If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, then short of making a trip to the country itself, you’ll find few places better equipped to satisfy your cravings than London. The capital is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of Indian restaurants. Admittedly, not all of them are created equal, but with a little research, you’re guaranteed to find more than just a few zingers in the mix. Separate the wheat from the chaff with our lowdown of the 10 best Indian restaurants in London.
Where: 12 Denman Street, Soho, London
Located just a minute’s walk from Piccadilly Circus, Kricket is a little oasis of peace and tranquility in the heart of the buzzing city. Featuring an open kitchen, long sharing tables and counter seating, it’s the kind of warm, intimate space that immediately makes you feel welcome. The menu, meanwhile, is short but exceptionally sweet, offering a number of superb dishes that put a creative spin on traditional Indian flavors. Standouts include the Keralan Fried Chicken With Curry Leaf Mayonnaise And Pickled Mooli (a bargain at £8.50), and the Smoked Haddock Khichidi with Pickled Cauliflower and Confit Egg Yolk (eminently affordable at just £11).
9. Chai Ki
Where: Mall Level -1, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, London
With its creative, modern take on South Indian cuisine, Chai Ki is rapidly becoming one of Canary Wharf’s stand out restaurants. The menu is a veritable smorgasbord of authentic Indian flavors, with notable dishes including an excellent Dum Ka Gosht (slow-cooked Welsh lamb shoulder, saffron, Kashmiri & green chilli, mushroom spinach, ‘acha) and a truly divine Sabz Kofta (vegetable ‘kofta’, stuffed Romero pepper, kale, amaranth cress, sesame tamarind Kari). Just as appealing as the menu is the interior: with a charming rooftop terrace, a lively ambiance, and a décor that’s drawn on the famous toddy shops in South India for inspiration, it’s the kind of place you’ll want to linger long after the meal is finished.
Where: Mezzanine Floor, Victory House, 99 Regent Street, Mayfair, London
It may be the oldest Indian restaurant in London, but the superb Veeraswamy in Mayfair has lost none of its appeal with age. The stylish, Maharaja inspired décor competes for attention with a menu jam-packed with authentic North Indian dishes, with standouts including Smoked Chicken Tikka With Garam Masala & Mace And Tandoori Wild Tiger Prawns With Coriander, Mint & Chili.
7. Chai Thali
Where: Workshop, Centro 3, 19 Mandela Street, Camden, London
Offering affordable prices, impeccable service and a menu that elevates Indian street food to extraordinary new heights, Chai Thali is quickly earning a reputation as one of London’s must-visit dining venues. Just as exquisite as the food is the signature cocktails: the Mumbai Madness (a blend of vodka, Bacardi, gin, tequila, Cointreau, cinnamon syrup, garnished with a cinnamon stick & mint spring) is worth the visit alone.
Where: Bradway Quarter,1 Snowden Street, Shoreditch, London
Steering the ship at Darbaar is Abdul Yaseen, an award-winning chef who marries innovative styles with authentic flavors to perfection. Inspired by the banquets of the Indian Royal Court, the restaurant offers a intimate shared dining experience and a menu of extraordinary dishes such as Bombay Style Bhaji Paocarror (beans and cauliflower cooked with peppers, onion & tomatoes, cooked ob ab iron Tawa & served with soft 'pao buns') and Salli Hara Keema Pao (green spiced minced lamb and peas, semi-dried crisp potato straws and pao).
Where: Halkin Arcade, Motcomb Street, Knightsbridge, Belgravia, London
With its open kitchen setting and stunning décor, East London’s Amaya impresses even before you cast your eyes on its menu. Once you do, you’ll be even more delighted. Its sophisticated grilled Indian cuisine blends authentic flavors with contemporary treatments to stunning effect. Don’t miss such stand out dishes as Wild Venison Seekh Kebab and Grilled Duck Breast with Spiced Toasted Coconut.
4. Sagar Vegetarian
Where: 31 Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JS
If you want to enjoy a sublime meal in a chic but informal setting, you’ll not go far wrong with Sagar Vegetarian. Its exquisite range of South Indian vegetarian dishes will please even the most hard-core meat lover: the papadi chat, a mixed salad of lightly fried bread, potatoes, tangy sauce, and yogurt is living proof that vegetarian dishes don’t have to sacrifice flavor for worthiness.
Where: 7 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London
With charming vintage décor, gorgeous Bombay-style street food, an inviting ambiance, and faultless service, it’s little wonder Dishoom has become one of Shoreditch’s most popular restaurants. Thanks to its all-day menu, it’s also one of the few places in London where you can enjoy a traditional Indian breakfast. Prices are affordable, while the eco-conscious will be pleased to know all ingredients are sourced locally and responsibly.
Where: 49 Frith Street, Soho, London
Blending Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine to perfection, the delightful Hoppers is one of the brightest stars on the London restaurant scene. If you’d rather enjoy its exquisite range of dishes from the comfort of your own home, the convenient click and collect option lets you do so easily – that said, you’ll be missing a trick. With a warm ambiance, beautiful décor, and incredible service, booking a table is strongly recommended.
Where: 42 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London
For the best Indian and Pakistani food you’ll experience this side of the sub-continent, head to Gymkhana. Head chef Karam Sethi has created a restaurant that delivers classic and contemporary Michelin starred Indian cuisine in a truly inviting setting. Its lower ground floor bar, meanwhile, is the perfect place to try a classic Indian punch or spice infused cocktail. If you’ve got £85 to spare, opt for the 7-course tasting menu; with dishes like Kasoori Chicken Tikka, Lentil Sprouts & Kasundi Kachumber; Cassava, Lentil & Sabudana Papads, Shrimp & Mango Chutneys; and Saffron Pistachio Kulfi Falooda, it’s an expense you’ll have no cause to regret.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson