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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.

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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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.

DISHOOM COVENT GARDEN

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. 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.

KRICKET

41-43 Atlantic Road, London SW9 8JL, UK

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.

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.

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.

DUM BIRYANI HOUSE

187b Wardour St, Soho, London W1F 8ZB, UK

Dum Biryani House is located in Soho and it specialise in, you guessed it, biryani. Unlike any other you’ve tried before, this is done properly with all the rice and ingredients baked under a layer of flaky pastry. You can choose from chicken, veg, or lamb shank and each one comes with little pots of spiced okra yoghurt, baby aubergine in a peanut and sesame seed curry and house acharr pickle to mix in. There’s more than biryani on offer too, with plenty of sides and snacks to choose from.

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DARJEELING EXPRESS

Kingly Court, Kingly Street, Soho, London, UK

Darjeeling Express takes inspiration from founder Asma’s royal Indian ancestry and growing up in the Bengali streets of Calcutta. This results in a menu that infuses authentic street food such as papri chaat with royal recipes like lamb dum biryani, all guaranteed to pack a punch. On Sundays Asma cooks up some of her most famous supper club dishes and childhood faves, whilst the weekday menu regularly changes to deliver only the best seasonal recipes. As an all-women team of housewives run the kitchens get ready to taste home-style food, cooked with passion to nourish your body and soul. YUM.

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. It’s a small restaurant hidden on a backstreet in Spitalfields, 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…

INDIAN ACCENT

16 Albemarle St, London W1S 4HW, UK

The international Indian Accent has finally come to London and it’s no surprise they’ve chosen Mayfair as their location due to it’s great reputation for high-end Indian food. There’s Indian flavours, spices and techniques but all done in a very neat and tidy modern way, such as the mathri trio; three little cones containing smoked aubergine, duck and foie gras, and chicken spiced with fenugreek. The four course menu is actually reasonably good value too given the quality of cooking and the location.

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