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Claiming to be 'London's first Bollywood restaurant', this Covent Garden newcomer occupies the ground floor above a glamorous pan-Asian basement called Tamarai (reviewed here a month or two ago).
Sitaaray feels as if it has had to make do with what was left of the building's floorplan after the other occupants - not least the New London Theatre - had been taken care of. The best has been made of the small space, however, not least by inserting a couple of small mezzanines. These would be quite suited to romance, were it not for the fact they appear to have been earmarked for parties (of up to a dozen). The very red decorative style contributes to a feeling just the right side of claustrophobic, and a scattering of small TV screens showing Indian movies support the theme without being intrusive.
Can you hear the alarm bells ringing? Theatreland location and 'theme' are not generally a whiz-bang formula for quality dining. The proprietors, however, also own Chor Bizarre in Mayfair - which has long been an Indian restaurant of some note - and a real effort seems to have been made. The emphasis is on grills, at reasonable prices. Good-value lunch and pre-theatre menus (all for £14.50 or less) are a speciality, and in the evenings parties can dine from an all-in selection for £18. On our visit, seafood - in particular king prawns and salmon - made a particular impression, and a rasmalai (cheese dessert) was also a hit. Service is charming too, if sometimes a bit slow. We never really drink wine in Indian restaurants, but, if you do, the selection here has received more attention than usual.
So, for a mid-price West End get-together, this turns out to be one of the handier arrivals of recent times. Bolly good.
167 Drury Ln, London, WC2B 5PG
lunch noon - 3 pm, dinner 5.30 pm - 1 am
Last orders: 11.30 pm