London’s doing well for fancy Indian restaurants right now. There’s Chutney Mary, which has settled well into its new St James’s home, Gymkhana and Trishna from the always-reliable JKS group and recently-refurbished Tamarind in Mayfair. Another one for your posh popadom list is Kutir in Chelsea.
It replaces Vineet Bhatia London, which I liked, with new owner Rohit Ghai keeping a similar dinner-at-someone’s-house vibe. The small dining room at the front (the living room) is deathly quiet but there’s an elegance to it all. It’s dark and cosy.
Quail naan (Â£12) is an interesting blend of flavours. There’s rich gamey quail, crisp buttery bread, scrambled egg and shaved truffle. It’s unexpected and fun. Masala prawns (Â£12) come in an impossibly light batter. There’s enough heat to tingle but not burn.
Lamb tandoori chops (Â£16), a must order in any good Indian restaurant, are glorious. The meat is soft while the fat has crisped up like a good’en. The burned blackened bits provide huge lamby flavour.
Paneer (Â£12), Dad, that’s a type of Indian cheese, comes topped with sweetcorn and popcorn. Why not, eh? The paneer has been given the same treatment as that lamb so there’s charred crispy bits providing a contrasting texture to the squeaky centre. Lush.
For mains, the lamb shank with roganjosh sauce (Â£18) is a large chunk of soft, squishy meat. The fat melts away as we eat it while the tomato sauce cuts through the richness. Less successful is the duck Korma (Â£18). The sauce is great; light and creamy with bags of flavour. But the wild duck is far too gamey and overpowers everything.
A bread basket (Â£8) shows the kitchens competence. There’s paratha, garlic and plain naan, all light and not in the least bit stodgy. Another Indian staple, aloo saag (Â£6), sees a heavenly bowl of potatoes and spinach cooked just right.
A chocolate tart spiced with chilli (Â£9) is a real highlight. The balance of rich Valrhona chocolate and tongue tingling chilli is perfect. Best of all is two little nuggets of deep fried banana with a sweet caramel sauce. Pure sugary indulgence.
Kutir is a cute, romantic spot serving really tasty food. It isn’t flash or showey. Service is equally understated with warmth and friendliness coming from each member of staff. I think you’ll like Kutir.
Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant