Your favorite classic Indian in London?

I’m looking for a very good quality standard curry house somewhere in London - happy to trek and travel wherever but am craving a nice neighborhood spot with a anglo-indian menu, a top quality chicken tikka masala, maybe a vindaloo, that kinda vibe.

Whats everyone’s favourites?

I livearound South Kensington; the only place that fits the bill near me is Noor Jahan and it’s passable but not a standout spot.

I’d appreciate suggestions!

For most of my trips to the London area, I stay in Brentford (as I’m visiting the National Archives). I particularly like Pappadums, on Ferry Quays. It’s somewhere between a bog standard curry house and a “new wave” place. http://www.pappadums.co.uk/about-us/

In the same neck of the woods (and similarly styled), I’ve enjoyed dinner at Swagat in Richmond and Tangawizi, across the river in Twickenham. The latter may have changed hands since I was there, as the menu doesnt seem to have any East African dishes any more.

It might not qualify on terms of the vibe and probably the pricing. However if I was craving the sort of Indian food I’d head to The Gaylord in Fitzrovia. Pretty classic menu but a bit posher than a standard curry house. They’ve been going over 50 years so they must be doing something right. Not been in quite a while but enjoyed my meal there.

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Speaking of old-timer places, I’d love to hear of anyone’s experience at Veeraswamy - the UK’soldest Indian restaurant.

When I was just a sprog, my much older late cousin used to travel to London periodically on business and would always eat here. This was before the expansion of South Asian restaurants in the north in the 1970s and I was always fascinated to hear of his meals. It just all sounded so exotic - starting with the turbanned doorman and accounts of spicy food which I’d never experienced. I really must get there myself one of these days.

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Thanks for the recommendations - Richmond is a nice spot for a weekend so might try that.

On the Veeraswamy front - I went when it reopened a few years back and found it quite disappointing but this was like 8 years ago probably. It’s more of the swish michelin vibe than an old-timey curry house and I think with new competition (i.e., jamavar, gymkhana, etc.) I cant imagine being that keen on it.

On a related note, had an utterly terrible meal at Masala Zone (my own fault still…) which is owned by the same group as Amaya, Veeraswamy, etc., which doesn’t bode well in my books.

My parents have stayed a couple of times at the Brentford Premier Inn and my Mum was raving about an Indian last time she visited. She’s already planning her return when they’re​ next staying there. I didn’t know it by name but it checks out as Pappadums on the map.

She was telling me how vast the menu was and to be honest I couldn’t really believe it was any good. Shame on me.

I generally stay at the Premier Inn (although sometimes save a few quid at the Travelodge just down the road if they have a deal on). Pappadums is just at the back.

Next door to the Indian, when I last stayed about 18 months ago, is a really good Turkish called Galata Pera. They do an absolute killer starter of lamb’s liver. Next door to the Premier is the old fire station whioch has gone through a number of different guises in the time I’ve been staying there. Last time, there was a Cuban bar on the ground floor and a very decent Persian on the first floor. And, a few minutes walk down the road into the centre, there’s a lovely Italian place - La Rosetta. Proper old fashioned Italian place - with blokes actually speaking Italian.

I’m a bit embarrassed to mention the Thames Restaurant (almost at the end of the shopping area). But it is, by far, the best all-you-can-shovel down asian buffet I’ve eaten in.

Harters, my last visit to Veeraswamy a few years back was an unmitigated disaster. I probably can blame it on heightened expectations - the fact that Camellia Panjabi had taken over the kitchens at the time.
All the curries we ordered turned out looking the same and didn’t taste that much distinct from each other.

Perhaps I’ll leave Veeraswarmy as a childhood memory of cousin David.

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Have you tried Indian Express on the North End Rd ?(really rather old school / not salubrious, but a cut above the crowd generally) I’m not sure about the vindaloo, but they carry off most other Anglo things pretty well (the tawa which is generally the staff curry is pretty good as is the razalah)

Or one stop up in quality / price, but not quite so ‘Chicken Tikka Masala’ - Indian Zing in Hammersmith?

Both pretty good local Anglo - Indian / Bangladeshi and local to you.

Did it use to have East African dishes? I did not know about that. When I ate there a few years ago, it was strictly Indian. I don’t remember much about the meal, but I remember I wasn’t fond of the biryani. What’s recommended at Tangawizi?

It was 2010 when I ate there. There’s nothing in my notes to indicate I had anything overtly East African (dunno what that might be, tbh) but I’m sure that there were some on the menu. I chatted to the owners who were definitely of East African Indian heritage and made a play that their spicing, etc had that spin to it.

That used to get frequent mentions by an Indian contributor to Chowhound. IIRC, it specialised on food from Maharashtra.

Lex

Another one for the parents. I keep meaning to try this but never seem to get round to it.

Literally round the corner from the Premier Inn is the Waterman’s Arms. You pass it on the way to Pappadums. Reason for mentioning it is, in amongst a fairly manky sounding pub grub menu of cottage pie, sausage & mash and the like, there’s three Japanese items - a yakisoba, katsu curry and oyakodonburi. From memory, the owner/chef lived in Japan for a while and just likes the food.

A few years since my last visit but Haandi (136 Brompton Road) pretty much fits the description. Its been going for nearly 30 years and doesn’t seem to have changed much.

It used to be my go to curry in central London when I wanted something good but not expensive (despite the location opposite Harrods - which oddly is the rear entrance) - good UK Indian comfort food.

My experience as well. Used to love it when it first opened and it was good food, well priced, and fun. But on my last visit I felt its time had passed and was very disappointed.

I ate at Veeraswamy’s a number of times about 10 years ago and really liked it (my parents used to go there when courting in the 1940’s). But subsequent reports sound like it may have gone off a bit. I also used to like Chutney Mary in the early 1990’s which was the teams first place in Chelsea - back then it was a real place to be seen…but on a a more recent visit it was quite ordinary.

If you are prepared to risk leaving civilization, you could do worse than Noor Jahan2 in Sussex Place, just north of the park, which I find has a fresher feel than the original. Opposite an excellent boozer too.

Also near there is Spice of India in Bathurst St., which is small and friendly.

Lastly, I took my (then) teenaged sons to Khan’s in Westbourne Grove a few years back, and we had a terrific meal.

That would explain why in my very vague memory the dishes I had tasted a bit different from typical Indian.

I like Rajastan II in the City, there are two other Rajastans. Good solid Anglo/Indian fare, that I end up eating every visit.

Rajastan II

I don’t think it fits your criteria, but last trip to London I went to Benares in Mayfair, upscale and innovative Indian menu.

Benares

I work 200m from the original Rajasthan, and, yes, it’s excellent. We have office take-aways for lunch at least monthly. It would just feel very odd to come in to the Square Mile from SW7 for an evening meal, even though the tube connection is great for the Raj.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold