We've scoured the streets of London to find the top spots for curry lovers, where the chefs don't just overload dishes with spice, but focus on all-rounded flavour instead.
There are plenty of Indian restaurants claiming to have the best bhuna in town – but why run the risk of a ropey rogan josh?
To warm the cockles this March, City Matters has eaten out at some of the best restaurants in the Square Mile to create a comprehensive guide to dining out Indian-style.
We’ve uncovered the best high-end curry houses perfect for entertaining business clients, as well as more rough and ready iterations which will have you combating spice and chilli with bottle after bottle of Tiger.
Dishoom is a favourite with many a Londoner. The interior has been designed to look like a glammed up old Irani café in Bombay; meeting places for people of all backgrounds who shared a love for food and drink. Dishes are designed to be shared among a larger group of people, although couples can certainly make do here. Expect bold and well-rounded flavours at Dishoom; it won’t be all spice and no substance. But, sadly, they rarely take bookings and there can be a long line out the door to get a seat. But the hosts are kind enough to offer some of their famous chai lattes to patient queuers for free.
This newly-renovated traditional Indian restaurant is a hidden gem, located right by Fleet Street. Here, local delicacies from regions all over India are brought together under one roof. Tuck into giant garlic prawns baked in the tandoori oven, sizzling lamb shanks grilled to order, or one of their long list of rich curries. India India is especially good for events, putting together large platters of all their best bits alongside buckets of beer and two for one cocktails before 9pm.
8 Crane Court EC4A 2EJ
Of the eight new restaurants to open in the shiny new Bloomberg Arcade development last year, this was the big one. Brigadiers, the Indian barbecue mess hall-cum-opulent sports bar, is the latest in what seems like a never-ending list of high-profile openings for London’s restaurant royalty the Sethi siblings (Hoppers, Gymkhana, Bubbledogs). And, since opening, Brigadiers has done nothing but impress. Expect a bustling party atmosphere, quirks like the whiskey vending machine, and an in-house shoe shine alongside top notch nosh. This one’s that extra bit special.
1-5 Bloomberg Arcade EC4N 8AR
Hidden up a flight of stairs off the Strand, India Club is part of London’s culturally diverse history. It was originally set up by the India League, as a symbol of post-independence friendship between India and the UK. In the post-independence era, it quickly became a platform for India League activities and a meeting place for various Indo-British groups. Now, the space is lined with portraits of the independence era on the walls, bottle-green leather chairs, red lino flooring and wooden laminate table tops. It’s a first generation British curry house serving up authentic home-cooked South Indian cuisine within a cross-cultural landmark.
143 Strand WC2R 1JA
The team at Gunpowder humbly describe themselves as a simple home-style Indian restaurant – hugely different to all the curry houses on Brick Lane whose large banners proclaim that they serve the very best curries in London. This lack of self-adulation is refreshing, even though they do deserve high praise for their impressive dishes. Here the focus is on fresh ingredients and complex flavour pairings which won’t leave your pallet overwhelmed. Any true curry lover should have already dined out at Gunpowder by now. Shame on you if you haven’t.
11 White’s Row E1 7NF & 4 Duchess Walk SE1 2SD
Cinnamon Kitchen is the perfect curry destination for the Square Mile’s army of suits. Executive chef Vivek Singh has created an impressive menu which manages to tone down spice and flavour for the City crowd without making the offerings bland or one dimensional. Dishes are creative and ever changing while Devonshire Square’s large outdoor (but still covered) terrace is a huge drawcard of its own. You can get the Square’s lively atmosphere while dining on some delectable dhal and dosas.
9 Devonshire Square EC2M 4YL