Indian Restaurants in Soho
1. Dishoom Indian restaurant in Soho 22 Kingly St - W1
“No wonder people queue out the door!” – “it feels like you are actually in Mumbai, even the smells wafting round the room”, at these “terrific” and “incredibly busy” outlets, whose “distinctive” interiors generate a “vibrant atmosphere” that’s reasonably faithful to the buzz in India’s Irani cafés. “The bar areas with good cocktails help make the long and boring wait bearable” and, once seated, servers “are full of fun and energy” (admittedly probably with one eye on “efficiently maximising table turnover”). For most customers, any hassle is “worth it for the absolutely yum-tastic Indian street food” – special shout outs go to the “the reinvention of the bacon butty (naan with crispy cured Ginger Pig bacon) which is the perfect breakfast”; and “the black daal and Ruby Murray, which are standout dishes”. But declining ratings do support the doubters who feel that “quality has declined following the brand’s extraordinary rise in popularity”, or that “while it’s good enough, the chain definitely doesn’t excite like it once did”. Even most critics would acknowledge that “the glow hasn’t worn off Dishoom yet”, however, and if you haven’t been already, you should go: it can still provide “a real revelation”.
2. Kricket Indian restaurant in Soho 12 Denman St - W1
“A strong modern twist on Indian flavours and good vibes all round” make Rik Campbell and Will Bowlby’s “hustling and fast-paced” Soho dive (“it’s not a place to linger”) a worthy success to their phenomenal Brixton original (in a shipping container) – “one of the most successful switches from street food to a central London restaurant in recent times, while still keeping everything well-priced”. Let’s hope they keep up the good work with their expansion this year, with a permanent Brixton branch, plus a new White City spin-off, which opened at TV Centre in late September 2018.
3. Darjeeling Express Indian restaurant in Soho 6-8 Kingly Street - W1B
“On the top floor of Kingly Court and less frantic than the more happening places below” – “Asma Khan has a winner on her hands” at this “very genuine feeling” follow-up to her former pop-up ventures. From “a well chosen menu of distinctive dishes with an authentic ‘home cooked’ vibe”, the resulting dishes are “full of spicy flavour without being greasy or heavy”. “It’s so authentic even Indians can’t get enough of it!”
4. Tamarind Kitchen Indian restaurant in Soho 167-169 Wardour St - W1F
“Great Indian with food with a real vibe in the heart of Soho” earns plaudits for this offshoot of Mayfair’s upscale Tamarind, albeit at more “mid-level prices”. The pedigree shows, though, in its “complex spices and luxurious setting”.
5. Dum Biryani Indian restaurant in Soho 187 Wardour Street - W1F
“It’s easy to miss this Soho basement” just south of Oxford Street, housing a “really authentic” yearling Indian biryani specialist. Cooked in a heavy pot – the ‘dum’ – “they are available in two sizes, single or sharing, and are topped with a crisp edible topping”. “The simple fit-out of the interior could be improved”, though.
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