Where to eat in London... Dinner at Lotus
A fine Indian dining restaurant located in the heart of West-End London, I visited Lotus a few weeks ago with my friend Natalie to trial their delicious traditional Indian cuisine.
|Nicely set :-)|
Greeted by a waiter upon entry, we were shown to a beautifully set table and handed a menu whilst the waitress explained a little about the restaurant and their ethos. Named after the national flower of India, Lotus signifies purity, spiritual awakening and grace, which are brought across in the venues décor and fine dining menu. Their team of chefs have worked in the finest luxury hotels in Indian, and trained by ‘the grand master chef of Indian cuisine’.
Having presumed this was our starter, we were then brought a ‘PRE-starter’ of Corn Chaat Golgappa with Jaliijerra. To translate in English (!), the corn chaat golgappa was a crispy corn shell that had been filled with fresh sweetcorn and herbs, which the jalijerra, a coriander spiced sauce, can then be poured in to. A bit fiddley (especially trying to bite into the shell, which would then break and spill sweetcorn all over the place…. but perhaps that was just me!), yet very tasty all the same.
As Natalie is allergic to coriander, she asked the waitress about the ‘safe’ options, and she was excellent at suggesting ones that could be altered to suit her requirements, without diminishing the flavour of the dish. In the end, Natalie chose the Masala Prawn, Duck Eggs and Green Lentil Wrap. Served with what we would categorize as more of a samosa than a ‘wrap’, although not what we expected, it was just as tasty, and much more Indian authentic!
|Finally, starter no.4!|
For the mains, with my love of seafood, I was debating between the Prawn Kebab, served with smoked red pepper, cinnamon and a chive relish, or the Lobster Tails and Queenie. “Go for the lobster,” the waitress advised, “you’ll definitely be happy with that one”. Needless to say, she was right!
|Lobster Tails and Queenie|
Whilst I sometimes think lobster is a little too much effort for what you get (cracking all the parts open, just to get a tiny bit of meat) – this was not the case this time! With the meat being gently cut away from the shell, it was easy to pull away and blend into the deliciously creamy curry sauce – mild, with a ginger, coconut and curry leaf blend.
|Adding some sides|
Natalie went for the Lamb Shanks Khorma, with roast potato mash, papaya pickle, spices, green cardamom and cashew. Whilst I couldn’t fault my curry in the slightest, it was Natalie’s dish that really stole the show, served coated in real 23 karat gold!
|Lamb shanks - yes, that is real gold!|
Guessing the first question on your mind will be what did gold taste like, which was my question too (!), but to tell you the truth it didn’t have much of a flavour at all – more for decorative purposes than anything else. Just a nice added touch! The lamb shanks themselves were just as impressive - tender and very generously sized – my photo doesn’t quite do them justice!
|Potato mash and pickles|
To compliment our mains, alongside some delicious nans, we were recommended three side dishes, which we were more than happy to accept. Steamed basmati rice, a traditional lentil dahl (minus the coriander), and a roasted aubergine dip. The latter was my favourite - I’m definitely going to try find a recipe to make it at home!
With too many courses to count, we felt like we’d eaten a banquet feast for 10, so when it came to deserts we honestly couldn’t contemplate where we’d have enough room! However, when the menu came, we were intrigued…
From almond Kheer (a sweetened rice pudding like desert with a more liquid consistency), to Baked Rasmalai (cheese dumplings in a sweet sauce), to Raspberry and Cranberry Shrikhand (strained yoghurt sweetened with fruit and aromatic spices) - there certainly wasn’t a chocolate brownie or sticky toffee pudding in sight! It was the deep fried ice cream we were most intrigued by though…. and what we got certainly wasn’t what we expected!
|Our chosen desert|
Coated in a filo pastry, the ‘ice-cream’ inside had the strangest texture either of us had ever tasted, whilst the orange dish on the left, although looks like a nice sorbet, was actually what is called Rasgulla – a spongey semonlina dough dumpling cooked in a light syrup. The pink dish to the right – Falooga and Basil Seed – was again, just very odd!
So, whilst the desert didn’t quite hit the mark on our British taste buds, we absolutely could not fault the rest of the meal. With main courses costing £15 - £25, a three-course dinner (excluding drinks) would be around £40 per person. Although not a budget option, it’s certainly worth it for a special occasion. Service second to none, impeccably presented food, and a menu to die for, Lotus is a venue that certainly should not be missed, and I would like to thank the entire team for such a fantastic experience. Certainly one I will not forget!
|Oops, did we really eat all that food?! Too tasty to refuse!|