London is a melting pot of culture with several different places to enjoy international food favourites, all within an easy journey from hotels near Oxford Street. One of the most popular and best-loved cuisines in London (and the UK at large) is Indian food. Though statistics are regularly changing due to new restaurants opening and old favourites closing, there are estimated to be thousands of Indian restaurants in London. In fact, at a point in the last ten years, there were more Indian restaurants in the UK’s capital than there were in India’s capital – that being London versus Delhi. So, it goes without saying that there are a lot of options to choose from in the big smoke – here is the ultimate guide to Indian food in London.
There are a number of Dishoom restaurants scattered around London, the closest to our Marble Arch London Hotel being the outpost in Carnaby. This Bombay-style café serves up Indian street food “from Bombay with love”, with traditional flair in terms of flavour, spice and decor, yet maintaining an unquestionably upmarket ambience. Indian food is not limited to lunch and dinner, as sometimes seems the case when exploring London’s selection – Dishoom’s breakfast spread makes this loud and clear.
On the mornings where you (somehow) manage to resist the breakfast buffet at The Crescent Restaurant and Lounge in the Marble Arch by Montcalm, this is a great option that also opens you up to the world of London’s Indian food.
Address: 5 Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AB (King’s Cross)
22 Kingly St, Soho, London W1B 5QP (Carnaby)
12 Upper St Martin’s Ln, London WC2H 9FB (Covent Garden)
7 Boundary St, Hackney, London E2 7JE (Shoreditch)
4 Derry St, Kensington, London W8 5SE (Kensington)
Kama by Vineet
Knightsbridge is one of the West End’s most luxurious neighbourhoods, host to stately homes and a bustling shopping district – most notably, Harrods. Brand new to the list of the department store’s dreamy features is Kama by Vineet, a new Indian restaurant that is already making waves despite its short time in the spotlight. Kama translates to “desire” in Sanskrit, and that is exactly how you feel throughout your time in this hub for revolutionary Indian cooking. It is inside Harrods’ new dining hall and it is not to be missed. Watch Michelin star chef Vineet Bhatia transform your favourite naan and butter chicken dishes into a sensational taste experience while retaining everything you loved about it.
Address: The Dining Hall, Ground Floor Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, London, SW1X 7XL
Eating Indian food in London is not just about finding the best curry houses, though the city is certainly teeming with excellent options for that. Brigadiers does things a little differently, though a fine tribute to Indian cuisine and a marvellous dining location. India’s military bars – or army mess bars, where military regiments would go to eat, drink and socialise – inspired the layout and feel of this beacon of camaraderie, flavour and cooking style. The style is Indian BBQ, which focuses on tandoor ovens, charcoal grills, rotisseries, wood ovens and classic Indian smokers. This art deco nod towards Indian Club Culture offers up the works – from skewers and racks of ribs to all-in biryani and Goan suckling pig feasts (to name just two). If there is one piece of advice you remember, let it be this: visit Brigadiers hungry.
Address: 1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, London EC4N 8AR
Bookings: 020 3319 8140
We couldn’t possibly put together a list of the best Indian food in London without mentioning Hankies!
Located inside the Montcalm London Marble Arch, Hankies dishes out unbelievable street food that will transport you to Delhi. To avoid making your mouth water too much, we’ll leave you with the menu to review in your own time.
Address: 61 Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, London W1H 7PP
We sometimes get so swept up in the rich, creamy dishes associated with Indian food that the existence of Indian tapas or small plates gets overlooked. While Dishoom is also good for this dining approach, Amaya are specialists in it. Pan-Indian tapas are prepared fresh to order – a fact that is important because if you request a table near the open kitchen, you can see that in action! This is a Michelin-starred gem nestled in Belgravia. It is not one of London’s best Indian restaurants – it is one of London’s best restaurants. A favourite feature of the restaurant is their special menus, where the “7 items for £45” is the best way to enjoy all the many sophisticated taste fusions on offer.
Address: Halkin Arcade, Off Lowndes St, Belgravia, London SW1X 8JT
Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Kitchen are sibling restaurant destinations in Westminster and Liverpool Street respectively. After the success of Cinnamon Club, its gentlemen’s club feel in a Grade II-listed Victorian building, it came as no surprise that Cinnamon Kitchen came as such a welcomed arrival in the former warehouse of the East India Company in which it resides. Then there is the food. Though it is experimental, innovative and expressive, it never feels pretentious or that it is straying too far from the flavours that serve Indian cuisine so loyally. The tender lines between opulence and simplicity, and between British fusion and rustic Indian, remain balanced. The bar menu is just as curated and exciting as the food. All in all, a spot worth your time on many different levels.
Address: The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith St, Westminster, London SW1P 3BU (Cinnamon Club)
9 Devonshire Square, Spitalfields, London EC2M 4YL (Cinnamon Kitchen)
Bookings: cinnamonclub.com / cinnamon-kitchen.com
Last, but certainly not least – though essential and overlooked: Indian desserts. You can’t exactly enjoy the ultimate guide to Indian food in London and not include the sensational sweet nibbles from Ambala, one of London’s favourite confectionery outlets. You can purchase assorted trays or individual items if you know what you like. Some of their best products are balushahi, a traditional dessert which is similar in taste to a glazed doughnut, though different in texture as well as chamchams, nicknamed “pleasure boats” for a reason, which are sweet treats often made with rose water, saffron, lemon or lime juice. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the choice, you can take some home with you in an assorted tray to enjoy in your hotel room.
Address: 112-114 Drummond St, London NW1 2HN
Bookings: 020 7387 3521
When visiting London, there are a number of things you simply can’t miss.
Between enjoying the incredible spa and pool facilities within the Marble Arch London Hotel, watching theatre in the West End, admiring technological innovation at the Science Museum or crunching the changing leaves underfoot at Kew Gardens, you will find yourself with overflowing to-do lists before you can say “holiday bucket list”. One thing that should remain firmly planted at the top of your list is to enjoy Indian food in London.