whitechapel), but close.

                                                              1. re: Russian

                                                                Is Lahore on Church Street still open? Google is not yielding an address or mention. If it's still around, can someone let me know the address? Am in London for the next few days and don't think I'll be able to get out to the more far-flung Indian and Pakistani restaurants, though I'd love to.

                                                        2. I go to the Star of India on Old Brompton which my family loves (and which I formerly detested, and slowly found to love as well). The owner is a cool dude (he used to be on the TV) and the service is really excellent. It's somewhere between a curry house and a Benares type restaurant!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: brokentelephone

                                                            I am surprised no one has mentioned Veeraswamys in Regent Street in London. A bit pricey (lunch for 3 with no alcohol was about 80 Pounds) bur great food and great ambience. Owned by the Punjabi sisters, also of Chutney Mary fame.

                                                          2. Tayyabs and Mirch Masala are good choices ....

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: mzungu

                                                              Contrary to what some people have said upthread, I just want to say here that I found Quilon to be overpriced and pretty bad. Supposedly Keralite food...hmm. As someone who has spent a lot of time in Kerala, I can say I have had MUCH better for MUCH cheaper. Not worth it at all.

                                                              41 Buckingham Gate, London, Greater London SW1E 6, GB

                                                              1. re: Muchlove

                                                                I was once told the their thali wasn't much better or better (particularly for value) than Thattukada's, but I haven't eaten at Quilon yet so I can't authoritatively comment on that.

                                                                41 Buckingham Gate, London, Greater London SW1E 6, GB

                                                                1. re: JFores

                                                                  Fair enough. Personally, I say that if you know anything about Keralite food, you may well be disappointed. I think for me it's because that kind of food has a special place in my heart. In addition, even though we have North Indian roots, we cook a lot of it at home and do it well :P

                                                                  1. re: Muchlove

                                                                    Have you tried Thattukada, Aswathi or Taste of Kerala? Those are pretty much the best Keralan places I've been to in London.