Eating at the UK’s Oldest Indian Restaurant

September 12, 2022 Update – on a recent trip to London I went back to Veeraswamy, but this time the food was not as good. It lacked flavor. Its almost as if the tastes were “dumbed down”. Less spice, less seasoning. Maybe they were just having an off day. Who knows, but given the number of choices for Indian in the city, I probably won’t be back to find out. Note that I have tried the other Indian restaurants in the same group (Amaya and Chutney Mary [review coming] and they are excellent). On this ocassion we started with assorted papadum.

Followed by samosas:

It was the next two dishes which were disappointing. The chicken tikka masala and crab biryani.

The sauce for the chicken tikka lacked complexity. It was like the sauce was not developed enough and lacked spices. The crab was just ok. Overall, service and food were not as good as the first time around so I would not return.

Original Visit – Indian food has a prominent place in England. In fact, if you Google “national dish of England”, you may be surprised that it is not fish & chips, but Chicken Tikka Masala. I love Indian food in London. Although I have yet to visit India, the Indian food in London tastes better than anywhere else I have had it. From street to Michelin level, its all there for you.

Every time I visit London, I try to go to a new place I have not been. On a recent trip, this place was Veeraswamy. They have one Michelin star and claim to be the oldest Indian restaurant in the UK. Upon entering, we were greeted by a gentleman in a fancy outfit and then an elegant dining room with lots of beauty on display like colorful turbans.

Here are some pics from the menu which detail a bit more about the history, and the tasting menu we had.

The meal started with a delicious amuse full of flavor and set the tone for the evening:

Unfortunately, they ran out of Chicken Tikka for the first course and substituted it for paneer. This was disappointing.

For the main, we had a quartet of different curries with rice and naan.

Each was delicious. My favorites were the chicken and prawn. The welsh was ok and the pineapple was really interesting. I never had this before, and an Indian colleague of mine also never heard of it. It provided a nice acidity to the rest of the meal.

Finally, dessert:

Overall, service was good and the food was delicious. I also had the wine pairing which was very well done, especially the Bordeaux which was served with the main. It paired very well with the curries, and especially, the lamb. I would return.

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