Highly rated Indian restaurant Indian Accent, owned by restaurant group Old World Hospitality, this month opened its first European outpost. The group already operates successful sites in New Delhi and New York. The Indian flagship is the only restaurant in India to feature on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and has been named the best restaurant in India by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for three successive years. The London iteration has opened on the former site of Chor Bizarre, on Mayfair’s Albemarle Street.
Old World Hospitality chairman Rohit Khattar, alongside chef and owner Manish Mehrotra, has been trying to bring Indian Accent to London for a while. Khattar, a restaurateur with over 20 years of experience of operating in London, credits Mehrotra with redefining Indian cuisine. The chef has won numerous awards for his inventive take on Indian cuisine, which he describes as “Indian food with an international accent -or the other way around.”
Designed by Design LSM, the interior of the restaurant has been entirely overhauled since its days as Chor Bizarre. True to plans, the design is ‘contemporary and clean’, with pearly walls, low level lighting and screened walls with a design evoking the Indian Accent logo. The lobby is, in contrast, dark and intimate, with a staircase leading to the lower level dining room and its glowing cabinets of rare whiskies.
At dinner, diners can choose from a nine-course chef’s tasting menu for £80, a three-course for £55, or a four-course for £65. Lunch menus comprise a two-course, a three-course or a six-course tasting menu alongside an a la carte. The menu is, as Khattar promised in Restaurant magazine in November, “different to that of any Indian restaurant in the UK”, offering modern and inventive twists on Indian classic dishes. “Our presentation and the way we construct our dishes is non-Indian but the way the dishes are flavoured and spiced is exactly as you’d find in an Indian home,” he says.
Among the small, delicate plates are soy keema, quail egg and lime leaf butter pao; and a truffle-scented kashmiri morel dish with walnut powder and parmesan papad. There are some more unusual Indian dishes on the menu, such as the medieval ‘makhan malai’, made of aerated milk infused with saffron topped with rose, gold and almonds; and ghee roast lamb with roomali roti pancakes and a selection of chutneys - an Indian twist on Peking duck. British ingredients also appear in dishes, including breakfast favourites smoked bacon, black pudding, or mushrooms stuffed, inside kulcha flatbreads, served with black daal and wasabi raita.
The cocktail selection comprises favourites from the New York outpost as well as new items created exclusively for London. Albemarle Chai Punch is a house-made milk punch featuring Batavia Arrack, Earl Grey, and Virgin Amaro. A ‘Smoke and Violet’ is a twist on an Aviation, with mezcal, Maraschino liqueur, and Creme de Violette. The restaurant also carries a large selection of rare whiskies, available to order as a flight, alongside wine pairings.
And another thing
During soft launch, the kitchen at the London restaurant was watching the Conde Nast Restaurant awards, live from India. While completing a slick service, the team also discovered that its Newe Delhi restaurant had taken the top spot - adding another string to its bow, and a promising start to the restaurant’s success.