Lokhandawala – Indian Tapas in a Colonial Setting
By Tom Wilkinson
A short walk from Goodge Street station on the ever-culinary Charlotte Street lies Lokhandwala. In a distinctively decorated, colonial style, this Indian tapas restaurant is part of a wave of new restaurants reimagining what a curry house can be.
Sip – The Cocktails
Our tasting menu featured two cocktails each and four tapas dishes to try. We opted for the mead-like Saint and Pina Colada-esque Holi.
The Saint features Benedictine, gin, and maple syrup for a winter warmer that really helps to combat the spicier dishes. The strong, sweet flavour is reminiscent of mulled or a dessert wine. Not only does it calm the tongue, but it is strong enough to hold its own and not be overpowered by the stronger flavours in some of the dishes.
The Holi is based on ginger infused tequila with white chocolate liqueur and cinnamon syrup. While there is a good taste of mescal throughout, I would’ve preferred a stronger ginger flavour. Overall, it was like a lighter Pina Colada, pleasant and cooling.
Savour – The Food
For our tapas dishes we chose the Indian mezze platter, lamb sliders, scallops and Himalayan quail. The mezze platter features mini naans, sauces and okra kurkure. This served as a small starter for two people, and the garlic naan is excellent. The okra has a good crunch but is best used to try the range of sauces that range from mild to medium spice.
The lamb sliders paired succulent lamb burgers with a delicious, lightly spiced mayonnaise. A good-sized portion of fries along with the burger buns made this the most filling of the dishes we tried. Be careful not to have too much of the green sauce as it was the spiciest part of the whole evening.
The scallops were nicely presented on a betel nut leaf and cooked with a sweet chilli sauce that complemented the flavour of the scallop. A slight kick to this dish, but overall it was once again not too spicy.
The quail was spicier still, but it did overpower the gamey flavour of the meat. The meat was tender and easy to pull off the bone and went well with the sweet potato on the side. A whole quail doesn’t go very far when shared, though, so I would recommend having it as an individual dish.
If you aren’t in the mood for tapas, there is also a range of chef’s specials. These are larger, more traditional curry dishes served with rice on the side.
Overall, none of the dishes were particularly spicy, which was good for my companion’s palate. A fresh take on traditional dishes might not be for everyone, but if that’s what you are looking for, this is the place for you.
Their cocktails are imaginative and interesting and rather steal the show.
To learn more, visit the Lokhandawala website at http://www.lokhandwala.co.uk
Contributor Tom Wilkinson is a software developer by day and podcaster by night. He hosts a podcast about quality alcohol at https://drwilko.org and co-hosts a talk show podcast with his friend Mike at http://hatofmanythings.com.