Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Upscale Indian in London: Veeraswamy

One of the things I'm always told I must do when in London is eat some top notch South Asian food. The last time I was there, I did the tourist stroll on Brick Lane and had some good but not great North Indian food at Preem. This time, I wanted to try something a bit more upscale and stumbled upon Veeraswamy, supposedly one of the oldest Indian restaurants in London. Located right off Regent Street near the hustle and bustle of Picadilly, Veeraswamy is part of the Masala World group, an Indian restaurant conglomerate that includes a chain called Masala Zone as well as Chutney Mary and Amaya in Chelsea, the latter frequently reviewed as one of the best high end Indian restaurants in London.

The association with this well regarded group and some decent buzz on food blogs set my somewhat high expectations for this place and my first impression of Veeraswamy was very positive. Friendly staff, a gorgeous dining room (highlight was the row of colorful turbans on the wall) and a very convenient location with a nice view of Regent Street. The prices were high but we were able to take advantage of the 2-course lunch prix fixe for less than £15.

For starters we tried a Raj Kapori which is large crispy puri (like an Indian taco shell) filled with lentils, tamarind chutney and yogurt sauce. I didn't expect it to be a cold dish but the flavors were great. This was my favorite dish of the whole meal, and beautifully presented as you can see below.

The second starter was a potato pancake of sorts topped with the same sauces and flavors as the raj kapori. Again, tasty, but we should have ordered something else that wasn't as similar as our first dish. And there were too much pomengranate for me.

For our main courses, I had a craving for curry so we ordered a Chicken Makhani which is essentially chicken tikka in a tomato-based type curry sauce. Very salty but hit the spot for me, especially when eaten with the excellent nan. The other dish was a vegetable based curry which was under seasoned and very spicy and had a special type of eggplant that was bitter. It was not our favorite but somehow we still managed to devour it.

All in all, we left satisfied. The service was really excellent. Our waitress was friendly and knowledgeable, and most importantly let an annoying American tourist snap photos throughout the meal (some places hate us bloggers taking photos, rightfully so I would say). I liked the colorful and rich decor, made the place feel refined and upscale (good for romantic special occasions). And the food was solid, though I think it would have been better if we had better ideas of what to order. Still, I think some of the best Indian/South Asian food can be had in holes in the wall dives in East London and that's what I will be seeking out next time I am in town. Tayyabs anyone?

1 comment:

  1. ah, finally someone calls it naan and not naan bread! you seem to be traveling a lot these days, hope it's been fab fab fab. have been enjoying the tweets and posts!