We’re all used to ringing in the weekend with a slap-up Indian takeaway, it’s a time-honoured tradition and a fine celebration of a national dish. But Indian chefs are increasingly setting out to change perceptions and prove that Indian cuisine fits just as easily into the fine-dining bracket as it does into the casual takeaway. The last year has seen a slew of openings, adding to an already crowded field of established Indian fine dining establishments in the capital. Here are some of our favourites.
New Kid on the Block
Known in India for their smart hotels and restaurants, this will be the group’s first overseas venture, and they’ve chosen Battersea as ground zero for their international expansion. Expect to experience Rajhastan in more than just taste, the restaurant showcases the variety and grandeur of the Sub Continent, not least with the two-ton, 14 foot, life-size bronze elephant, the work of Vivek K Agrawal, that dominates the restaurant. It will be joined by a marble depiction of harem life by artist Arjun Prajapati and a stunning combo of interior design and one-off art works. The menu is the work of Vishnu Natarajan, formally Executive Head Chef at Carom in Soho, who is joined by Bhagwan Singh, from Cinnamon Culture and Mint Leaf, Mohammed Naseem Qureshi, from Bombay Bustle and pastry chef Rakesh Sharma, who joins from Mint Leaf via Chutney Mary.
Where: 2 Riverlight Quay, Nine Elms Lane, SW11 8AW
Over 90 years young
The most venerable Indian restaurant away from the Sub Continent, Veeraswamy was here before everyone else. Founded in 1926, this Indian restaurant is approaching it’s 100th birthday (in fact it shares its birthday with The Queen) and it’s a longevity that’s well deserved. The location (overlooking Regents Street) and the sumptuous interiors are not what have earned Veeraswamy its Michelin Star, though, and the 90+ years they’ve had to perfect the menu really has paid off.
Where: Mezzanine Floor, Victory House, 99 Regent Street, W1B 4RS
Dark and alluring
Dark and alluring, Benares doesn’t fall into the trope of many British Indian restaurants that hark back The Raj, but instead presents a modern and bold picture of India. The restaurant is uncompromisingly luxurious, with dark recesses and corners filled with an eclectic but cosmopolitan clientele. The Michelin Star is a given, what the contemporary yet authentic menu.
Where: 12a Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6BS
Nearest station: Green Park (0.3 miles)
This former Victorian library is the perfect location for an Indian restaurant that’s both contemporary yet rooted in the very fabric of the Westminster village. Occupying the old Westminster Library The Cinnamon Club has been Chef Vivek Singh’s project for the past two decades, recently reopening after a million pound refurb. And it’s looking, and tasting, better than ever!
Where: The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith Street, Westminster, SW1P 3BU
Opulence surroundings and food
Tamarind of Mayfair was one of the first Indian restaurants worldwide to be honoured with a Michelin Star, and it’s pretty obvious why. Surrounded by gold opulence, the food provides a fine dining experience not to miss.
Where: 20 Queen St, Mayfair, W1J 5PR
Visit the Viceroy
Opened in just 2017, Jamavar already feels like part of the London furniture. The Mayfair Indian restaurant has taken a shoot from The Leela Palace Bengaluru, and planted it in the centre of London to fantastic effect. Under Culinary Director Surender Mohan the food is excellent, while the interior takes its style lead from the Viceroy’s house of New Delhi.
Where: 8 Mount Street, Mayfair, W1K 3NF
High society hangout
Awarded a Michelin Star in 2014 Gymkhana is inspired by Indian gymkhana clubs, the traditional high-society hangouts. But it’s not just the styling that’s suitable for high society, the remarkable food has won plaudits for its contemporary Indian cuisine.
Where: 42 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4JH
South West Indian food and seafood are the order-of-the-day at Quilon, the Michelin Star restaurant set within the Taj Hotel. Expect fish like you’ve never tasted it, cooked to Kerelan perfection under the ever-watchful gaze of Chef Sriram.
Where: 41 Buckingham Gate, Westminster, SW1E 6AF
Knightsbridge surf and turf
Knightsbridge plays host to Amaya, the Michelin Starred restaurant serving Indian food with just a hint of The Orient to boot. As well as the widest grill selection of surf and turf in the country, Amaya’s three core Indian grilling styles (Tandoor, Sigri and Tawa) leave you wanting more.
Where: Halkin Arcade, Motcomb Street, Knightsbridge, SW1X 8JT
London Bridge beauty
Baluchi occupies the historic Grade II listed former St Olave’s Grammar School’s Assembly Hall and it certainly gives a schooling in decent pan-Indian cooking. Set in the upmarket surroundings of The LaLiT London, this is Indian fine dining at its finest.
Where: 181 Tooley Street, London Bridge, SE12JR
Indian Accent sits on Mayfair’s Albemarle Street seemingly quiet and unassuming, but packs a massive punch. The tasting menu is incredible, the wines are excellent and expertly chosen and the dark, alluring decor make this one of the best Indian restaurants going.
Where: 16 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4HW
In the hunt for Posh Indian Ground Zero, Trishna may well be in the running. Opening in 2008, so a venerable old lag of a restaurant scene that can be incredibly fickle and shortlived, Trishna has kept hold of a Michelin star since 2012. The restaurant was founded by brothers Karam and Jyotin Sethi, the restaurant specialises in “coastal cooking”, directly inspired by Bombay sister restaurant, (also called) Trishna and over the past decade has become something of an institution of Marylebone village.
Where: 15-17 Blandford Street, Marylebone, W1U 3DG