INDIAN ACCENT, MAYFAIR
A super-refined version of Indian home-cooking in Mayfair
For the past few years the original New Delhi branch of Indian Accent, now based in the cool and contemporary Lodhi Hotel, has consistently been referred to as the best restaurant in India. After such home-grown success, next chef Manish Mehrotra took on the foodie mecca of Manhattan to flattering reviews. And now he has come to London, with a sleek green-velvet-and-polished-brass outpost in Mayfair, an area which is not short on upmarket Indian places to eat.
Soak up the plush surroundings and settle in for the nine-course tasting menu, which kicks off with five ‘waters’ (green chilli, tamarind, pineapple, pomegranate and yogurt) to pour into tiny puffed-up puri balls and ends with a rich but daintily portioned doda barfi treacle tart, after which you might need a time out before ordering that Uber home. Standouts in between include delicious Kashmiri morels with walnut powder and a Parmesan papad; soy keema (so incredibly hearty that even this soy-mince sceptic was converted) with a sunshine-bright quail’s egg plonked on top, to be scooped up using dolls-tea-party-size lime-leaf pao rolls; hot-from-the-tandoor, blistered and buttery kulcha breads stuffed with non-traditional black pudding and served with black dal and wasabi-spiked raita; and a winter vegetable and fenugreek tart with baby roots artfully planted in spiced mustard greens and encased in the thinnest pastry.
The inventive cocktail list is peppered with Indian-flavoured buzz words: kaffir-lime-leaf-infused vodka in the honeyed Proper Copper; saffron, fennel and coriander muddled with bourbon in the Mughal Fortification cocktail. And that goes for the great choice of soft cocktails too, including a rose-sherbet and almond-milk Mudra Punch. Next, change up your drinks order and choose from the huge wine list, which takes in bottles from Lebanon to Argentina and everywhere in between, or sink a grand cru ale from Belgium, sour as you like to balance out the rib-stickiness of that brilliant soy keema.
Come here for an inventive take on India’s regional favourites; at £80 the tasting menu is a treat but there are also three- or four-course options packed with Mehrotra’s signature twists.
On comes the food, each dish presented with flair. We love the Kasmiri morels, earthy and rich and served in a creamy sauce with walnut powder. My companion raves about the beet and peanut butter vadai, though I prefer the perfectly cooked baked cod amritsari. Rather less pretty but nonetheless delicious is a hearty clay pot of soy keema – you really won’t believe it isn’t meat – topped with a quail egg.
Things start getting heavy with a round of kulcha bread, which comes with a choice of meat or veg stuffings alongside generous bowls of wasabi cucumber raita and rich black dairy dal. The bizarre-looking winter vegetable tart – seemingly thrown together with the air of a last-minute student art project – is a bit of a letdown, though the flavoursome chicken kofta redeems matters. Last come the puds; the makhan malai is sweet and perfumed with a shower of flaked almonds and rose petal brittle, but this Brit personally thinks the treacle tart blows it out of the water, small, simple and wonderfully sticky with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top.
With food this imaginative and considered, it surely won’t be long till the Michelin star-makers come calling.
Source: Condenast Traveller