As you will probably have guessed through the title, there are multiple types of Indian cuisine – and that makes for multiple good Indian restaurants in London. Some serve pan-Indian cuisine, selecting classic dishes from different regions. Others target a single region to provide a complementary menu where everything goes with everything else.
The best Indian restaurant in London, then, is defined by so many different factors that it becomes impossible to put your finger on a different one. Even within subcategories or genres created by different types of cuisine and service, you could put several good examples of the London Indian restaurant together and still not come up with a single best fit.
This is what makes Indian cuisine so wonderful – and it is why there are so many good Indian restaurants in London. For instance, one London Indian restaurant may have a well-deserved reputation as doing the best Tandoor in town; while another may be specifically renowned for its Balti. A third may do spectacular Goan curries; while still another may serve only Hindu cooking (note: you won’t find any alcohol in a Hindu restaurant).
The opportunities for discovering the best Indian restaurant in town then become endless. You almost need to focus on what you want on a specific evening, or what is best for your group as a whole, just to narrow down the field.
Obviously if you have a group with diverse tastes, or a group that has never sampled real Indian cuisine before, then pan-Indian is the way to go. Here you get the widest breadth of choice in terms of style – some dry and bitter; some sweet and fruity; and of course all the classics that have been subverted over the years in the more pedestrian curry houses we’ve come to love on our provincial high streets.
Be aware that the versions of curry you have been eating for years may not be the whole story, when it comes to the real taste of India. The experience of eating in one of the good Indian restaurants in London for the first time, after a lifetime thinking that red slop with spice in it is what a curry is, is something like seeing the Grand Canyon in the flesh for the first time ever, after all you have been used to before is just grainy old pictures of a single rock.
The best Indian restaurant in London for you, then, may take some finding. But that is the glory of the hunt. The sheer quantity of different styles; spices; colours; and flavours available to you will be overwhelming at first. Don’t despair. Centre yourself on one or two dishes. Ask for advice from your waiting staff, who will be happy to ensure that you pick dishes suited to each other. After all, the last thing you want for your first visit to a real London Indian restaurant is to pick a dish from one region and sundries from another.
Indian cooking is like a great painting. The right colours and tones all complement each other. The best Indian restaurant in London, then, is like an art gallery – where experts guide you through each picture.
Indian cooking is like great painting. The right colours and tones all complement each other. The best Indian restaurant in London, then, is like an art gallery – where experts guide you through each picture.