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Feb 8, 2008 01:42 PM

Best Indian Food In London?

After an absence of a couple of years, I will be visiting London with friends in late April and we want to try the best Indian restaurants in London. Price is no object. In past trips to London I have enjoyed Zaika, Tamarind, and Benares, and been unimpressed with Cinnamon Club and Khans. I am happy to enjoy "tradtional" Indian food as well as the more stylist food served in some places. My group includes both vegetarians and meat eaters. Any thoughts?

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  1. No one who knows more than me (and there are many) can seem to rouse themselves to answer this question. So let me distill the typical Chowhounds London response:

    (1) Frequently posted question on this board, so do some search for recent posts.
    (2) On the cheap end, the places that get mentioned are Tayyab's (for kebabs) and a surprising place called Hot Stuff.
    (3) On the pricier end, our friend Howler has been encouraging people to visit Quilon, and it was recently rewarded with a Michelin star. Moti Mahal is sometimes mentioned, and is not bad. Two other Michelin star places that you didn't mention are Amaya and Rasoi Vineet Bhatia. Personally, if you travel to India (or perhaps reside there) or have access to a solid mother, aunt or two I wouldn't bother with these, but it's really a matter of what your alternatives are. Some of these places are good to good +, but not quite worth the money and fuss in my opinion.
    (4) There's a new place by the Vineet Bhatia of the eponymous resto, called Urban Turban. No one should reward a place that chooses such an absurd name with their patronage. But you may feel differently. I haven't heard good things, but your experience may be different.



    13 Replies
    1. re: bombaybeauty

      Many thanks. Any thoughts on Cafe Spice Namaste or Chutney Mary?

        1. re: howler

          I live in the United States, although I went to school at St. Stephen's College in Delhi, India. Hence, I have a preference for Punjabi or North Indian food.
          I also briefly went to school at the Westminster School in London, but that is another story...

          1. re: Delhiwala

            the only truly good naarth indian places are

            a) moti mahal (yep, the same owners as the ones in delhi)
            b) gaylords (ditto)
            c) bombay brasserie (weekend lunch buffet)

            moti mahal/gaylords have pili dal, baingan bhartha etc while the bombay brasserie is classic taj restaurant buffet fare. best value in town.

            as for the more uppity zaika, rasoi vineet bhatia etc i cant help as i dont enjoy them very much (though years ago i had an interesting - even enjoyable meal - at zaika. i could see what they were trying to do and while i never craved it, the talent was undeniable).

            1. re: howler

              howler....Which Moti do you mean please, SW7 or Covent Garden? Forgive my ignorance!

              1. re: Robin Joy

                I believe the refers to the Moti Mahal at 45 Great Queen Street. Based on Chowhound recs have been there and enjoyed it. BB

                1. re: bombaybeauty

                  did you get the phool gobi? outstanding.

                  1. re: howler

                    Alas not. I was in a daal-chawal mood, which was perhaps a strategic mistake. Must go back. I often pass by Gaylords, eyeing it with suspicion as it looks over-decorated and empty. But given you're rec I'll drop in sometime and report back. Cheers, BB

        2. re: Delhiwala

          I've never been to Chutney Mary, although hear it's very good. However, I can vouch for Cafe Spice Namaste, which is a very colourful and attractive place, with cooking that you don't find in your average Indo-Brit place, e.g. wild boar tandoori etc. The family who own it are Parsees, and make great play about their dhansak, which they claim to be the guine article, unlike the travesties served up in most places in Britain. I remember a really nice rosewater kulfi the last time I went. Please post your experiences.

          1. re: Lord Brazing

            The Mint Leaf- Haymarket is really nice.

            1. re: Lord Brazing

              Chutnet Mary is very good - the tasting menu especially. worth the money (it is London btw). Downside is taxi fare - getting to Chelsea is more expensive than you think, even from Mayfair

          2. re: bombaybeauty

            Urban Turban got a really bad review in one of the Saturday broadsheets at the weekend - can't remember which - Telegraph or Indie I think.

            1. re: bombaybeauty

              I think that this is a neat summary of the Chowhound take on the Indian food scene in London. In times gone by I have been an advocate of Punjabi-owned Eriki in Swiss Cottage but since their star Goan chef left a year or two back, standards have slipped and it no longer excels. That said as a rec it still goes down well with stateside visitors most recently osho and there are still some worthy menu items mainly amongst the veggie options.

              I also like snacking on Gujurati fare along the Kingsbury Road and have posted about this before. We just had a batch of samosas from Gayatri and they were as excellent as ever, nice and crisp pastry, flavoursome filling. And Kingsbury fruit and veg is superb for fresh produce, some of the best and best priced fruit in London. Still need to try out Rose which is a jain Indian Chinese restaurant along the same stretch.

              Then there's the gurdwara in Southall, delicious north indian veggie fare and obviously free, I guess that some people may feel uneasy going there as non-worshippers but I don't think there should be any problem if people are respectful and make a donation.

              I do need to revisit and rediscover Southall, Tooting, Wembley, Harrow, Green St etc as my information is somewhat out-of-date. I wouldn't necessarily expect to find excellence but I can't believe that they are culinary wastelands either.