“I loved the food and the service… just perfect!” Drew Barrymore
Popular with both critics and celebrities, the Mela restaurant, run by India’s renowned chef Kuldeep Singh, well deserves it excellent reputation as one of the best Indian restaurants in London. Its location on Shaftesbury Avenue, in the heart of theatre land, makes it the perfect spot for dining before or after a West End show. When I was invited to try out the restaurant, as you can imagine, I was more than happy to oblige.
From the outside it certainly doesn’t look anything special but having read about the awards they have received and the many excellent reviews, I knew we were in for a real treat!
“Mela has earned an enviable reputation for delivering authentic dishes at fair prices.” Time Out, Eating and Drinking Guide
Satu, our waiter, was happy to recommend a few dishes for us to try. His choices sounded excellent and it wasn’t long before he brought us a collection of mouth-watering dishes.
We started with gilap seekh kebabs – chargrilled spiced minced lamb with seasonal vegetables, a traditional dish from North India. These spicy kebabs were perfectly complimented by the slightly sweet, pickled vegetables. We also tried the Punjabi vegetable samosa – delightfully crispy pastry filled with potato, green peas and fragrant cumin and ginger.
These were delicious but it was at the main course that really shined. The gosht rogannjosh is a traditional hot, lamb curry from Delhi in which the lamb is slowly cooked in spices, onions and tomatoes. We also tried the kozi verte curry – a dish from the coast of spicy chicken curry flavoured with coconut, fennel and curry leaves. These were both superb but it was the black lentil dal that I couldn’t get enough of! All this came with the Punjabi flatbread paratha, naan bread and rice.
At the end of our meal I had to agree with Andrew… “The best Indian food I have ever had.” Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber
The Mela group has two restaurant’s, one on Shaftesbury Avenue in London’s West End and the other in Redhill in the heart of Surrey, both specialising in authentic Indian cuisine at a reasonable price. If you are stuck for a last-minute present they offer gift vouchers for dining, takeaways or for their fabulous cookery classes. They also have the Mela Limitless Card with which you can get some great money off deals.
The Mela group do a superb range of cookery classes available at both of their restaurants.