Tips from City AM readers about hot new openings that might otherwise slip below the radar are always particularly welcome. One such message – to mail@hardens.com – alerted us to this newcomer on the Isle of Dogs.

The walk to the restaurant from, say, Canary Wharf tube is a little bit under ten minutes, but on the way you will pass at least two other Indian joints with broadly similar menus. So the obvious question that presents itself is: why keep going? Three reasons.

The first is that this is an unusually comfortable mid-price restaurant. Well-situated on a quiet corner and with large windows, the premises have been stylishly decked-out in an easy-going contemporary manner. Were it not for the Bollywood movies on the (mercifully small) screen, there would be no particular hint that this is a subcontinental restaurant at all.

The second reason is that the food here is pretty good. There’s not really anything ‘wow amazing’ about it, but it’s conscientiously-prepared, attractively presented and reasonably-priced. From our visit, we’d suggest sticking to the classics. Our only attempt to go off-piste – with a sort of crab spring roll – was not the greatest success.

For us, however, it’s the third thing – the service – which really makes this place stand out. It was a former editor of Tandoori magazine who once took a potshot at Indian restaurant staff for too often being ‘miserable gits’. He may have overstated his case, but some readers may still feel they understand what he meant. Here, however, the service is exemplary: friendly, engaging and efficient. They really give you the feeling they want the restaurant to succeed. If they can keep that up, it probably will.

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