So – where are the best Indian restaurants in London located? The answer is “everywhere”. You’re just as likely to find a great Indian restaurant in a back street in Streatham as you are in Covent Garden. In fact, you’re more likely, given that Covent Garden is a tourist trap filled with mediocre restaurants serving unimaginative food at extraordinary prices.
This is not true of every place in Covent Garden, mind. In terms of Indian food, Masala Zone continues to impress with its range of authentic meals and affordable prices. You’ll also find Veeraswamy just round the corner, near to Piccadilly Circus (it’s on the little road that cuts off RegentStreet on the right, as you’re going down towards Eros, just before you get to the junction). Veeraswamy provides high end Indian restaurant food, which differs from the Masala Zone dining model in that the restaurant provides the finest of dining experience in elegant surroundings.
Moving away from the centre, there are some names you can’t fail to mention – though some may have presentation methods that are more to one taste than another. Chutney Mary gets a mention in any list of good Indian restaurant options, though its price tag makes it one for locals only (it’s near to Chelsea Football Club) or wealthy patrons from other parts of town.
The Port des Indes is a high scorer, too – and here you can sometimes combine a more affordable meal with the lush surroundings this restaurant offers. Indeed, in terms of interior design you would be hard pressed to find a more memorable restaurant, no matter what cuisine you were looking for. Open and airy inside (despite looking quite a lot like a pub from the outside), the Port des Indes occupies three floors and an atrium, through which huge palm trees grow and around which the diners sit. Its Sunday brunch is affordable to most – its regular menu less so.
Jashan, in Turnpike Lane, represents the best of the “traditional” style restaurants: in terms of food and décor. Unlike the excellent Masala Zone (a group of brasserie restaurants decorated in seriously funky up-to-the-minute Indian pop art, or kitschy folk art), Jashan relies on the British concept of curry house decoration: low lights, flocked wallpaper and a little bar in the corner. Where it differs from the curry house norm is in its food, which the manager once told this writer begins preparation at 7a.m. for the evening rush. Expect out-of-this-world jalfiazi and a gulabjamun to die for.
There’s another Indian restaurant in North London worthy of a mention, and that’s the humble Curry Leaf on West Green Road. It looks like someone’s front room got turned into a plastic café: and it serves food fit for a Maharajah.
Olivia is a freelance writer based in Denbighshire. She is a big fan of dining out and Indian restaurants having experienced some of the best Indian restaurant in London personally. She enjoys spending time out in the garden and going to the cinema with her partner in her spare time.