Tandoors, charcoal grills, rotisseries, wood ovens and classic smokers – Brigadiers has mastered the many methods of Indian barbecue. Bringing the city to life at weekends with its free-flowing drinks, it serves up sport on big screens alongside a three-course BBQ roast menu. Through the week, there’s live sport on demand in selected rooms, while pool and classic card games are available for those who want to get in on some action themselves.
1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, Bank, EC4N 8AR
Tamarind Mayfair was the first Indian restaurant in the UK to be awarded a Michelin star. It reopened last year after an eight-month refurb. Highlights from the kitchen include chilli goat ribs, which are slow-cooked and glazed with tamarind; grilled duck breast vindaloo; and Old Delhi butter slow-cooked chicken curry. Carole Brown, ex-bar manager at Hakkasan and Park Chinois, is the creative force behind an impressive list of cocktails – look out for the ‘Ghee-Washed Old Fashioned’ and ‘Masala Negroni’.
20 Queen Street, Mayfair, W1J 5PR
Newly launched by Rohit Ghai (ex-Jamavar) and Abhishake Sangwan, this Chelsea townhouse restaurant serves Indian food full of heart and tradition, offering authentic flavours in refined dishes alongside a wine list full of rare finds. There’s an ‘Expedition’ tasting menu for the adventurous and we also like the sound of lamb tandoori chops, soft shell crab, quail naan with truffle and a Christmas pudding samosa. One to watch.
10 Lincoln Street, Chelsea, SW3 2TS
DUM Biriyani House
Born in Hyderabad and raised in Manchester, Dhruv Mittal studied at Le Cordon Bleu before working in the kitchens of The Fat Duck, Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus and Restaurant Sat Bains. After travelling around and working in India, he launched ‘The Chaiwalla Supperclub’ at his home in London, which led to DUM Biryani House. In a Soho basement, the restaurant takes inspiration from the Telugu cuisine of south India, with the Hyderabadi biryani its main focus.
187 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 8ZB
Darjeeling Express started as a dinner for 12 guests at home. The Indian food, lovingly cooked from family recipes that go back generations, pays homage to founder Asma’s royal Mughlai ancestry and the busy streets of Kolkata, where she grew up. Guests are encouraged to share complementary platters in the style of a traditional ‘daawat’ feast. Menu highlights include goat kosha mangsho, a slow- cooked Benghali curry with the occasional potato; and mutton shikampuri kebab, which is spiced minced mutton cakes stuffed with yoghurt and mint.
Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, Soho, W1B 5PW
Dishoom has become a London institution among Indian food lovers. From King’s Cross to Covent Garden, each of its venues is always packed. Food is served street-style and designed to be shared: look forward to delicious plates of chilli cheese toast, gunpowder potatoes and succulent minced lamb kebabs, served alongside biryanis and fluffy handmade naans. Its breakfast dishes are also outstanding: as well as the famous double bacon naans, we like the Big Bombay, which mixes full pork sausages and smoked streaky bacon with masala beans and home-made buns.
Various locations in London
Gunpowder Tower Bridge
Having closed the much-missed Madame D and Gul & Sepoy, Harneet and Devina Baweja have focused their efforts on a follow-up to Gunpowder in Spitalfields. At this much larger and sleeker site, an open-plan space seats 100 across high-bar seating, shared tables and tables for two. The menu is more familiar: Keralan beef pepper fry, spicy venison and vermicelli doughnuts, and Kashmiri lamb chops are all there. Look out too for some new additions, particularly the peanut masala chaat with chopped onions and chillies, and the egg curry masala.
4 Duchess Walk, Tower Bridge, SE1 2SD
The newest outpost in the gourmet Indian restaurant group, Cinnamon Bazaar is a magical fusion of rustic Indian street food with a signature Cinnamon-style twist. Look forward to a heady mix of fragrant Asian flavours sprinkled with a hint of Middle Eastern charm, as in the Iranian chicken Haleem, and kabulia kefta with tomato makhani sauce. You’ll notice a different influence in the award-winning lamb rogan josh shepherd’s pie.
28 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7JS
With multi- award-winning outposts in New Delhi and New York, Indian Accent was big news when it opened in London a couple of years ago. Believe the hype: headed up by acclaimed chef Manish Mehrotra, this luxe Mayfair offering reinterprets nostalgic Indian dishes with a modern twist, drawing on cultural influences from all over the world. Devour bold, flavoursome dishes such as ghee roast lamb with roomali roti pancakes; or makhan malai, a medieval dish made with saffron-infused aerated milk. The kitchen also does a must-try spice-laced take on brunch.
16 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4HW
Another award-winning eatery (this one is the proud owner of a Bib Gourmand) from the Sethi family, who also own Trishna and Gymkhana. This is one of the finest Sri Lankan restaurants in the city, and very reasonably priced. Named for one of Sri Lanka’s popular dishes – egg-topped pancakes – Hoppers offers a drool-inducing menu that’s brimming with flavour. The restaurant is always buzzing and fiery flavours are guaranteed. A second location in St Christopher’s Place offers up the same sumptuous fare – book into one of its Sunday Sessions for the masala omelette and duck egg kari.
Locations in Soho and St Christopher’s Place
Swanky Mayfair haunt Jamavar won a Michelin star in 2017 for its regional Indian fare. Dishes are served as delicately spiced small plates. Look forward to the likes of malabar prawns (sautéed king prawns cooked in white turmeric, onions and curry leaves), kid goat shami kebab, served with black cardamom, mint chutney and chur chur paratha; and dum nalli biryani – a heady mix of Hampshire lamb with basmati rice, crispy onions and fresh mint.
8 Mount Street, Mayfair, W1K 2NF
Occupying a prime slice of real estate opposite Sloane Square’s Cadogan Hall, Kahani is the first solo venture from Peter Joseph, former head chef at Tamarind, where he won and retained a Michelin star for ten years. Dishes take an unusual turn – in the best way. Highlights include masala-grilled avocado, olives, caramelised onions and iceberg leaves; smoked malabar prawns with fresh turmeric, coconut and curry leaves; and Chawri Bazar savoury doughnuts with sweet yoghurt, mint and tamarind chutney. Don’t Joseph’s signature dish: a rare combination of Kahani butter chicken with a side of gruyere naan bread.
1 Wilbraham Place, Chelsea, SW1X 9AE
In Marylebone Village, Trishna delivers a contemporary taste of Indian coastal cuisine. An extensive wine list focuses on emerging regions, with fine wines from niche producers and boutique wineries from all over the world. The informal and pared-back aesthetic of the interiors, offset with antique mirrors, marble table tops and original wooden panelling, offers a sociable neighbourhood atmosphere. Come summer, terrace doors create an almost al fresco ambience. Part of the JKS Restaurants group, which includes Gymkhana, Hoppers and Brigadiers, Trishna’s menus offer the likes of tandoori mustard prawns with shrimp chutney, Bhatti Ka pheasant with keema kulcha and pickled berries, and Gongura lamb with picked sorrel leaves and Guntur teja chilli.
15-17 Blandford Street, Marylebone, W1U 3DG
Kricket Television Centre
Part of the BBC Television Centre redevelopment, Kricket is an expanse of glass from the outside. Within, strategic yet striking décor makes it an inviting spot for dinner. Dishes are designed for sharing: menu highlights include old favourites such as samphire pakoras with tamarind and chilli garlic; and Keralan fried chicken with curry leaf mayo and pickled mooli. There are new hits too: the kid goat leg raan (complete with pomegranate, goats’ curd and mint raita, and pink pickled onions) is sensational. Make sure to order a wholewheat roti to mop up the sauce.
Wood Crescent, Shepherd's Bush, W12 7SB
Teeming with modern Indian soul, this colourful Canary Wharf joint is inspired by toddy shops – south India’s roadside drinking dens – and serves up a mighty menu of Asian-spiced sharing plates. Choose between Indian tapas in the Toddy Shop or a selection of heartier mains in the traditional dining area of the restaurant. Be sure to try the tandoori butter chicken thighs with crispy spinach; and the Goan prawns served with chilli, rock samphire, cinnamon and tempered coconut rice.
Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5AR
Tandoor Chop House
Mixing the meatiest elements of a British chop house with the spices of Indian tandoor cooking, Tandoor Chop House specialises in hearty cuts of smoked, spiced meats in the coolest of industrial- style settings. Chomp down on bone marrow naans and chunks of smoky prime cut meats, slathered in aromatic Asian spices and served hot from the tandoor grill.
8 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, WC2N 4HZ
Newly opened at Westfield London in White City, this is the first UK venture for the Copper Club group, which runs 15 award- winning restaurants across five cities in India. The food is an exploration of north India using secret spice blends that have been passed down for three generations. This is fresh food cooked by expert Indian chefs, who have been trained to master the art of classic Indian culinary techniques. Menu highlights include cinnamon- scented, tender lamb chops marinated for over eight hours, and tandoor-grilled chicken flavoured with fresh mint and sprinkled with 15-spice kebab masala.
Unit 1028 – Southern Terrace, Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7GA
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