If you missed Lokhandwala when it first opened in early 2017, you’d be forgiven—after all, London is currently experiencing a renaissance in high-end, high-style Indian dining, and the plenitude makes it tricky to keep track of new openings. But you’d also be encouraged to visit post-haste.
Lokhandwala strikes a likeable balance between the regal and the playful, in both appearance and cuisine. Its main dining room wears an opulent, bygone glamour in the form of silvered plaster moulding and carved wooden chandeliers, while the whimsical Hot House bar evokes balmier climes with its bird cages and greenery.
Happily, the menu is as transportative as the setting. Here, the classics are as good as they come—the restaurant’s creamy chicken makhani is a standout—but its contemporary riffs on Indian flavours might be even more appealing. Pulao comes studded with morels; generous cubes of paneer are coated in sesame seeds and filled with apricot jam; and Alleppey curry features grilled lobster tails. Wash it all down with a cocktail made with saffron-infused Hennessy, say, or turmeric marmalade—or head to Vijay’s Lounge, the speakeasy upstairs, for a discreet nightcap.