Gymkhana

Where To Go For Indian Food in London

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Us Brits love a curry. Thankfully, we’re spoilt for choice here in London: the Indian food scene is thriving, with a wide range of Michelin-starred eateries and casual dining spots to choose from. Here’s our pick of the best Indian restaurants in London.

Interview with Kricket Founder Will Bowlby / Best Restaurants in Soho

Best Indian Restaurants in London

 

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Ritu, indian restaurant in St John's Wood

Ritu, St John’s Wood

Situated a stone’s throw from the iconic Abbey Road studios and then a good walk to Lord’s cricket grounds, Ritu is an unexpected gem nestled in a quiet side street in north-west London. Its name is a reference to the four distinctive Indian seasons, and this is very deliberate: Ritu’s menu adapts to seasonality and the dishes switch out according to what’s good at the time of year. Head chef Shoeb Haider’s food is absolutely fresh in accordance with this ethos, and you can expect a mature take on classic dishes here. The perfect end to a matchday (or hard slog in the studio)? Absolutely. Add this to your culinary bucket list.

Hero Dish: In particular, gunpowder prawns really stand out – the seared seafood is milder than you’d expect and opts for flavourful spice over a blast of the senses, adding nuance and depth to the taste of this moreish starter. Plus, don’t miss dessert; the ananas are the perfect finisher.

ritu.london

BiBi Mayfair restaurant interior

BiBi Mayfair

BiBi offers an evolving menu of contemporary Indian cuisine with recognisable flavours that would have been enjoyed by his paternal and maternal grandmothers (bibis), who played a key role in the formation of his culinary identity. Fine Indian ingredients are paired with hero UK produce including Orkney scallops and paneer made with buffalo milk from the New Forest. The result: something entirely new for the Indian dining scene, a menu stacked with must-try bites and can’t-stop-thinking-about-them flavour combinations. Read our full review of BiBi here. bibirestaurants.com

Manthan

Manthan, Mayfair

Kutir chef Rohit Ghai returned to the neighbourhood where he made his name this summer with Manthan, a new small plates-style Indian restaurant. Open now on Maddox Street, the eatery is inspired by Ghai’s international career, with dishes reflecting his culinary experience from all corners of the globe. Traditional flavours will be given a contemporary twist, with a focus on vegetarian dishes and a concise cocktail menu put together by Trishna alumni Abhi Sangwan. manthanmayfair.co.uk

Benares

Benares

Benares has always taken a flavours-first approach to cuisine, and unlike some of its Berkley Square neighbours, you won’t catch diners letting their sizzling tikka mains go cold while they capture the perfect Instagram shot (the low lighting inhibits photography, even if you should be so inclined). The approach pays off: it delivers flavour in abundance. London has a plethora of excellent Indian eateries, but Benares is the obvious choice for the finest modern Indian food in the capital. Read our full review. benaresrestaurant.com

Gunpowder

Gunpowder

Perched on the riverside beside Tower Bridge, the second branch of Gunpowder is a more glamorous affair than its Shoreditch original. It’s also much larger, split across two floors and with a pretty little terrace offering al fresco seating. Fans of the original, though, will be pleased to know the signature dishes are still there – notably the spicy venison doughnuts, an entirely unique dish which never fails to impress. Classic Indian dishes reimagined are the focus here: there’s a bhuna aubergine and crispy kale salad with goat’s cheese, as well as Bengali beetroot croquettes. Mains are big plates designed for sharing, including beef rib in Kerala pepper sauce, tandoori paneer and Lasooni wild Madagascar prawns. Save some space for the rum bread and butter pudding, and be sure to explore the cocktail menu, which features some lovely light cocktails which pair perfectly with all the spice. gunpowderlondon.com

Gymkhana Indian Restaurant

Gymkhana

An elegant dining room from the team behind Trishna and Hoppers, this Mayfair hotspot is inspired by Indian gymkhana clubs, where high society types meet to dine, drink and socialise. In 2019 the restaurant temporarily closed after a fire – but fans will be pleased to know it’s back and better than ever. An antidote to the humourless green tea and matcha-fuelled times we have found ourselves in, it’s one of those rare species of restaurant that revives the spirit of the naughties; eye-wateringly expensive wines, starters beginning at £18, yet everyone enjoying the good old dolce vita. Check out our full review here. gymkhanalondon.com

Dishoom

Dishoom

Since the first café opened in Covent Garden back in 2010, four more London branches of Dishoom have opened – yet somehow all of them still draw in big queues. All branches have a similar vibe, with interiors inspired by Bombay brasseries, with retro design features, low-level lighting and vintage magazines covering the walls. Everything is delicious, but there are some things you’ve got to try, such as their famous House Black Daal, the okra fries and the lamb biriyani. Well worth the wait. dishoom.com

KutirChelsea_PhotoCred_StuartMilne

Kutir

While the meaning of Kutir (‘a small cottage in the middle of nowhere’) doesn’t exactly apply given that the townhouse can be found smack bang in Sloane Square, set just off the Kings Road, Kutir is magically quiet and feels worlds away from the bustle of its neighbours – needless to say it’s well positioned for a hearty meal after a day of shopping. Location aside, the restaurant itself is a vision rendered in soothing tones of mint green, florals and ambient lighting – all of which make the perfect backdrop for the refined but fiery meal ahead. Save yourself the food envy and opt for one of Kutir’s delectable Expedition tasting menus which change according to season; on the Signature Menu you’ll find that classics like Lamb Tandoori and Chicken Tikka are given a modern update. Impeccably plated, dishes are full of flavours both traditional and innovative – simply put, Kutir gets refined Indian food so right. Desserts aren’t a second thought here either, with the mango cassata flecked with cranberry, kulfi and pistachio taking the cake (pun intended). Given the quality of food, service and ambience, Kutir is also shockingly well priced. kutir.co.uk

Kricket

Kricket

Kricket has come a long way since its humble beginnings. It was born in a 20-seat shipping container in Pop Brixton, but after gaining legions of fans opened its first bricks-and-mortar restaurant in Soho two years later. Founders Will Bowlby and Rik Campbell have since opened two more branches, one back in Brixton, and another in White City’s Television Centre. Will – who worked at a restaurant in Mumbai before training under Vivek Singh – describes it as ‘authentic flavours with local ingredients, presented in a new way.’ The menu is all about small sharing plates, and although it changes regularly there are some staples, like the samphire pakoras and the Keralan fried chicken. The Indian-inspired cocktails are also very popular, particularly the Moondate, made with ginger vodka, date marmalade and date & cinnamon syrup. kricket.co.uk

Cinnamon Kitchen

Cinnamon Kitchen

The newest London branch in Vivek Singh’s empire, Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea is a laid-back alternative to its fine dining sibling, The Cinnamon Club. Found within up-and-coming Battersea Power Station, it has more of an edgy vibe than the others, set in an exposed brick arch with a metal cage structure in the middle. Like Vivek’s other restaurants, the restaurant specialises in modern Indian cuisine, but here street food dishes take centre stage. The Bombay platter makes a great starter, featuring a vada pa (a fried potato cake in a bun), chilli-coated paneer, and a tapioca cake. Vegetarian offerings are particularly good at Cinnamon Kitchen – we highly recommend the kale and quinoa kofta, and the spiced chickpea gnocchi is delicious. cinnamon-kitchen.com

Kahani

Kahani

A fairly new addition to London’s Indian food scene, Kahani is an unassuming, sophisticated spot hidden away behind Chelsea’s Cadogan Hall. It’s headed up by Peter Joseph, previously at Tamarind – the first Indian restaurant in the world to earn a Michelin star – who describes the food as ‘lighter, modern Indian food.’ Grill is the prime focus here, with a mixture of meat, seafood, game and vegetable dishes cooked either on a robata grill or a tandoor. Go hungry, and however full you are you must order the melting chilli chocolate dome pudding. kahanilondon.com

Tamarind Kitchen

Tamarind

The first Indian restaurant in the world to get a Michelin star, Tamarind is a market leader in Indian fine dining. The restaurant is warm and sophisticated: a Mayfair institution without any overtly fancy or try-hard baggage. Walk through the gallery-like entrance and you’re invited to stay a while, with kind and warm staff making your visit as magical as possible. Executive Chef Karunesh Khanna is at the top of Tamarind’s masthead, a wonderfully friendly man who treats every single customer as if they were a guest in his own house – even preparing a special off-menu soy dish for a particular vegan diner (though there is a dedicated vegan menu). Carnivores, you get the pick of the bunch. Ordering a selection is advised: crab, chicken, prawns, lemon rice, mango and avocado salad, beetroot kebabs, ginger and tomato spinach accompanied by some of the most well crafted cocktails you’ll ever taste and a carafe of their house red. Tamarind is one of those rare restaurants that manages to be both luxurious and laid-back. One does not just eat here: one eats, drinks, experiences and leaves with a bit of the restaurant’s heart in tow. tamarindrestaurant.com

Brigadiers

Brigadiers

With a circular dining hub, two private dining rooms, a games room and a bar, Brigadiers has it all. While the restaurant offers a different atmosphere in every room, there’s an overarching feeling of being welcome.

The food only adds to this sense of warmness: think sharing plates and intriguing taste sensations that may well have you asking the waiters ‘what exactly is this’ with the hope of being able to recreate it at home (which probably won’t be possible, we’re sorry to say). The menu is large and slightly complicated, so here’s our advice: tell your waiter or the wandering and joyful manager Graham what you like and what you don’t, then await whatever comes your way. The kitchen and floor staff are experts, and taking the pressure away from ordering makes for an experimental dining experience – one that might leave you with a new favourite dish. The buzzing atmosphere here will linger in your personal ether long after you leave. brigadierslondon.com