Before I delve deeper in the subject of Indian restaurants in London and which one is the best Indian restaurant in London I would like to disappoint you with the statement that there is no such thing as a Best Indian restaurant in London let alone the best Indian restaurant in London.
Most of the reviews you read in the print media or online are written by non-Indians and they have no idea what an Indian food is.
Before I go further into my own experience with Indian restaurants in London I would like to reveal few facts about Indian restaurants in London.
This post contains some strong language but should not be considered to be derogatory in any means at all.
I’m not being sarcastic but providing real facts as observed by a real Indian ;)
Having presented the true facts about Indian restaurants above I will provide reviews on some of the Indian restaurants which I’ve been to or know about them from words of mouth.
First of all if you are new to London and looking for Indian restaurant then the best way to find them would be to ask any of your British colleagues who are into Indian food. They know better than most Indians do. And the reason behind this is that most Indian eat at home as they know food in Indian restaurants are rubbish.
I was always cynical about Indian restaurants so never dared to ventured into one without getting a good review first. Once I asked a colleague about good Indian restaurants in London and he produced a list and that is how I came to know these the so called best Indian restaurants in London.
In the top of his list was Khans of bayswater.
Khans of Bayswater – I don’t know much about them but one thing is for sure that it is not run/owned by Indians. This restaurant boasts to be the one of the oldest and best Indian restaurants in the London.
After my colleague’s recommendation I tired this restaurant few years back and have been there couple of more times.
The first impression, and as I had prepared myself, was typical Indian. Chaos, crowd, noise, confusion etc etc. If I write more then you will probably think I’m just being extreme. Overall typical Indian style restaurant.
Most of customers here are tourists, mainly French, Italians, Spanish and Arabs. I hardly find any Indian face among them.
And as I wrote above service was rubbish, waiters were Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afghani and they always used filthy language to communicate. Filthy w.r.t London’s tradition but a very typical way to communicate in Indian sub continent. Also overheard them swearing and making lewd comments on female customers.
Swearing is a very common in North India and Indian subcontinent and we sear so much that almost 90% of spoken words in day to day conversation are swearing words. We start conversation with swearing and end with swearing words.
But hearing it in a London restaurant is little bit awkward as most of Indians get polished by British politeness within few years of living here.
Food was ok and the best I ever had in any Indian restaurants in London. Spices used were not so authentic and I found traces of yellow powder in the Pulao. Price wise it was not the cheapest but I would say you can’t get anything better.
I always take chicken kebab, dal, Pulao, Naan and, to keep the heat down, Lassi. Lassi was very good and kept the mood good with sweet taste. My favorite is Mango lassi but I wonder how they get mango in no0n-summer season ;)
Overall if you want to take your gf or friends to an Indian restaurant then take them to Khan’s but make sure to warn them of poor services.
Masala Zone – The only other Indian restaurant which I’ve been to is Masala Zone in Covent Garden. I would never visit this restaurant as it is notoriously rubbish. However on that day I was hungry and had to eat something while wondering around Covent Garden so decided to give Masala Zone a try and till this day and for rest of life I would regret visiting it.
Cooks and staffs in Masala Zone were Chinese and other cheap non-Indian workers. It had an open kitchen so I could see cook was Chinese.
I just wanted some quick snacks so I ordered Pani Puri, Chaat, Lassi and Samosa. First of all waitress couldn’t understand what I’m saying as probably she was new there and had less experience in familiarizing names of Indian dishes.
The food was rubbish, everything tasted like warm water. They have no idea how to cook, let alone to cook Indian food. I was furious but to align myself with British politeness, said nothing but walked out fuming.
I wonder why don’t authorities cancel their license to operate as Indian restaurant.
Veeraswami – I pass through this restaurant daily on my way to work but haven’t tried it any time. It is too expensive. Veeraswami is also considered to be the oldest surviving restaurant in the country and perhaps oldest in Europe as well. Once there was an article in a leading English newspaper and there they have praised Veeraswami a lot. May be I’ll give it a try someday when I’m rich ;) or well off.
That’s all folks. That is all experience I’ve with the Best Indian Restaurants in London. There are plenty of other Indian restaurants which keep on mushrooming day by day but I would rather be safe than sorry to try them.
As far as Indian food is concerned we have a saying in India – Mother cooks the best.
I would rather buy Ashoka ready to eat vegetable range and top it up with Elephant Atta roti or Basamati rice than to visit any Indian restaurant. Ashoka ready to eat range is better than at least Masala Zone’s food and certainly tastes a lot better than most of Indian food you can find in Indian restaurants.
In case you are real Indian ;) and know any good Indian restaurants in London then don’t forget to let me know via comments.