London is the melting pot of many cultures in the world. And, with food being an essential part of every culture, London’s current culinary scene is rich with flavourful delights from different countries, including India. Indians have settled in Great Britain since the 18th century and lived in London for generations. Naturally, the uniqueness of India’s eclectic array of flavours is now a part of London’s food culture.
London is the hub of the greatest restaurants in the world, and these include Indian restaurants. One common misconception about Indian food in the minds of the rest of the world is that they are the originators of something called the Indian cuisine. You’ll be surprised to know that in India, each region, each state has its own cuisine. The authentic Indian restaurants in London offer the best of such food.
Seven Authentic Indian Restaurants
Spicy, aromatic, bold, exotic – Indian cuisines have a variety of dimensions. The Indian restaurants bring out a plethora of flavours from different regions of the country to tickle the taste buds of the Londoners. Let’s check out the top-rated authentic Indian restaurants in London that every food fanatic must try.
Locations: Fitzrovia W1T 4RU
Calcutta Street is named after the former capital of India, and its menu offers some of the greatest delights of Bengal, in the eastern part of India. In this region, the sea, the rivers, and greenery dominate the lives of people. So, the food at Calcutta Street brings you fish and veg goodnesses.
The restaurant was established by Shrimoyee Chakraborty who had left Bengal to pursue higher education in London. And every day, Londoners thank her love and longing for her homeland’s flavours that led to this vibrant and informal restaurant. The Veg Shukto and Prawn Malai Kari here are to die for!
Location: Mayfair W1S 4JH
“Gymkhana” refers to the colonial clubs in India where the members used to indulge in sports and Gin and Tonic, accompanied by vibrant food choices. The London restaurant by the name seems to have a menu inspired by British gymkhanas, with a menu that offers richly flavoured delectables from India.
This Michelin-star restaurant by Karam Sethi has earned enormous accolades for food quality and consistency. Woody dining space, lamps of cut glass, lacquered oak panels – the decor will steal your heart. Try the Pork Vindaloo, Tandoori Lamb, and Egg Bhurji, and wash it down with Quinine Sour.
Location: Marylebone W1U 3DG
Trishna, meaning “thirst”, is a sister-concern of Gymkhana and another Michelin-star Indian restaurant in London. It specialises in coastal food from Tamil Nadu to Mumbai in the west of India. However, you’ll love the mouth-watering curries and street food on its menu, too. Altogether, it’s quite a diverse spread.
The decor is contemporary and sophisticated, with white walls to wooden chairs creating a contrast that you’ll fall in love with. Start your meal with the spicy, tangy Aloo Tokri Chaat, and order Andu Varuval or soft-shell crab, Iyengar Aubergine Varuval, Makai Saag, and more. The cocktails are a must-have, too.
Location: Kingly Court W1B 5PW
Named after a quaint hill station in West Bengal built by the British in the colonial period, Darjeeling Express boasts of delicious food with an interesting homely touch. The chefs who whip up the delicacies here aren’t professionally-trained cooks. They are self-trained amateurs, equipped with family recipes.
The person behind the crazy idea is Asma Khan, who has kept the intrigue alive in her lively restaurant with a menu that keeps changing. There’s no lack of finesse in the rustic food served here. You’ll love the bold use of spices in the dishes capturing the essence of Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Rajput-style cooking.
Location: Tower Bridge E1 7NF
This casual dining restaurant is named after a popular spice mix used in different cuisines in India, especially in the Southern parts of India. Run by Harneet and Devina Baweja, this restaurant has a polished interior with complementary shades of zinc and terracotta. It offers a menu that will leave you spoilt for choice, as you will get a wide array of innovative dishes packed with flavours to pick from.
Interestingly, the menu does not offer Naan, a common flatbread variety in most Indian restaurants. But with the delicious dishes like Kashmiri lamb chop, Chettinad pulled pork, and of course, their signature Potato Chaat doused in yoghurt and a chutney of tamarind and date, you’ll not miss bread or rice at all.
Location: Mayfair W1J 6BS
Michelin-star chef Atul Kochhar named this restaurant after the ancient and sacred city of Benares, which was described by Mark Twain to be older than history, tradition, and legend. The unique menu of the restaurant, however, is neither too traditional, nor does it remind you of the city on Ganga shores.
In fact, the dishes here offer a glorious fusion of the flavours and ingredients of London and India, where the chef has tried to add a touch of the North-East cuisine. The restaurant is bold and contemporary and serves a feast that lives up to its reputation. The Fried Crab and the Ghree-Seared Scallops are a must!
Location: Soho W1D 7HH, Brixton SW9 8JL, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7FR
What started as a pop-up is now a vibrant, sprawling restaurant run by a group of chefs who started it. The name is a take on India’s most popular sport, i.e., cricket, of course! The establishment’s visitors, a unique mix of out-of-town visitors, Instagrammers, and more, come for the Indian fusion food.
The tastes of Mumbai and London come together in this kitchen to give you honest flavours that will introduce you to the exciting characteristics of the cuisines of both the places in a never-tried-before style. Try the Lamb Curries, Tandoor Monkfish, Pickled Curry-Leaf, etc., with Indian-style cocktails.
These Indian restaurants in London have unveiled a whole new side of Indian flavours to the people of this city. London has discovered the culinary pluralism, complexities, and varieties of traditional Indian food, and realised how versatile Indian ingredients and cooking techniques are and how well they go with the city’s home-grown tastes. Try these, and you’ll discover that food is magic!