The Handbook Meets Mint Leaf’s Head Chef

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Emily Gray by | Posted on 28th June 2017
The Handbook Meets Mint Leaf’s Head Chef

Having recently launched their Sunday bottomless brunch and a firm favourite when it comes to Indian restaurants in London, we caught up with Mint Leaf Haymarket’s head chef Rajinder Pandey. Part of the original team who opened Mint Leaf back in Haymarket back in 2003, Rajinder has returned to the team after travelling throughout India. We caught up with him to discuss how Indian cuisine has evolved and his tips for success.

What did you learn on your travels that you have now brought back to Mint Leaf?
That authenticity is key. Individual regional cuisines and street food are such important aspects of Indian dining and its important these concepts are translated through to our representations of those dishes at Mint Leaf.  We want to offer a genuine Indian dining experience.

We’re at Mint Leaf, what should we order?
Our grilled platters are a must – for the shellfish lovers try Lahsuni Jheenga – wild tiger prawn, lime and roast garlic, pickled cucumber and red pepper chutney. I’d also highly recommend you don’t leave before trying our Tandoori Broccoli!

What do you predict for Mint Leaf for 2017?
We are focused on authenticity and regional cuisines specifically Punjab and Awadhi. Sharing platters and small plates allow our guests a dining journey.

How was Indian cooking evolved since you started working in London?
I’ve been in London so long I have seen the trend come full circle! Being true to its roots, Indian restaurants in London emerged offering genuine dishes taken straight from home. Then we saw the emergence of fusion – with a European twist – traditional dishes being taken as inspiration. Now we see Indian cuisine in London being stripped back again with diners wanting a genuine experience of regional dishes.

Do you have a motto that you cook by?
Not necessarily a motto but our dishes must be authentic, seasonal, look great on the plate and obviously taste great!

We can’t cook but are hosting a dinner party, what do you suggest we cook?
A chicken tikka is pretty fail safe – or go for a grill.

What would we find in your fridge?
I have two children at home so like many homes they often command what’s inside more than I do! We cook a lot of vegetable dishes at home and chicken supreme is a sure fire hit.

Where do you like to eat in London?
Dishoom is a hit with all the family.

What’s your favourite food trend?
I’m a great fan of the grill/ BBQ – as you’ll be able to tell from the Mint Leaf menus.

And any that you’re glad have been forgotten?
Modernisation of Indian cuisine.  Everything must evolve for sure but some things are better with age.

What’s your secret tip for success?
Hard work! There’s no getting away from it!

Mint Leaf are currently offering 50% off their Sunday Bottomless Brunch – for more details click here

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