Looking for an Indian restaurant in London that isn’t your average curry house? From regional Indian street food at Masala Zone to popular traditional Bombay cafe empire Dishoom. Here are the top best 7 Indian restaurants in London…
Inspired by the all-day Irani cafés that were an integral part of Bombay life, there are now four branches of Dishoom in London (and another in Edinburgh), each serving Bombay breakfast, lunch, afternoon chai and dinner.
There are no reservations taken at this tiny East London restaurant but if it’s packed, staff will text you when a table becomes available. The reason for its popularity are dishes like spicy venison and vermicelli doughnut, and wild rabbit pulao.
‘Half plates and full drinks’ – that’s the tagline at this cool Shaftesbury Avenue favourite, which is as popular for Indian-style cocktails such as the Bengal mojito as dishes like the desi slider and truffle ghee kulcha.
Named after the lacy, bowl-shaped pancakes that are a staple of Sri Lanka, Hoppers has quickly established itself as one of London’s hippest hangouts. As well as hoppers, the dosas are excellent, as are the starters, cocktails, mutton rolls and chicken lollipop chukkas (ie. everything is great).
Contemporary and cool, Kricket specialises in Indian small plates using local vegetables and fish and meat sourced within the British Isles. Expect to queue at these no-reservations restaurants but dishes like samphire pakoras and Keralan fried chicken are more than worth the wait.
Excellent regional Indian street food – thalis, grills, curries and biryanis – explains the success of Masala Zone, which now has seven restaurants dotted around the capital. Best-sellers include spicy squid bhaji and the ghee roast duck.
One of the latest restaurants to grace London’s Wardour Street is DUM, a biryanihouse opened by Dhruv Mittal (formerly of The Fat Duck and Hibiscus). It’s predominantly Telugu cuisine, from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in southern India, where red chillies and rice are abundant. Hence the focus on biryani, which is served Hyderabadi style: aromatic ingredients are put in a large sealed pot, and kept on ‘dum’ – steamed on a low heat – for hours until the rice and meat are tender.
Starters, or small plates, on the menu include kodi veppudu (chicken wings in a spicy, sour masala); gurda kapura (dry masala lamb kidneys) – which is a roadside ‘dhaba’ classic usually eaten after work; and andhra fried shrimp with coconut and chilli, all at around the £5 mark. There’s one dessert, currently rabdi, an Indian milk pudding, and a cocktail list that includes delights such as the Gande Sapne – cardamom, sesame seeds, vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso.