Curry with character

Lucy Kane delights in the exotic flavours of a hidden secret at Bombay Palace, as she reports for food&flavour

If you’re heading into town for a show at the Royal Festival Hall, a day out in Hyde Park or an exhibition at the Royal Academy and are looking for somewhere to eat, then step into Bombay Palace for street-style Indian food and first-class Punjabi cuisine. My husband and I were enjoying a rare kids-free Saturday night out, but as we entered the restaurant we found that there were all manner of diners, from families socialising to couples like us and serious Indian foodies.

Seated in a booth area, we enjoyed an almost private dining experience and savoured the moment, sipping mocktails and cocktails as we perused the delights of the Punjabi menu and fine wine list. The award-winning à la carte menu of Northern Indian dishes included an array of starters, grill and mains with some familiar favourites and some exotic new dishes for us to explore.

Fresh crisp poppadom quarters arrived with beautifully presented zingy chutneys and minty fresh dips, it’s a simple concept but not wrestling with a poppadom larger than the plate is an example of the attention to detail that head chef Harjeet Singh puts into every dish. I had difficulty resisting the generous portions of shuruwat (starters), the ragra pattice, a potato cake with cottage cheese topped with chick peas and assorted chutneys offered a delicious delicate balance of flavours. Meanwhile my husband showed no resistance and polished off his plate of tandoori murgh – marinated chicken from the tandoori khazana barbecue menu.

Our mains arrived, soft succulent chunks of barbecued chicken in a butter, cream and tomato sauce and a lamb rogan josh Kashmiri. The medium spice curry from Kashmir was accompanied by basmati rice and the finest, perfectly presented naan bread – thin and crisp with delicate flavours.

The simple dessert menu offers ice-cream and sorbets but we opted for traditional Indian Kulfis that left us competing over who had chosen the best flavour – pistachio or mango.

Tucked away in the exclusive neighbourhood of Connaught Village just a stone’s throw from Hyde Park, Bombay Palace is a hidden secret. As we strolled back to Marble Arch tube we mused over our discovery – a hidden corner of London with authentic Indian food – perfectly presented dishes served up in a tastefully decorated environment. It’s no surprise Bombay Palace comes in The Times top 20 secret restaurants and was voted Best Indian restaurant in central London by the British Curry Awards.

Why not try?
A traditional Thali – a platter of little bowls of food, including dishes such as dal, rice, bread, salad, raita, poppadom and a small dessert to finish off. £19.90pp. Tuesday offer.

Bombay Palace, 50 Connaught Street, W2 2AA
020 7723 8855

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