Peter Morrell and his wife are highly impressed with the décor, the food and the service at this stylish new Indian Restaurant
One of my favourite London restaurants is Chai Thali in Camden which offers a unique range of well-crafted Indian dishes. So I was very excited to hear that the owners were planning 1947 LONDON, a new restaurant in Fitzrovia. The emphasis for the new location would be glitz, glamour and an innovative menu.
Arriving at the restaurant even the doorway is a statement, decorated with giant, hand crafted roses. A friendly greeter led us down into the basement where we got our first glimpse of the cavernous dining space. It was simply stunning with an atmospheric sophistication. Straight ahead was the open kitchen where you could see the culinary magic happening and to the right a raised bar area. We were soon settled at our table admiring the décor of coppers, golds and purple and the elegant light fittings.
The name of the restaurant, 1947, refers to the Partition in that year of India. The movement of peoples and cultures during the Partition changes the cuisine of the area and the Northern Indian style menu pays homage to the recipes which evolved during that period.
The dishes are the creation of Chef Krishna Negi, who first made his name when he launched Tangawizi in Richmond Upon Thames in 2004. He then went on to work under Michelin-starred Vineet Bhatia to perfect his skills and harness his raw talent on his way to becoming the accomplished chef he is today.
We got started with a pre-dinner drink, there was a good selection, of Indian themed cocktails, all at £14. After a long day of meetings though we craved a beer, so started with two Cobras, good attention to here, the glasses came straight from the freezer.
The menu was thankfully short, always a good sign. It was divided into sections – nano plates, small plates, sharing bowls, rice & biriyanis, sides and breads. Our only confusion was the size of the nano plates, which turned out to be quite large. We wanted to try something from a number of sections, in nano the Avocado Bombay Bhel a medley of crispy rice puffs served with chopped avocados, tomatoes and a spicy tangy sauce looked appealing but chose the bowl of tri-flavoured Mini Poppadums served with mint and garlic dips.
A dab of sauce on these mouth filling morsels started to give us an appreciation of the subtle flavour of the food.
From the small plates we liked the look of the Grilled Lamb Chops and the Home-Smoked Tandoori Salmon. Our final choice was the Crispy Lamb Kebabs filled with a combination of green herbs and masala cheese and Baby Squid, bite-size squid pieces combined with fresh garlic, green chilli, spices, fried in a light batter and served with a sweet chilli sauce.
Eating these dishes really gave us an insight into the inventive cooking skills of Chef Krishna. We liked the contrasting tastes and textures of the kebab, particularly the cheese and the freshness of the herbs. The tender, moist squid was delicate and enhanced by the sweet chilli dip.
The sharing bowls featured delights like Dhaaba Murg, a light chicken curry from the roadside kitchens of Punjab and Malabar Lamb, mildly spiced coconut flavoured lamb and a famous dish from Kerala. Our selection was Kadai Prawn Masala, tandoori grilled prawns tossed in a kadai sauce.
As sides, we had Pilau Rice and Baby Corn Methi Palak, baby corn stir-fried with sun dried fenugreek leaves and fresh baby spinach.
The prawn dish was masterful, assiduously spiced without masking the taste of the plump seafood. Even more intriguing was the stir-fried baby corn, this was so good that it could almost turn a carnivore into a vegetarian.
The wine list has been well curated with a good range of aromatic whites and robust reds. Both styles would have matched the food. Our pairing was a white, the Terre Del Noce Pinot Grigio Delle Dolomi from the area north of Lake Garda. The wine had good green apple aromas with hints of fruit in the bouquet. On the palate these persisted and were joined by light floral flavours. The well-balanced acidity worked well with the richness of the spices and the finish was bright and crisp.
After what we had eaten desserts were beyond us but a couple that we would have chosen if we were more hungry was Kulfi, authentic Indian ice cream or Phirni, a pistachio, cardamom and coconut flavoured rice pudding.
The combination of the décor, quality of food and welcoming service team made this a memorable meal. Now for the big surprise, all this glitz and glamour comes at a very affordable price, our meal, including drinks and service was under £50 per person.
The restaurant was already busy even though it had only been open for just over a week, so I would recommend booking, particularly at the weekend. One final comment, the raised bar area has a ‘Club’ ambience and I can see this becoming a very popular place to have a drink.
33 Charlotte Street
London W1T 1RR
020 7693 6290