Eating Indian In London

Apr 18th, 2005, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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GAWD yer makin me hungry! Wish there were good Indian restaurants here in Sicily (I don't know of any!)
mousireid is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 01:44 PM
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We found that the average Indian restaurant meal in London was no better or worse than the average Indian restaurant meal we can get at home. We also live near an area with a large Indian population so understand where you're coming from. We didn't try any of the more expensive Indian restaurants in London though.
Patty is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 07:29 PM
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We get excellent Indian food where we live too (and I've had some not so excellent Indian food in India, but that's another story) and we were very impressed with Mela at 152-156 Shaftesbury Ave. near the Leicester Square tube. The food was different than any we've had here and was excellent and not outrageously priced (not cheap either, but well worth it.)

It got rave reviews on, which is where I found it.
artlover is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 12:17 AM
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It's disgraceful bigotry - as well as downright ignorant from a culinary point of view - to imply that Indian food isn't worth spending £50 on.

Do you really live somewhere so deprived of proper restaurants that there aren't "French" restaurants charging £50? And whether they're "worth" that, when it's possible to live on a tub of rehydrated Pot Noodles you bought for 50p, is something only you can decide. Personally I'd pay £50 to avoid eating some of the junk people poison themselves with to save money. But it's a personal choice.

Cinnamon Club is a posh restaurant. It charges the same prices as other posh restaurants. And in this city, no-one is so insular - or racist - as to question the rights of Indians to charge the same as Italians, Japanese or anyone else.

If you don't spend that sort of money, then eat at other sorts of South Asian restaurants. There are actually few decent such places in central London, which is as stuffed as a keema naan with mediocre places churning out virulently coloured stews to the undiscriminating - and that's why some people are unimpressed with London's South Asian restaurants. I'd definitely put Khan's and Mela into this group: enjoyable places for an unambitious, raucous meal with friends -but 0/10 in the decent food stakes.

Offhand, I can't think of a single place in Brick Lane that serves decent food (though some sensible people speak well of the self-serve Sweet & Spicy).

The best food is in the suburban South Asian enclaves, like Southall (Punjabi, but originally East African Hindus and Muslims), Wembley (the subcontinent generally) and Tooting (South Indian, Tamil, Sri Lankan), Buying and careful reading of the Time Out Eating and Drinking Guide gives you a host of unusual cuisines from what is, after all, by many million light years the world's most diverse and complex cuisine. If you're interested in Indian food, nowhere on earth (not even Bombay or Delhi) offers such a range of the region's eating styles, or such high-quality cooks and ingredients. But, unless you investigate carefuly (and, to be frank, ignore most of the ill-informed nonsense that finds its way onto this board about London's South Asian restaurants) you'll eat junk as tasteless (and overspiced) as the worst Tex-Mex chain in Peoria.

In Central London, if you don't want to spend a lot of money, Chowki in Denman St W1 is simply outstanding. It ranges over the regional cuisines, with spectacular value set meals. Masala Zone is enjoyable, bustling, nouvelle Indian fast food. Sekara (Lower Grosvenor Place, Victoria) has interesting Sri Lankan food if you're a hopper addict. And the Indian YMCA in Fitzroy Square is always reliable.

Personally, I've found Cafe Spice Namaste dull and generally tasteless - though that might be because I've eaten too many of their promotional meals. Some guides have spoken well of their proper a la carte, which does actually look interesting.

But get a proper guide book (and that really does mean Time Out) and start trawling the suburbs to understand why our South Asian restaurants really are as important a part of making this the world's greatest city as our museums, our pubs, our over-rated theatre, our music and our streetscapes.
flanneruk is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 01:51 AM
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Bravo, Flanner!!
Tallulah is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 02:44 AM
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"It's disgraceful bigotry - as well as downright ignorant from a culinary point of view - to imply that Indian food isn't worth spending £50 on."

There was nothing "disgracefully bigoted" about Imhornet's post--he merely asked if London's Indian cuisine is worth being THREE TIMES as expensive as what he spends at home for VERY GOOD Indian cuisine. Who knows? Maybe there happens to be a fantastic but inexpensive Indian restaurant in hornet's home town. If he can eat extremely well in his hometown for $35, why shouldn't he say he can't imagine spending three times as much for food that wouldn't be three times better? I don't see anything "disgracefully bigoted" about that post.
We've tried a few Indian restaurants here that came highly recommended (not CC, though) from locals. They were good, but not worth raving over and no better than some of the Indian restaurants we've eaten at in the U.S. They were, however, much more expensive (if you translated the ££ bill back into $$, which simply isn't a good idea these days). So I have some sympathy for imhornet's views. And I'm not a bigot for saying so.
BTilke is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 03:11 AM
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I think it's worth mentioning that in general, restaurants in Britain are much more expensive than restaurants in the US - maybe Imhornet (wherever he lives) doesn't realise that ?
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 03:11 AM
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Living in outer West London, I have to agree that the restaurants in Southall are generally better than in central London; that said, the best (in my opinion) Indian restaurant in West London is the Royal Club, on Ruislip Road, Greenford (only a short bus ride for Southall) which is far and away better than most of Southall. take the District or Central Line tube to Ealing Broadway, then an E7 or E9 bus, both of which stop right outside the Royal Club.
If you don't enjoy it, I'll pay for it!
doonhamer is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 04:49 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Southall as great and lively as it is...mainly one street with many restaurants, bakeries,clothing stores along a bit of a chore to get to. The biggest challenge is once you get off the train station there are no cabs to take you to the main shopping/eating area (forget the street name) and only once have we caught a bus down - we usually hoof it and if you're not able to walk or are with small children it can be long for them.
On a good note - once you're ready to leave you can call a local car and they can drive you back into the city (or the train station) for cheap.
4totravel is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 05:08 AM
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if we put all the political correct nonsense aside, most londoners would never imagine spending £50 for a curry either.

the reality is that curry houses have a certain reputation that typically involves a cheap meal often as a start to a night of drinking.

I am NOT saying that indian cuisine can not be considered on the same level as French, Italian, etc...just commenting on the place that indian cuisine holds with most people in the UK.

if it's racist bigotry to equate a curry with a night out on the cheap then about 95% of UK is racist. furthermore, here it is generally equated often not only with cheap but also with a hard drinking "lads night out". also, it's not uncommon for people to bring their own bottle even when wine/beer is sold at the curry house. Most would never dream of doing this in a french or italian restaurant. this might be tacky but is it bigotry???

having also lived in the US, I can assure you that stylish, upscale indian places are generally more accepted than in the UK.

i had a good laugh at flanner's pious view.
walkinaround is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 03:03 PM
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My favorite Indian restaurant in London is The Red Fort on Dean Street in SoHo. Excellent!
Gekko is offline  
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