Ooty is the new Indian restaurant has taken the place of Galvin Bistrot de Luxe on Baker Street, after the longstanding French restaurant closed last year. It certainly looks different – inspired by the hill station town of the same name in Tamil Nadu known for its gardens, the interiors feature botanical wallpaper, green banquettes and dusky pink chairs, as well as a statement foliage wall.
Chef Manmeet Singh Bali (previously head chef at Vineet Bhatia London, which didn’t blow us away), is in charge of the kitchen and he’s created a menu that focuses on the food of southern India. With that in mind, we decided to go heavy on the fish dishes, starting with Telicherry crab fry, crispy pieces of soft shell crab sat on a crab and coconut relish, and a wonderfully spiced baked cod with a masala pea puree.
Though the Keralan lime lobster came with a cute edible spoon and a great shellfish charu bisque (not enough of it in our books), our fave from the mains was the tiger prawn biryani with egg salan and cucumber yoghurt pachadi. We also had to try one of the dosas, so we got one as a side although you could probably get away with it as main for lunch.
All the dishes were beautifully presented, none more so than the puds. The jaggery pineapple bake sat in a huge black dish with a scoop of black sesame ice cream on top, and the meetha paan kulfi, which came with rose caviar and crystallised rose petals. And yes that may sound like a lot of rose but the balance was actually bang on, being fragrant rather than soapy.
The main restaurant clearly has Michelin ambitions, and both the cooking and service indicates promise, but that’s not all Ooty has to offer. The Ooty Club basement bar, decked out like an 18th century lodge, is already up and running and there’s still the more casual Ooty Station to open in the summer.
66 Baker St, London W1U 7DJ