Britain's long been known as a great destination for Indian and South Asian cuisine. Up until recent years, many people even would say the best Indian restaurants in the world were actually in the UK and not Indian itself. Of course, London is home to a dynamic and cosmopolitan dining scene. Without doubt, amazing Indian restaurants are an important part of it.
Perhaps nowhere in London is the variety of restaurants and dining options as varied as in Soho, the compact and social heart of this sprawling city. Even once you've decided on what type of food you're keen to enjoy, going out to eat in Soho brings with it tough decisions. To help narrow your list down, here's a list of a few choice Indian eateries in (and around) Soho.
Carom at Meza
100 Wardour Street, W1F 0TN
Carom is an excellent restaurant for a fine meal as well as a happening spot to take in some of London's hottest nightlife. There's a fantastic cocktail bar at the entrance and a late night Cuban club downstairs featuring live music every night of the week. Somehow executive chef, Balaji Balachander, adeptly manages to make sure all this Soho-centric activity doesn't steal the spotlight from his gorgeous menu. Fabulous dishes to try include the soft shell crab, Rajasthani style lamb Laal Maas and the vegetarian saag makai.
More info about meza-soho.co.uk.
5 Kingly Street, W1B 5PF
The third in executive chef Vivek Singh's trio of exquisite fine dining restaurants, the menu at Cinnamon Soho shows off Singh's signature modern take while incorporating his playful take on classic British favourites. Fanciful dishes such as a Bangla Scotch egg and ox cheek vindaloo (not to mention a seemingly ever buzzing cocktail bar) entice without disappointing.
Visit the restaurant online at cinnamonsoho.com.
12 Upper St Martin’s Lane, WC2H 9FB
Argue amongst yourselves whether London's first “Bombay cafe” (there's now another Dishoom open in East London as well) is technically located within the boundaries of Soho. If not, it's just steps beyond and only a mere minute's walks from Leicester Square Underground Station. What's indisputable is that Dishoom offers a fun and vibrant place to dine. A yummy menu, quality chai and a scrumptious array of Anglo-Indian breakfast items make this a excellent spot to keep in mind whatever the time of day.
Visit dishoom.com to find out more.
Govinda's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant
10 Soho Street, W1D 3DL
Located at the Radha Krishna Temple, Govinda's aim is to provide a “karma free diet” of “fresh, nutritious meals at affordable prices.” Everything on the menu is meat, fish and egg free. There are plenty of vegan dishes as well. Govinda's is a conveniently central yet serene setting for anyone seeking a healthy meal.
Find out more at iskcon-london.org.
167-169 Wardour Street, W1F 8WR
Looking for somewhere casual that can accommodate a range of appetites and palates? Keep Imli Street in mind. There’s plenty of seating at and around the bar and a menu featuring a range of cocktails and bar snacks. Having just reopened after a major refurbishment, it's as attractive a venue as ever your apt to find in Soho without having to break the bank or join a private members club.
Details at imli.co.uk.
50 Frith Street, W1D 4 (BUT MOVING TO A BIGGER LOCATION SOON)
Everybody who tries Mooli's seems to become a fan. Famous for their roti wraps (just don't call 'em "Indian burritos!") filled with inspired flavours and fresh ingredients, Mooli's is a strong contender not just for one of the best south Asian options in Soho but also for top street eats in town.
More at moolis.com.
99-101 Regent Street, W1B 4RS
Established in 1926 (on the same day as Queen Liz’s birth), Veeraswamy is Britain’s oldest Indian restaurant and one of London’s oldest surviving restaurants. Right off Regent Street (the restaurants’ first floor dining room hovers above it – get a table near a window if you can!), with an “ethnic” without being kitsch atmosphere, incredibly attentive service, fascinating history and an exceptionally tasty menu: Veerswamy is an elegant restaurant serving delectable Indian cuisine. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but a side dish of fresh pineapple curry is highly recommended.
Check out Veeraswamy online at veeraswamy.com.
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Photo: Chris Osburn