A few months ago Veeraswamy was known predominantly as London oldest Indian restaurant, celebrating its 90th birthday in 2016. Tucked away at a first floor Regent’s Street address, this eatery was only frequented by those in the know. But when the renowned Michelin Guide 2017 was released with Veeraswamy as a new 1 star entry, foodies flocked to try this established restaurant.
The entrance is small and unsuspecting and you will be greeted before heading up in the lift to the dining room. With old fashioned portraits in the lift and traditional music playing in the background, I left like I was travelling back in time. The illusion continued as I stepped out into an opulent restaurant, the alluring smell of spices flavouring the room.
To start we ordered the Tandoori Green Prawns, delicate and juicy wild prawns, grilled to perfection and served with coriander, mint and chilli. I tried the Raj Kachori, a typical street food from Delhi which has become a signature dish at Veeraswamy. Colourful and unique in shape, I was very excited to taste it. The familiar flavours of Rajasthan came flooding back to me, but here the textures were refined and elevated to produce a fine dish of delicious food.
There was a range of elaborate main courses to choose from on the menu, which included a few 90th birthday celebratory additions. We couldn’t resist the Patiala Shahi Raan which our waiter strongly recommended. It was a dramatic dish, a juicy lamb shank encased in thin, crunchy pastry and cooked for a long time. The meat was tender whilst the exterior remained crisp, a brilliantly innovative and tasty dish. A keen lover of Makhani chicken curry we ordered it to trial the Veerswarmy version. The curry was creamy, rich and moreish, paired with garlic naan, lemon rice and saag.
Each component was carefully made and presented prettily, but without being over-stylised and pretentious. There are so many contemporary, ‘trendy’ new Indian restaurants in the city, it feels like Veeraswamy have avoided modernising too much to keep the experience authentic.
Full from our feast of indulgent Indian dishes we only opted for one portion of rose kulfi to share. It was the ideal light dessert after a meal of rich and indulgent curries. Paired with a cup of comforting homemade Masala tea, it was a lovely end to a beautifully refined Indian meal.
More information and book a table at Veeraswamy here.
All photos supplied by the restaurant.