Lokhandwala is not your average high street Indian restaurant. It’s feels like a chic French tea room but the slight smell of spices lingering in the air reminds you that it is not.
The original concept featured colonial inspired Indian tapas and but they have just launched a new menu. There are still some quirks like the rabbit kebab, stuffed paneer and Indian fish and chips.
The dining room looks like the drawing room of a period London town house, inspired by a bi-racial love story that shocked the Victorian society. Lady Charlotte fell in love with Vijay, the cad from Bombay. This was to be their home.
What does a colonial Indian menu look like? It is not cuisine from a particular part of India but instead it is a parade through some of the more well known and popular Indian dishes with their signature, English food with an Indian touch. Like the Masala fried cod, their take on fish and chips. Pieces of chunky cod in a lightly spiced and very crispy batter, a delight on the senses.
Very decorative Paneer stuffed with apricots was unexpected but quite a good surprise. I’ve not had stuffed paneer before and it works very well, especially with that coriander chilli dip.
The ubiquitous street food favourite, chaat, is on the menu with a mix of spinach leaves and cubes of potato. The tamarind sauce and yoghurt works with any combination of ingredients. Loved it.
Instead of the normal beef or lamb kebabs, they do a version of the Lucknow favorite with rabbit. It might have done with a mix of fattier meat as rabbit is such a lean meat but the spicing was on point and the dipping sauce added the spice layer.
For our vegetarian friends, they offer a South Indian favourite, steamed rice idli. Served with some very aromatic Tarka Dal on the side.
A decadent morel mushroom biryani accompanied the mains. A winning dish was the creamy Chicken Makhani. Lobster is not commonly found on an Indian menu but it’s one of the featured mains. Big white chunks of lobster meat, unadorned sitting on a pool of curry sauce, did not do the crustacea any justice. It could have been presented better if they served it in the shell. However, there were enough highlights in the other dishes like the Achari potatoes, a great side dish but beware as it is quite fiery.
If you are looking for a fun restaurant for date night, Lokhandwala would be a great choice. Delicious dishes, to share or not, a romantic dining room, lots of cocktails is a recipe for a fun night out.
93 Charlotte St,
London W1T 4PY