|Last Orders||10.30 pm, Sun 10 pm|
"Really good Indian Food. Scallop starter was divine, as was Tiger Prawn. Paneer Tikka also very good.One main and a number of sides was the right way to go. Really full of flavour without being too spicy or greasy. Good quality wine list and friendly and attentive service. Pricy but just about worth it."
"Much hyped and it lived up to it - this really is very special interesting delicately cooked Indian food. Definitely to return to. Not cheap but why should it be when the quality is this good."
"The business man's curryhouse. Too pricey unless you're not footing the bill. Peculiar to have such a glitzy setting for an Indian. Prefer eating a takeaway in front of the TV. Very yummy cocktails though."
"Pre-theatre dinner so did not have time to give the restaurant a full exploration. That said, the food was very tasty and the menu merits more time. There were other occupants but as it was per-theatre it did not have the buzz and sparkle that it might have at dinner."
Rarely do London restaurants come with more history than this veteran institution overlooking Regent Street - home of the longest-established Indian restaurant in what is now the greatest Indian restaurant city in the world.
Established in 1926, it makes much of this history. Continuity, however, has sometimes been more apparent than real: immediately after WWII, the menu had become almost entirely French. The past two decades have seen no fewer than two major revamps, each more lavish than the last.
This latest incarnation has been something of a critical 'rave' elsewhere, and we visited with high expectations. Let's start with the good news. The service is very good, and the waiting staff often very engaging. However the setting is less so. The new look is comfortable enough, but it can't quite decide whether it's ancient or modern. Contemporary dark-wood tables, for example, stand on very traditional Wilton carpet. Similarly, the light fittings include both a large Edwardian-style chandelier (although the ceiling is really too low for it) and clusters of trendy single-bulb lamps with glass shades in various colours. Perhaps the effect is supposed to be witty: if so, the joke eluded us.
In the end, though, it was the food that really let the place down. It started off well enough with a pretty dish of mussels, and a very spicy crab croquette. Thereafter, blandness set it. It seemed symbolic that that the couple on the next table were French - our meal tasted like Indian food for foreigners. Prawns lacked spice. A biryani - 1926 recipe, mind - was elegant but totally without interest. A nan had a good taste but was rather dry, and a kulfi' Well, let's just say we're pudding men, and we left half of it.
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