2016 was a phenomenal year for South Asian cuisine in London. A string of new openings, with Hoppers serving up fiery Sri Lankan curries, the opulent Jamavar raising the bar for Indian fine dining, and Jikoni dishing up flavours of Indian communities in East Africa (read our full review here). London’s increasingly discerning palate is inspiring chefs and restaurateurs to be more experimental – to go beyond the curry house tradition and open us to regional cuisines, street food and ever more sharing plates! Each new opening brings something a little hat ke to the table. Here are our top 6 places (one more than the recommended I know, but there’s too much of a good thing going on here!) that you should definitely get to in 2017 if you haven’t already. In no specific order, they are…
1. Kricket: What started off as a 20-cover space in the shipping containers of Pop Brixton has found a permanent home in Soho. The Keralan fried chicken with curry leaf mayo is our top choice for fried chicken in London, and the humble bhel puri is elevated up a notch with the addition of raw mango. We can’t wait to check out the expanded menu in the brand new Soho branch.
12 Denman Street, W1 7HH/ Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ, www.kricket.co.uk
Monday to Saturday, 12 noon-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm. Closed on Sunday.
2. Cinnamon Bazaar: For the loveliest array of chaats, and the kind of conversational musings masala chai was made for, the vibrant space of Cinnamon Bazaar is the place to be. The Instagram-friendly patterned teapots are a bonus!
28 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7JS, 020 7395 1400, www.cinnamon-bazaar.com
Monday to Saturday, 11.30am-midnight, Sunday, 11.30am-11pm. *HALAL
3. Tandoor Chop House: If meat is your thing, this is heaven. Think prime cuts marinated and grilled in a layering of spices. They also serve bone marrow naan. Need we say more?
8 Adelaide St, WC2N 4HZ, 020 3096 0359, www.tandoorchophouse.com
Monday to Saturday, 11.30-11pm, Sunday 12 noon-11pm
4. Talli Joe: Dabbling in small plates representing the various regions of India, Talli Joe offers something for everyone. Ideal for a catch up with friends so you can sample a wide range of delicacies offering the whole shebang of bitter, sweet, sour, and spicy notes. Highlights are the decadent truffle ghee kulcha, the spectacular luscious yet crispy kale chaat, and the moreish gajar halwa.
152-154 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8HL, 020 7836 5400, www.tallijoe.com
Monday to Saturday, 12 noon-11.30pm, closed on Sundays. *HALAL
5. Chit Chaat Chai: Yes, it’s a trek to Wandsworth but so worth it for the excellent value for money and bold street food flavours. This is proper chatpatta food. The crispy okra, keema pau and yoghurt puris are must-tries.
356 Old York Road, SW18 1SS, 020 8480 2364, www.chitchaatchai.com
Tuesday to Saturday, 12 noon–12pm, Sunday 12 noon–9pm. *HALAL
6. Masala Wala Cafe: A departure from East London’s more boisterous Pakistani establishments, Masala Wala Cafe serves traditional home-cooked Pakistani food in a cosy setting. While the menu is limited, it features dishes you won’t typically find in restaurants and totally hits the spot for delicious comfort food reminiscent of mum’s cooking (watch this space for a more detailed review in the coming weeks).
5 Brockley Cross, Brockley SE4 2AB, 020 3659 4055, www.masalawalacafe.co.uk
Tuesday to Thursday, 5.30pm–10pm, Friday to Saturday, 1pm–10pm, Sunday 12 noon–6pm. *HALAL
By Rida Bilgrami
Posted on 21 January 2017