Best Indian Restaurant in London

London Jun 19, 2011 1 Comment

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.

Few Fact about Indian restaurant in London

I’m not being sarcastic but providing real facts as observed by a real Indian ;)

  1. Majority of Indian restaurants in London and in the UK are owned and run by Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghani, Chinese and not to mention native British who have no idea whatsoever about India let alone Indian food.
  2. The services in Indian restaurants are rubbish and non-existence. If you are Indian then probably you would know better why Indian restaurants don’t have any services. For those, non-Indians, who are left wondering why these so called Indian restaurants can’t provide good services, the reason is simple – Indians have no (common) sense for services. Not only services are non-existence but also the waiters in these restaurants are foul mouth, ever swearing and I’ve even heard them making lewd and sexual remarks on foreign (white) women. I’ve personally observed it many times in the Khans of Bayswater restaurant. More review on them below.
  3. The Indian food served in Indian restaurant is not Indian at all. As I said in my fact no. 1 that these Indian restaurants are not run by Indians and hence you can’t expect Indian food there.
  4. Next is the ingredients, you can’t find authentic spices and actual ingredients in this country. Even if you find them it would would be very expensive. So they tend to use fake ingredients, colors. Turmeric is the most faked ingredients which is replaced by yellow powder which you can spot from a distance. Next time you see yellow Basmati Rice or Pulao, where turmeric is must, think of yellow colour rather than turmeric.
  5. Cooks in these restaurants are not Indians. Refer to fact no. 1. Most of the cooks are cheap labourers and most often than not they are illegal immigrants working on low wages. I even spotted, in open, Chinese cook in Masala Zone in the Covent Garden.
  6. Prices are ridiculously high to keep up with the rest of restaurants in London which are nothing but always rip off. The amount of food served in most post restaurants in London is inversely proportional to the price. And it almost comes down to a leaf petal or some traces of grass in the top restaurants. And not to mention that in some of these so called top restaurants you have to wait for months to get a seat. Exclusivity sells always, and there are always filthy rich people to buy it.
  7. It is unfortunate but most of Indian restaurants don’t serve vegetable dishes. And more or less all of them have similar menu.

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 BayswaterI 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.

VeeraswamiI 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.

Comments

One Response to “ Best Indian Restaurant in London ”
  1. Ramesh

    I am coming to London in July for honeymoon and I was planning to dine in some good Indian restaurants. I’ll book B&B so breakfast will be covered and also lunch.

    I was searching for best Indian restaurants in London and found your post.

    After reading your post I’m now scared to visit any Indian restaurant.

Leave a Reply to Ramesh