What? Lokhandwala is a large, desirable neighbourhood in Mumbai, home to a number of notable Bollywood stars, TV personalities and film producers. Though a little less residential (we can dream…), Fitzrovia’s Charlotte Street now has its own taste of Lokhandwala, in the form of “inventive, tapas-style Indian fare” in a rustically-glamorous setting.
On the Menu: Gone are the days that ‘tapas’ means only giant prawns, tomato-loaded bruschetta and cubes of marinated meat; London now houses tapas of almost every global cuisine. Indian is one of the most recent (and most unconventional) and Lokhandwala is where you will find it. All the punchy flavours of India will satisfy the traditional curry lover, but if it’s a bowl of Balti you’re after then you may want to go elsewhere. Here you’ll find lava-grilled prawns, Masala fish and chips and an unfamiliar take on Yorkshire pudding and lamb.
The Look: Sat at the far end of Charlotte Street, away from the foodie hub you may be thinking of, it wasn’t the inconspicuous sign that told me Lokhandwala was there. Nor was it Google Maps (although that got me most of the way). The atmosphere inside was genuinely so buzzy that although I couldn’t hear upbeat chatter, gossip and catching-up from the street, I could see flickering candles, laughter and a full house. Opening the door not only released the sounds, but also the smells; hunger-inducing aromas of spices and slow-cooked meat. Almost colonial in style, large chandeliers and distressed wallpaper could look try-hard, but the elements come together to create an inviting setting for some colourful and inventive dishes.