I’m always telling friends that chicken tikka masala is a British Indian dish. What? they stammer. But it’s true! Ask an Indian direct from India if he likes chicken tikka masala and he’ll say, “Masala is a sauce, but it is not eaten with chicken.” The first successful dish called chicken tikka masala comes from London. I’m only going through this explanation so that I can verbalize my credentials as an Indian-food foodie. Now, allow me to elaborate on some of my favorite restaurants in London where you might find chicken tikka masala, among other amazing Indian and contemporary Indian dishes.
What an appropriate name for a restaurant; although, I’ve heard it from several non-believing friends that Karma is too much like a bank. Can you believe it? Well, Karma the restaurant claims to “elevate taste buds to a spiritual level,” and after tasting their astounding Biryani, I can’t be one to denounce such a bold mission statement. Karma provides you with all the good Indian treats you might very well be deserving of, including some fantastic curries and delectable desserts.
Michelin agrees with my choice of Amaya as one of the best Indian restaurants in London. The catch is that you might only go there sparingly because of the price. Amaya is unique, though, and worth the visit. They don’t do the normal courses, but instead serve small portions of contemporary takes on traditional combinations. When you find Amaya in Belgravia, and once you find your coveted reserved seat, you’ll realize that the experience began the minute you walked through the doors. The place is immaculate and fine. The kitchen is an open grill format, and the wonderful smells abound. Expect dish after dish to arrive, and stay until you’re full or your wallet’s empty.
As a reflection of the country itself, Woodlands presents the traditional vegetarian cuisine of southern India in a lovely light. I love their crepes, which are fashioned out of lentils and rice, and in which they stuff a wonderful assortment of spiced vegetables and curry sauces. The kebabs are to die for. You can find Woodlands at three dedicated locations; Marylebone Lane, Piccadilly and Hampstead.
Brick Lane is also known as curry mile, and Londoners who love Indian food know it well. I have been to a number of restaurants along the mile, but I have a soft spot for Masala. I like the earthy tone of their interior design, and I feel grounded in my high leather chair, ready to be impressed. At Masala I can be sure to find the traditional dishes one should expect from an Indian restaurant. I love my chicken tikka masal. I also love their signature Roopchanda marinated queen fish dish.
credits to www.mytable.com
I have to say that the Indian restaurant that I most often visit is Hot Stuff. It’s a peculiar name for an Indian restaurant, but rest assured of its authenticity in the knowledge that Raj Dawood is the owner. I love the place because it’s small and tucked away in Lambeth, because the air is thick with the aromas of the subcontinent and because the food is not only so good as to have discernible ingredients, but also because it far outdoes its competition in pricing. I could eat their naan all my life.
London is quite lucky to have a significant Indian population, and so there are many other places that I’ve yet to visit. So you can be sure that this list will be updated in time.
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