London - Recommendation for great Indian food .....prefer Northern and casual over fine dining.

After a multi years hiatus, I will finally pay London a long overdue re-visit early next year.
Lover of northern Indian food and curries. Whilst studying and working there, I made an effort to eat them at least once or twice a week!
To all my local fraternity foodie friends…where are some of the BEST Indian food currently being offered in London?! Choices do not have to be Michelin star calibres like ‘Gimkhana’ or with modern twists etc.
Just something traditional, made-to-order tasty ( non-mother sauce ) and prepared with love and care!
Thanks in advance!

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Not sure if either are Northern, but check out Dishoom and Masala Zone.

Have you taken a look at prior London threads?

My 2c: Dishoom, Trishna, Darjeeling Express, Kati Roll Company


Thank you!
Besides some of these higher-end ’ star ’ candidates, does anyone know of any good tasting creations from more casual, ’ hole-in-the -wall ’ places like some of the ones found in Tooting or Earls Court…etc. Just wanted to capture some of my lunch time experiences of yesteryears!

Tooting is much more Southern Indian & Sri Lankan and I prefer it these days to North Indian food. I do though like Lahore Kebab House in Whitechapel. Their methi lamb is very good, there’s also Tayabs is not far from there but I haven’t been for quite some time so am hesitant to recommend it.


My favourite is Needo Grill on New Road, Whitechapel. I get the Dal aubergine, and the tinda ( which I don’t see elsewhere). It’s close to Tayabbs -love fieldgate St. On the corner is Shalamar which is a real hole in the wall lunch stalwart for the London hospital staff. Their kebabs are incredibly tasty and cheap but the naan isn’t great. Avoid all of brick lane but if Meraz on Hanbury Street is still there, it’s a nice little café with great tandoori lamb chops and my favourite sag aloo. Fusion so not entirely Northern. Dishoom and masala zone are both chains, in case you care. I’m underwhelmed by Dishoom quite often but love their decor and their black Dal is stunning. I get the bel puri too. Bottomless chai? Yes, please! My regular is Ganges in Dalston. Take out only. If you go to East Ham there’s plenty of food and local colour . Off the beaten track if you dare. I’ll think some more.


@THECHARLES Try Gunpowder, I guarantee you’ll love it! I was last there 5 years ago, but a peek at their web-site showed the menu offerings largely similar to when I ate there.

I was at their Spitalfields branch, but they also have outlets in Soho and Tower Bridge.

I rather miss Chowhound - all my reviews on Tayyabs, Needoo Grill, Dishoom, Gymkhana, Trishna, Amaya, Benares, Indian Zing, Quilon, Tamarind, Veeraswamy, Zaika and many others were lost when the database was decommissioned.


BTW, are any of the Curry houses in the Bricklane area any good? Is a place like the vastly ‘social-media’ covered ’ SHEBA’ ’ for real or over-rated?

Hello Chow-friend!
Fancy seeing you here! :joy:
Yup! I miss the old chowhound as well! For me, all my ’ Hong Kong Chowmeets write-up and Won-Ton Noodles review! ’ Sigh! :cry:
Anyways, for this upcoming short trip, I’m planning to have a few casual but one ’ higher-end ’ Indian Meals. I have identified a short list of ’ institution ’ candidates…Amaya, Gymkhana, Trishna, Chutney Mary…etc. Based on your recollection, any standouts from the aforementioned group? I’m more into dishes with great sauces rather than grills and tandooris!

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Not Indian, but definitely casual.

Get a Banana Milkshake at McDonald’s.

It’s one of my first stops when I go to Wimbledon.

I’m a bit hesitant to rate anyone of them higher than the other now, as I’d not been back to any since the COVID pandemic nightmare years. Chefs may have changed, amongst others.

However, when I was doing a gourmet safari of London’s Michelin-starred Indian restaurants during the pre-COVID years, I remembered Trishna was a standout then, over Quilon, Benares, Gymkhana, etc. which I’d also tried within the same time period.

I was accompanied to Trishna and Benares by Limster (a prolific UK Chowhound) then. Another UK Chowhound, JFores, who’s absolutely crazy about Indian food, was with me at Gymkhana. Good times.


I’ve been to London only once back in 2017, but I did have meals at several South Asian restaurants and enjoyed them all.

Dishoom, which I believe is inspired by Mumbai Parsi cafes [London] Dishoom

Lahore Kebab House [London] Lahore Kebab House

Tayyabs [London] Tayyabs

Hoppers (Sri Lankan hoppers) Hoppers [London] - #6 by Mr_Happy

More upscale - Gymkhana [London] Gymkhana


Apologies if there is a paywall (I looked for a way to gift link and came up empty), but the Vittles Magazine Substack has a great series on South Asian dishes in London and the restaurants that you should go to for them, both Northern, Southern, and everywhere else. It was inspired by Jonathan Gold’s similar series for L.A. Weekly on Korean restaurants in Los Angeles. I am using this as the basis for places to eventually eat when I finally make it back to London.


While I tend to have concerns about Eater pieces, these two roundups might be worth checking out:

Edited to Add: ignore the dates, as both lists were updated in 2022.


I’ve not found any yet, Charles. They’re formulaic and use mother sauces as a rule. As I said, I head to Meraz which is off Brick Lane on Hanbury Street (not far from Truman Brewery for your reference). Love that street anyway for the street art. Otherwise, it’s always Needo and Shalamar - a mix.

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Thank you for the heads-up. Last time I checked, apparently there are over 50 Indian curry houses…etc in the Bricklane area!..all claiming they are the best!! :laughing:

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Gunpowder is fancy but highly regarded. Good if you want a trendier experience and definitely more innovative. I still think Dishoom is a bit overrated but I love it there’s anyway for the decor/ambience, and a snack rather than meal with that delicious chai I now make at home.


Went back to London this May and ended up going to the Barbary and Barrafina which now both had reservations available online. Checked Dishoom but still standing in line and waiting situation and decided it just wasn’t worth it. Assuming that Covid years made some restaurants decide to take reservations. We went to Hoppers once and probably waited 90 minutes for our table. Has to be really good to justify that much time waiting. We did eat at Tandoor Chop House (think someone recommended on Chowhound) and had a decent meal but that was probably 4 years ago. I also mourn the loss of Chowhound and all the restaurant reviews I had written over the years (and all the places this aging memory of mine has forgotten!)


I like the original Shoreditch location and go off-hours (Dishoom). ALWAYS. I had that luxury though.