We just came back from London and as always were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of amazing restaurants on offer. We checked out a few great ones including Barrafina, a Michelin starred tapas joint, Sumosan Twiga, NAC, Sexy Fish and Roka to name a few. After debating over what to write about after our trip out there, we decided to go with London’s South Asian food scene because it is seriously HOT right now. Of course London has tons of great spots where you can grab a curry or dosa, but these are the absolute best in the city that really go above and beyond your average Indian fare.
Newly opened just a few months back, Jamavar is brought to us by Dinesh Nair, who opened the original Jamavar in The Leela Palace in 2001. Jamavar London is his first overseas venture, and it’s already gaining accolades all around for the elegant decor, exquisite food and fine wines. The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Rohit Ghai, who puts out an amazing array of dishes from all over the Indian subcontinent. Try the Tellicherry Pepper & Garlic Soft Shell Crab with damson chutney and garlic chips, the Adraki Lamb Chops straight out of the authentic tandoori oven, or the Prawn Mappas with raw mango, mustard seeds and shallots.
Styled like the old-school Irani cafes of Bombay, Dishoom is a chic little spot with low lighting, lots of dark wood and framed vintage ads from Indian magazines lining the walls. On the menu you’ll find classic Bombay dishes like the Pau Bhaji, mashed vegetables served with a hot buttered bun, the Black House Daal stewed for over 24 hours, and their family recipe Chicken Tikka marinated in sweet vinegar instead of yoghurt and seasoned with turmeric, garlic, ginger juice and green chili. They also do fab breakfasts with homey dishes like the Bacon & Egg Naan Roll and Kejriwal, fried eggs on chilli cheese toast.
For those craving a taste of Sri Lanka, you can’t go wrong with Hoppers. This stylish no-reservations Soho eatery is run by the Sethi family, who have made a name for themselves with their wildly popular ventures Trishna and Gymkhana. Named after the savoury rice and coconut milk pancakes that are breakfast staples in Sri Lanka, this no-reservations joint serves up classic Sri Lankan cuisine like their Hot Buttered Devilled Shrimps, Fish Curry in a rich coconut-infused sauce, and their namesake Hoppers that come light, slightly soft and slightly crispy with vibrant chutneys and relishes served on the side.
Another popular Michelin-starred spot by the Sethi family, Gymkhana pays homage to India’s colonial gymkhana sports clubs with dark wooden panelling, rattan accents and black and white photos of chaps playing cricket and polo. From the bar you’ve got a great selection of signature cocktails inspired by colonial times like the Quinine Sour with gin, tonic, fresh curry leaf, ginger, lemon and egg white, and from the kitchen you can opt for indulgent Indian dishes like the Pork Cheek Vindaloo, Guinea Fowl Pepper Fry and the Lasooni Wild Tiger Prawns with red pepper chutney.
Michelin-starred Benares is the brainchild of chef Atul Kochhar, who draws on his Indian heritage to create regional Indian dishes with a modern twist. The decor here is sleek with lots of black granite, handcrafted Indian furniture and a beautiful water feature filled with fresh flowers. Just as enticing is the menu, which includes innovative dishes made with local ingredients like the Bhangra Koliwada with Cornish mackerel marinated in chilli, lime and ginger and served with a garlic and tomato raita, and the Duck Varuval, roasted Barbary duck breast with tamarind, sesame rice, spiced jus and pickled vegetable slaw.