Regional Indian and traditional British in London
April 24, 2017 9:44 AM   Subscribe

Visiting London -- where should I eat? Particularly, though not exclusively, interested in places good for parties of 1 or 2, and in regional Indian and traditional British food.

I've been doing a lot of Indian cooking where I live in New York, and would love to take this chance to try a wide variety of regional food of the subcontinent. However, I realize that most Indian meals are traditionally served "family style" (like traditional Chinese meals), so I'm interested in places that are good for solo diners/parties of 2, which will be most of my meals. I think places that serve thali or good cafeteria/buffet style is the way to go here, but I'm open to suggestions.

My other primary interest for this trip is in traditional British/London food, especially all these savory pies I keep seeing on Great British Bake Off. I went to Regency Cafe the last time I was in town and LOVED it, and would love to find more places like that.

Other than that, I'm also open to any recommendations you would have for things not easily found in NYC, LA or Chicago (i.e. no Mexican food or deep-dish pizza will be had on this trip.)
posted by andrewesque to Travel & Transportation around London, England (9 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
For Indian go to Dishoom - they have several branches around London. It's Bombay café culture-inspired, a mix of size of plates and basically the only place I will eat when I'm in London these days. The fusion stuff like chilli cheese on toast is great, the curries are great, the chutneys are great, and they have a really interesting cocktail menu.

It's usually busy but you can reserve now (I've had the most luck with the branch behind King's Cross).
posted by terretu at 9:53 AM on April 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

For southeast Indian — "Inspired by Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu" — check out Hoppers on Frith Street.
posted by ZipRibbons at 10:19 AM on April 24, 2017

For south Indian style dosa, bhel poori etc you can try any of the restaurants on Drummond Street, near the back of Euston station. Vegetarian-friendly, little bit variable quality so choose carefully. Have a drink in the Bree Louise while you're in that neck of the woods. Also you might like the Rasa restaurants - e.g. on Charlotte Street - which serve Kerala cuisine - and are slightly classier.

For pie & mash, Manze's on Tower Bridge Road.
posted by rd45 at 10:21 AM on April 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

Chettinad restaurant (16 Percy Street) is fabulous for southen Indian and some of the bet food I've eaten in London.
posted by kadia_a at 10:38 AM on April 24, 2017

Rasa is good + small. Also Roti King for Malaysian food.
posted by taskmaster at 11:30 AM on April 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

+1 for Rasa, the place is great- well actually two places, a vegetarian one and one that serves meat and fish over the road from each other. I'm not a vegetarian, but I prefer the vegetarian option.
posted by multivalent at 12:58 PM on April 24, 2017

No one's mentioned Tayyab's? It's an institution!

For British food, I'm a fan of Great Queen Street restaurant (where I did have one of those savoury pies you mention, and it was great!). The Anchor and Hope in Southwark and The Bear in Camberwell do great Sunday lunches.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:47 PM on April 24, 2017

When I first moved from the US to London in 2006, we landed on a Sunday. Sunday Trading Laws were a bit stricter even then, and we were jet lagged and cranky and hungry. We argued on what to do as we kicked the dust on Hammersmith's King Street, and finally I sighed and looked at a sign and said "Eh, how about that Vegetarian Indian place over there?"

We ate at Sagar, and came outside, and beamed at each other. "Wow!" we said, "If that's what you get when you just stumble into any old random place, what must the good places be like?" We never did find much better.

Of course, Sagar was a rising star then and we followed its climb. I remember we were regulars at the Hammersmith site for so long (I'd show up first, Mrs. Hobo catching up after work) that I remember being tasked with bringing home lunch after a trip to Tottenham Court Road (back when there were still electronics shops around there) and hearing our usual waiter say "Will madame be joining you later?" before I'd clocked that they'd opened a site right where I was standing. When our little one got old enough to see West End shows (admittedly younger than most take their children) we found the Covent Garden site.

I'm not going to insult your intelligence by playing the "My Indian friend says this is the Real Deal" game, but I will say that you can tell the difference between chefs without seeing who's back there.

Have your cameras ready for when the paper dosas arrive!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:42 AM on April 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Not Indian, but we ended up eating twice at Hafez last time we were in London, the food was that good. Excellent Persian food, beautiful decor, great service. Online reviews say it's expensive, but the first time we went there, we ended up with a £100 bill for 5, which included two glasses of wine, so I don't really agree. It's not cheap, but it's not crazy expensive either.
posted by snakeling at 6:04 AM on April 25, 2017

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