1947 London, is an elegant Indian restaurant tucked away on a side street in Fitzrovia. The address says Charlotte Street but the location is around the corner, follow the two flaming torches by the door.
The copper stairs down leads you to a reception area that is dominated by the wall of hand crafted roses by paper artist Karen Navalta. It’s so stunning that we had to take a minute to take photos of this piece of art.
The subterranean room is open into a large, rather opulent dining room. With circular booths, banquette seats, velvet accents, carved art on the pillars and a brightly lit open kitchen.
On the right, a split level space houses the cocktail bar. A slight design fault as you have to walk all the way through the dining room and around a corner to get there. Not great for the diners nor the bar customers.
Why is it called 1947?
For those of us that are not familiar with the history of the Raj and the South Asian continent, 1947 is the year that the British left and partition of British India happened. This led to the creation of two independant states Pakistan and India and divided two states, Punjab and Bengal.
Here at 1947 London, they have designed a menu with recipes that evolved out of the movement of peoples and cultures during the 1947 Partition. Head Chef Krishnapal Negi was a protégé of Vineet Bhatia, the man to get the first Michelin star for an Indian restaurant in the UK. The chef used to run Tangawazi in Richmond, who once turned away George Clooney.
Instead of starters they have “nano plates and small plates with dishes like crispy baby squid which was just a perfect kick start to the meal.
We were rather restrained that night but there is a small selection of wines by the glass.
Thankfully I am dining with a friend who is there for the food first and social media second. As with most Asian restaurants, it’s all shades of beige and not the best for the gram. But we have never been swayed to order by aesthetics, rather, we are guided by our appetities.
The mains are called sharing bowls. Makes sense if you order Asian style. Yes, they have butter chicken. I guess if they don’t the crowds will squeel as we saw at another Indian restaurant. Curiously, here they serve in a cup. This is not your regular flock wall paper sweet butter chicken. Their version is a complex creamy buttery tomato sauce, balanced spicing with a hint of fenugreek and succulent pieces of chicken.
The star dish was their Dum Biriyani. Made in individual portion sizes, cooked with a puff pastry lid which is theatrically opened at the table. You get hit with the aroma of saffron and cardamon as the steam rises.
The taste of the flavoured rice with tender pieces of lamb is just sublime. Adding a bit of raita to the rice just balanced out the flavours and heat. I really, really love Biriyani and since my dining companion was eating very low carb, I had most of it for myself.
Daal Makhani. That dark, unctuous northern Indian black lentils is a perrenial favourite. Glad to see that it is on a lot more menus in London today. 1947’s Dal Makhani is rich and delicious, finished with butter and cream, perfect for mopping up with some garlic naan.
There isn’t a big choice of vegetables. Our plate of asparagus and sugar snaps with fresh coconut sounded more interesting than the dish. It seems rather like an afterthought which doesn’t fit the rest of the menu.
For pudding, our Bangladeshi waiter highly recommended the rice pudding. This pistachio phirni rice pudding dish was not what we expected. It was so much, much better. Made by oiling milk and sugar together with a choice of flavouring. It has a consistency more like a mousse and delicately flavoured with pistachio flavour.
There are not many other Indian desserts on offer so we had the lemon cheesecake. It would be great to see them add more unusual desserts to the menu and introduce us to some new Indian desserts.
1947 London might get overlooked by the passing traffic, being away from the main stretch of Charlotte Street. But don’t ignore it. For fab food, in a gorgeous setting at very reasonable prices, they have all the right ingredients.
33 Charlotte St,
London W1T 1RR
Tel: 020 7693 6290
EatCookExplore was a guest of 1947 London