INDIAN RESTAURANTS

There’s no shortage of Indian restaurants in London – not surprising given the fact that curry is our national dish – but which ones are the best? From street food to Michelin-starred plates, these are our faves.

Highlights

Michelin-starred Trishna takes you on a journey through India with plates inspired by the south coast, rich seafood dishes from Goa and a range of puris, bhajis, behls and idlis, and you can go for seafood, veggie or meaty tasting menus. This is anything but your average curry house and is one to save for a real treat.

Inspired by the old Irani cafes of Bombay, Dishoom became an instant hit thanks to its bangin’ sharing plates and beaut decor. The lamb samosas, masala prawns, house black daal and chicken ruby are spot on every single time, and we’ll never say to no to THAT bacon and egg naan for brekkie. It’s simply one of the best Indian restaurants in London.

After starting life in a shipping container and expanding to Soho, Kricket has brought their modern Indian plates back to Brixton. There are old faves like samphire pakoras and Keralan fried chicken on the menu as well as newbies including lotus root yakni with morels and lotus root crisps, pig head vindaloo with artichoke tarka and pickled shallot, and rock oyster pakora with rhubarb chutney.

Roti Chai is located down a quiet back street near Marble Arch and is one of the cheapest Indian restaurants in London. This Indian street food joint has a simple cafe style dining area on the ground floor with a more formal dining restaurant below. The chicken samosas are crammed full of spicy chicken, the chicken lollipops are moreish and the hakka chilli paneer is one to go for if you can handle the heat. And wash the lot down with a lychee teapot cocktail.

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GYMKHANA

££££
42 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4JH, UK

Widely considered to be one of, if not the, best Indian restaurant in London, Gymkhana is looking better than ever after a refurbishment following a fire. There’s new artwork and photographs on the ground floor level, and a more substantial remodelling in the basement, which has seen the bar moved and a more colourful design adopted. The menus still feature many of the Gymkhana classics, as well as a few new dishes and cocktails, so there’s plenty of reasons to visit again even if you’ve been before. The kid goat methi keema was always one of the most hyped dishes at Gymkhana and it’s still a must order – scooping up the rich minced goat meat and piling it on to the soft buttery pao buns is a joy to behold. Another one of Gymkhana’s most famous dishes, the muntjac biryani, is still here and again it’s one you won’t want to pass up. The pastry crust is broken upon table-side, revealing a steaming bowl of rice and chunks of muntjac deer – it’s a heavy dish but it’s served with pomegranate and mint raita which helps add a bit of freshness. Whether you’re a long time fan of Gymkhana or you’re yet to visit, the refurbishment of the space is the perfect excuse to visit. It’s certainly pricier than your average Indian restaurant but the cooking is exceptional, and fully worthy of it’s Michelin-star status. A five star experience all round.

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HOPPERS KING'S CROSS

Hoppers King's Cross, Pancras Square, London, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 5:30 – 9:45 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 5:30 – 9:45 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 5:30 – 9:45 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 5:30 – 10:15 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 2:30 PM, 5:00 – 10:45 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 10:45 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 9:00 PM

Hoppers’ latest, and largest, restaurant in King’s Cross has a big, weatherproofed outdoor terrace that faces the Regent’s Canal, making it a great summer spot. The two outdoor bars serve up a menu of cocktails and Sri Lankan snacks, as well as an IPA made exclusively for Hoppers in collaboration with Two Tribes Brewery. Plus, during the summer they host a series of DJ sessions programmed by Two Tribes and Voices Radio. Inside, it’s bright and spacious, and vibrant, with the kitchen knocking out all the Hoppers Sri Lankan and south Indian classics such as Swimmer Crab Kari; Bone Marrow Varuval; Lamb Kothu Roti; and of course the signature string and egg hoppers. 

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MADHU’S BRASSERIE

5th Floor, 109-125 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RJ, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM

Having long served members of the royal family at Windsor Castle, the famous restaurateurs and award-winning Indian caterers Madhu’s, know a thing or two about Indian food. On the fifth floor of Harvey Nichols you can find their latest collaboration, Madhu’s Brasserie, which offers all-day gourmet dining. Nab a seat at the counter-wrapped bar so you can take in the theatre of chefs at work rolling freshly baked breads before they go in the tandoor oven and cooking over the robata grill. Standout dishes cooked on the robata are the lamb chops, cooked in ginger and aromatic spices, along with the incredible butterfly king prawns. The slow-cooked black lentils in butter and tomato, flavoured with fenugreek and garlic and finished with cream, and the murgh makhani, tandoor grilled chicken tikka simmered in tomato sauce, are also winners.

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PALI HILL

79-81 Mortimer St, London W1W 7SJ, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Pali Hill, is the Indian restaurant in Fitzrovia on the old Gaylord site, from Rahul Khanna and Kabir Suri, the pair behind Indian group Azure Hospitality. The restaurant is named after one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Mumbai and it’s a good looking place – the design has been inspired by the art deco apartments found in the area with lots of warm yellows, deep oranges and greens, and an open kitchen at the back so you can see the chefs in action. Head Chef Avinash Shashidhara (previously River Café and Hibiscus) has created a menu that features dishes from across India, like papadi chat, Pondicherry squid, Pali Hill chicken tikka, and lamb biryani, and the portions are on the generous side so even the small plates aren’t really that small. Come hungry, leave happy.

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TRISHNA

15-17 Blandford Street, St. Marylebone, London W1U 3DG, UK

Michelin-starred Trishna takes you on a journey through India with plates inspired by the south coast, rich seafood dishes from Goa and a range of puris, bhajis, behls and idlis, and you can go for seafood, veggie or meaty tasting menus. This is anything but your average curry house and is one to save for a real treat.

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DISHOOM

Dishoom, 12 Upper St Martin's Lane, London WC2H 9FB, UK

Inspired by the old Irani cafes of Bombay, Dishoom became an instant hit thanks to its bangin’ sharing plates and beaut decor, and all their sites have regular huge queues out the door. The lamb samosas, masala prawns, house black daal and chicken ruby are spot on every single time, and we’ll never say to no to THAT bacon and egg naan with a chai for brekkie.

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FATT PUNDIT

££
77 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 8TH, UK

Whilst there are Indo-Chinese restaurants on the outskirts of London, this style of food is still not very well represented in Central, which is what Fatt Pundit is trying to change. The Soho spot specialises in the fusion food from Tangra in Kolkata, a result of Hakka Chinese immigration into the city from Canton. The fact that you start with momos, steamed dumplings that are commonplace in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and Northern India, lets you know you’re in for something a bit different at Fatt Pundit. The Chinese influence on the menu is clear. Chilli and Szechuan pepper features heavily and many of the dishes have sticky glazes rather than curry sauces, like the crispy Bombay chilli prawns and the excellent venison in a sweet chilli reduction, served with mantou bread (a Northern Chinese steamed bun). Instead of salt & pepper squid, there’s salt & pepper okra, and the moreish crackling spinach is similar to crispy seaweed, given an Indian twist with sweet yogurt, date & plum sauce and pomegranates. Don’t miss the lamb chops either – covered in a black bean and masala dust, charred on the outside and buttery soft on the inside. Cocktails continue down the same road; inspired by the traders in India who sell fresh cut fruit with spices and salts with some Chinese flavours thrown in. This is fusion done right.

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ROTI CHAI

3 Portman Mews South, London W1H, UK

Roti Chai is located down a quiet back street near Marble Arch. This Indian street food joint has a simple cafe style dining area on the ground floor with a more formal dining restaurant below. The chicken samosas are crammed full of spicy chicken, the chicken lollipops are moreish and the hakka chilli paneer is one to go for if you can handle the heat. And wash the lot down with a lychee teapot cocktail.

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TAMARIND KITCHEN

167-169 Wardour Street, London W1F 8WR, UK

Tamarind Kitchen is another curry house gem found in Soho, where you can tuck into dishes like Karara Kekda, soft shell crab with potato salad and pickles; Hyderabadi Gosht, slow-cooked lamb in a browned onion sauce; Guchchhee Kofta, morel mushroom and pea dumplings; and South Indian Alapuppuzha Fish Curry. They also serve up a game platter featuring tandoor-cooked quail, duck and guinea fowl, ideal if you’re in the mood for a meat feast. It even offers a subterranean cocktail bar, making it a great spot for drinking too.

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GUNPOWDER

11 White's Row, London, UK

Gunpowder is one of the new wave of restaurants delivering Indian food for the 21st century through innovative dishes cooked with authentic spices. The original is a small restaurant hidden on a backstreet in Spitalfields, with a second larger site in Tower Bridge, offering cleverly spiced plates with subtly different flavours. The spicy venison and vermicelli doughnuts, Maa’s kashmiri super tender lamb chops and the sigree grilled mustard broccoli are all highlights and if you’re in the mood for booze there’s some interesting Indian cocktails on offer too.

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TANDOOR CHOP HOUSE

8 Adelaide Street, London WC2N 4HZ, UK

Tandoor Chop House is upping the game for Indian food in the capital, combining a traditional North Indian communal eatery with a classic British chop house. The tandoor oven is the star of the show and you can expect dishes to include tandoori chicken masala, beef bolti, Amritsari lamb chops and tandoor masala pollock. Sides come in the shape of a Dexter dripping keema naan and crispy okra, and its hard to resist the sweet coal-roasted pineapple or chai brulée for dessert.

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BRIGADIERS

1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, London EC4N 8AR, UK

Brigadiers brings some serious SPICE to the Indian restaurant scene in London. The menu is huge and everything sounds amazing so choosing is definitely the hardest part. The half rack of lamb chops are pretty exceptional, crusted in spices and served on a bed of soft tandoori onions, as is the kid goat shoulder with two paratha breads and the sagafella oysters. Brigadiers is another winner for the JKS group and it’s worth at least a couple of visits to get through as many dishes as possible.

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CINNAMON CLUB

The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith St, London SW1P 3BU, UK

Cinnamon Club is London’s original modern Indian restaurant and you can’t go wrong with a classic. Executive Chef Vivek Singh’s menu combines signature dishes, tasting menus, seasonal options and celebratory sharing platters. Tandoori octopus with chutney aloo, old Delhi style butter chicken and Shetland salmon with caramel jhal muri are just some of the highlights. If that doesn’t get your tastebuds tickling, quite frankly nothing will…

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KUTIR

10 Lincoln St, London SW3 2TS, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 1:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 1:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 1:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 1:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 1:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 1:00 – 10:00 PM

Rohit Ghai, who previously worked at Gymkhana and won a Michelin star at Jamavar, has gone out on his own with Kutir in Chelsea. It’s taken over the townhouse building that was previously home to Vineet Bhatia, the restaurant that famously won a Michelin star only to close a week later. As Kutir, the restaurant takes inspiration from the royal hunting traditions of the Indian countryside, so it’s big on seasonal ingredients like game and seafood. There’s an a la carte menu and a few good value set menus too so there’s plenty of ways to play it depending on time and budget. The lamb tandoori chops and the nargisi kofta – an egg in an amazing spicy sauce served with paratha bread and bone marrow – are standouts, as are the deep fried prawns with coconut and roscoff onion, and the guinea fowl biryani, served with homemade raita and pickles. The cocktail list, created by co-founder Abhi Sangwan, matches the menu well by using wild and natural Indian ingredients.

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KRICKET

£££
Kricket Soho, Denman Street, London, UK

It’s true, we don’t like Kricket…we love it! That was obvious you may think – hey we love a good dad joke – what wasn’t quite as obvious, however, was just how much we’d freaking love Kricket. Created by Will Bowlby, who previously worked at The Cinnamon Club, the dishes are inspired by Southern India but use British ingredients and modern flair to bring them up to date – think goat leg raan, Keralan fried chicken, wood pigeon with garlic pickle, Cornish crab meen moilee, duck leg kathi roll, lotus root yakni with morels & lotus root crisps, and rock oyster pakora with rhubarb chutney.

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MANTHAN

49 Maddox St, London W1S 2PQ, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM

Michelin-starred chef Rohit Ghai, who also runs Kutir in Chelsea, has returned to his former stomping ground of Mayfair (having previously been Executive Chef at Jamavar and Bombay Bustle) for Manthan. It’s now a very sexy looking spot with a subtle ocean theme running throughout too and co-founder Abhi Sangwan has carried that theme through to the drinks list with a cocktail menu inspired by the seven oceans of the world and featuring fresh exotic fruits, botanicals and infusions. In the kitchen, Ghai unites his childhood experiences growing up in Madhya Pradesh with his knowledge of working in those high-end Indian restaurants to create a refined take on home-style cooking, resulting in dishes like ghati masala prawns, lamb osso buco curry, halloumi tikka, and garlic kheer.

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HERITAGE

101 Rosendale Rd, Norwood, London SE21 8EZ, UK

Heritage re-imagines traditional Indian cooking by putting a modern spin on established recipes, with a menu that manages to pay homage to India’s diverse culinary culture whilst also having a little fun too. The kitchen is headed up by Chef Dayashankar Sharma (ex-Tamarind, the first Indian restaurant in London to receive a Michelin star), who strikes the balance between crowd-pleasing classics and pure-genius plates, from the likes of Goan stuffed fish and lamb biryani to sundried tomato & truffle naan and plum, honey & mustard spiced duck. Heritage lives up to the hype, and as for the service, well that is well worth the trip to West Dulwich alone.

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BIBI

42 N Audley St, London W1K 6ZP, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Indian restaurant BiBi is part of the JKS group and ran by chef Chet Sharma, who’s earned his stripes working at some of the country’s best Michelin-starred restaurants including Moor Hall and L’Enclume. Oh, and Chet also has a PHD in physics from Oxford University – which is really not something you can often say about a chef. Chet has a very strong debut in the can with BiBi, full of crowd pleasing hits, familiar notes and more adventurous moments. The Indian menu is split in to five sections – snacks, chaat, sigree, sides and desserts – and you’ll want to ensure a spread of six to eight dishes across these. The must orders in our book include the Wookey Hole (that’s the cheese fyi) cheese papad, giant cheesy crisps with a creamy dip and mango and green chutneys; the raw belted Galloway beef pepper fry, an Indian riff on a beef tartare, spiked with spices and fermented Tellicherry peppercorns; the chukh masala tikka; and the Swaledale lamb belly gallouti, glistening with rich fat and crispy skin. All in all, BiBi is a great restaurant, with truly exciting and inventive dishes on offer, and a fresh, contemporary take on Indian cuisine.

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