I'm recommending this restaurant for five reasons.
1. The food ... obviously! We Brits have come to enjoy Indian food over the years and often talk of 'going for a curry': something nice to do but nothing out of the ordinary. Well, Indian by Nature is extraordinary. The secret lies in the subtlety of the flavours. Instead of hitting you over the head with a curry-rush, the food stays in your mouth and says, 'Wait just a moment, I've got something to tell you.'. Then, slowly, it begins to unwind on the tongue like fabulous wine. You sit there, and you chew, and you think, 'this isn't a curry, this is cuisine. The real deal. I want more and I want it often.'
2. The decor & ambience. Lighting a restaurant is so hard, but they have it just right. Then there are the interesting paintings on the walls -- modern in style but not overpoweringly so -- the antiques, the filmy drapes ... it all adds up to a room where you really feel you want to eat and linger. The neighbourhood isn't that great, so this counts as a haven. I noticed on both my visits how popular it is with couples seeking a quiet, romantic experience. I can understand that.
3. The friendly young staff, quick and attentive.
4. Mr. S. Satish Kumar. (Really he should be No.1, but I guess you want to know about the food first, no?) His card describes him as General Manager, but he's much more than that. He's the host. The 'spirit of the place', if you want to go all poetical (and after such a meal as this, you might well.) He will spend as much time as you need to explain things, then he's gone until you need him again, which he will sense without being told. Charming, witty, knowledgeable hosts in this sense are as rare as angels in Hades.
5. Stability. I first visited his restaurant in 2010. In June 2014 I walked into exactly the same restaurant, despite the recent military coup, despite the looming recession outside. Quality hadn't changed a bit. This too is a rare thing.
Do I have criticisms? No, but two observations don't belong in the list above. It's not cheap. However, I'm a big believer in 'you get what you pay for'. The value-for-money factor can't be faulted. I'd rate it as an outstanding 'Buy'. Second, I feel a slight tinge of sympathy for Mr. Kumar's youthful but immaculately trained staff. He runs a right ship, and rightly so. You will know Mr. Kumar when you see him. He's The Man.
Finally, check out the list of available gins. Unbelievable!
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