Review of 'Chutney Mary'

A personal favourite

Note: This review was made for “Chutney Mary” before it moved to it's new location near Green Park at 73 St. James's Street, London SW1A 1PH.

This is been touted as the “Best Indian in London”, so, would it live up to this billing? I am here to tell you, it does indeed! I would suggest for myself that this is the best traditional Indian meal I have ever experienced in terms of quality, service and atmosphere. Of course, it is probably the most expensive Indian restaurant I have ever been as well…

Finding the restaurant is not too difficult but it is not really on the beaten path located a short 10 minute walk from the nearest tube station in a slightly unusual location close as it is to the Chelsea FC football stadium. A rather unassuming entrance we were greeted and shown to our seats. The main body of the restaurant is in the basement area with a small room for parties upstairs. The interior is elegant yet warm and inviting with comfortable seating throughout. We were lucky enough to be early and given a seat in the round glass conservatory that has a tree growing in the middle of it that, of us, simply showed the dark rain of a London winter evening.

Our server was extremely friendly and we were happy enough to leave him to the ordering for us though we did guide him in a particular direction. The food is typically Indian with sharing dishes available throughout (with the exception of perhaps the starters and puddings which are plated for individuals - though we did not let that stop us from sharing them!).

We started with the “Calamari Goan Style” (£11) which looked for all the world like a tinned prepared pasta but tasted nothing like it - Wonderfully tender squid rings in a tomato-based spicy sauce. We also had the “Dusk Galouti” (£9.50) which was two duck round fried cakes with a blueberry chutney that worked surprisingly well with the duck that was itself very tender and fell apart in the mouth almost like a pate.

For our mains our server gave us some suggestions but so concerned he was about recommending items marked as “spicy” on the menu that to be sure we were happy had some of the sauce brought out for us to make sure we were not overwhelmed (it was only really a bit spicy and so delicious!). Central dishes were the Mangalore Prawn Curry (£21.50) - large firm prawns in a slightly spicy sauce - Chicken Butter Masala (£17.50) - lovely tender chicken in a masala sauce. The sides were terrific as well - Naan Peshwari (£3.75) - quite small but very dense and full of nuts and flavour, large Raja Aloo (£8) - crunchy fried potato slices in sauce (how they stayed crispy I can't imagine), and Water Cress Raita (£5) - a yoghurt-based sauce that worked well with pretty much everything (or even, as I ended up doing, simply by itself) including wonderful notes of pomegranate seeds. We had originally thought of ordering the standard balsmati rice but the waiter changed our minds and had us get the Vegetable Biryani rice (£16.75) - We were so glad he did! Coming in a pot covered with a pastry crust to keep the rice moist and flavourful, it was perfect for the meal with not an overwhelming taste that worked well as a base for the other dishes.

Amazingly for the three of us this rather small assortment of dishes was more that enough for us but we were still talked into desserts. We started with the homemade sorbet (£6) with three flavours - mandarin orange (delicious and not overly sweet), chocolate (an odd choice for sorbet but wonderfully dark and, again, not overly sweet), and raspberry (the sweetest of them all but a deep, dark flavour). Our server also convinced us to try the chocolate fondant (£7) that was amazing - a small chocolate fondant with a perfect molten center accompanied by a frozen yoghurt.

None of us were really drinkers so were pleasantly surprised to find a small section of the drinks menu particularly good for us. We had a rhubarb lassi (£4.50) - a yoghurt-based drink that, though not large, was very rich and delicious, also we had the fruitini (£4.50) which was a nice mix of fruit juices but not too sweet. The Belu water was also amazing (£4.25) as it does not have the saltiness of other mineral waters.

We had a wonderful evening. The service was impeccable even as the restaurant got busier when the evening wore on (just wave your hand in the air or look around expectantly and someone magically seemed to appear). The food was incredible. Such depth of flavour and not overwhelming at all. Comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. At about £50 each (including service) this was not a cheap meal but is very much worth every penny.

On the weekends they have a buffet lunch which at something like £30 is an amazing bargain that we will have to take advantage of.

If you are a fan of traditional (ok, perhaps slightly fusion) Indian cooking but have not been to Chutney Marys, the question would be: Why? If you can, go, now.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2012-12-15

Cuisine: Indian

Address: 535 Kings Road, London SW10 0SZ ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Fulham Broadway

Location: London (England) - Chelsea



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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7351 3113