What: Progressive Indian restaurant, Vineet Bhatia London (VBL), aims to take diners on a culinary exploration of India.
New? Vineet Bhatia London opened in November 2016 just off Kings Road.
Where? 10 Lincoln Street, Chelsea, SW3 2TS www.vineetbhatia.london
On the Menu: VBL is the first Indian restaurant to eschew the traditional A la Carte offering, serving only their signature 11 course Experience Menu which also comes as a vegetarian option. Traditional Indian flavours are blended with European ingredients to create unique dishes from Vineet’s imagination.
First Impressions: Set in a restored Georgian townhouse, only a small hanging sign singles out the restaurant from the other terraced houses. You have to ring the doorbell to gain access as though you were at someone’s home, which adds a touch of exclusivity.
The Look: The 32-seat restaurant offers an intimate dining experience given its layout, the front room seats a mere 12 while the back room hosts the other 20. Private dining is also available upstairs.
What We Ate: The opening dish was smoked prawn/broccoli chaat (depending if you went with the vegetarian menu or not) which was confined in a clear pot until the waiter opens it with a flourish, releasing the smoke. Off to an impressive start the flavours don’t fail to match to the fanfare that went with it. The lime soup tastes more like Thai red curry but no complaints about that, while the duck korma was divine and nothing like a curry you may be imagining. The cauliflower quinoa was presented like a mini magnum complete with wooden stick but I found the crunch of the toasted quinoa a little off-putting. The beet momo is a savoury dumpling filled with delicious Indian flavours, probably the most authentic Indian flavours tasted all night, next to it is a sweet biscuit, very similar to a macaron shell, topped with pineapple chutney.
Two courses of sweets see a chocolate crisp nest filled with a gulab jamun, decorated with a white chocolate feather and egg shaped almond while the final course is a simple display of tiny sweet bites including a mini chocolate samosa, chai fudge bites and almond shards.
What We Drank: The sommelier quickly introduced himself to us upon arrival to help us with our choice, if you have special requests or question this is the route for you. If not the set menu has been pre-prepared so comes with wine suggested for every dish. Cocktail fans can knock back the likes of a pear martini.
Go With: Fans of traditional Indian cuisine will see it turned on its head at VBL, all the more reason to take them.
Final Word: The food here is very visual as well as exciting for your taste buds; it’s a totally stimulating experience where traditional flavours are turned on their head to reflect Vineet’s global travels which have been incorporated into the menu. This is like no Indian restaurant you’ve ever been to before.