London, one of the food capitals of the world and one of the best places to eat Indian food outside India. There is an abundance of budget-friendly options and neighbourhood friendly eateries, but our travel editor shines a light on London's contemporary fine-dining options and shares his favourite restaurants to eat Indian food.
Even for the initiated, the seasoned lovers of Indian food, even aficionados, a trip to London seems to open a new category: high-end Indian cuisine in a luxurious, even swank atmosphere replete with lacquered wood, ample cocktail menus with fresh ingredients, complementing perfectly executed mainstays and creative fusion offerings. To be sure, there is fine, high-end Indian dining the world over, but doesn’t quite reach the heights of the offering in this financial and cultural capital.
By this point, it’s probably safe to assume that you’ve made your way through London’s excellent Indian offering of the more traditional variety, including a few meals at Brick Lane, a stop for a drink at Dishoom Shoreditch, and any other number of amazing offerings. This responsibly sets a high standard, and lays the groundwork to make a foray into high-end dining.
Brigadiers (1-5 Bloomberg Arcade) seems like an extension of the lobby of the nearby Ned Hotel, and is a place to wander after meeting friends for a happy hour cocktail. Sitting at a plush leather booth with a sturdy table, panelled wood all around, cocktail menu in hand - it is an opportunity to feel like an actual Brigadier, or for those senior members of the British Army ranked below above a Colonel but below a Major General, a chance to feel more like a Brigadier, should more mundane professional responsibilities get in the way.
Crispy samosas, tandoor-roasted lamb, prawn biriyani, hot garlic naan - venturing farther afield from favourites was difficult, fearing the opportunity cost of not enjoying perfectly executed classics in these surroundings. A follow-up visit will be necessary.
Even farther upmarket is Jamavar (8 Mount St), a Michelin-starred offering in Mayfair with a multi-course tasting menu, featuring inspired fusion entries with optional wine pairings. Who wouldn’t like a black pepper spiced lobster, served with rice and lentil cakes, a vegetable stew, and paired with a nice French wine from Alsace? Come hungry, because it is an astounding amount of food, and the Mayfair price tag will take a meaningful bite out of your food budget, unless you are expensing the meal for business travel (remember that?) or are there in support of the Premier League team you own. Skipping breakfast and dinner and pretending like you ate three more reasonably-priced meals that day is a viable option.
The above barely scratches the surface...what is next, perhaps Gymkhana (42 Albemarle St)? As rabbit holes go, this one is especially luxurious and delicious.