I first visited this Indian restaurant a few years back when it was called Rasoi and it had a Michelin star. Although nothing was hugely wrong with it the food wasn’t exactly scream-worthy. After losing their star it has since had a refurb, name change and complete menu overhaul – evenings are tasting menu only at £105 per noggin.
We have to knock at the door to get in – the whole experience is like eating in someone’s house which is rather charming. We’re seated in the front room which is deathly quiet so we’re all listening to each other’s conversations. It’s personal taste but I’d rather have some music going.
We start with snacks; a lime soup and prawn chaat – both are big, bold and punchy. Next is ‘Amritsari haddock’ which sees the flakiest, softest fish imaginable deep fried in a burnt-onion-powder batter and placed on a bed of pebbles. It looks most unusual but is utterly delicious.
A slab of silky soft foie gras comes with a beetroot macaroon – a perfect combination even if it does sound a bit odd. Better still is the presentation – on a half broken plate.
Chilli cod certainly lives up to its name, bringing a tear to both my eye and forehead. The small chunk of fish is a morsel most delightful. The swirl of purple potato is a pretty addition.
Duck korma has all the comforting flavours you’d expect from a takeaway curry but it looks far more sophisticated. The slices of duck are rosy pink with a crisp, salty skin. Patiala chicken comes in a rich curry with potato puffs for scooping it all up. Slices of fatty pork chop are topped with deep fried rice noodles for texture. Proper tasty stuff.
Dessert is a load of chocolatey bits with a bird theme – slightly random but certainly very enjoyable. There’s a feather, crispy nest and eggs. It’s quite rich but small enough to be the perfect finisher.
Our chai tea, served in a specially made VBL tea pot, comes with more sweet treats. Strangely for a tasting menu, there’s not one bite to eat we don’t enjoy and the crockery really does make the whole experience memorable.
That’s what I liked about Vineet Bhatia London – there’s the right amount of silliness and flamboyant presentation but the flavour of everything, surely the most important thing, is top notch. The atmosphere might not be for everyone, but the food certainly is.
Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant