I always say it and I’ll say it again, Indian food is my guilty pleasure. It has flavour, exotic flair, colour, fragrant aromas and the dishes are steeped with so much history which has passed through generations and hundreds of years. I find that all so exciting and enticing. One of London’s newest Indian establishments is Vineet Bhatia London, tucked away on the back streets of Chelsea. The restaurant actually has a rather interesting past. Once known as Rasoi, the restaurant a few years ago had a shiny Michelin star, but then lost it. I’m not sure what went wrong but I’d visited and felt the same, perhaps that it lost the identity it started with. But now, it’s back with a bang and it’s incredible and once again – worthy of a new Michelin star.
The restaurant, now named Vineet Bhatia London is named after its owner and creator with the same name. Menu wise, there’s just one and at one price, which changes throughout the year – meaning repeat customers can be exited every time they visit. The new dining room looks absolutely stunning too. Clean, modern and refined. We started our journey here with an extensive and outstanding selection of amuse bouches. A stunning aloo yoghurt chaat, pao bhaji stuffed roll with a side of bhaji butter and a light idli sambhar topped with a sweet and sour crab chutney. The mini bhaji was great fun, served with a pipette of raita which you squeeze into the middle for a crunchy, exploding mouthful.
Star dish at Vineet Bhatia London has to be the signature scallop, served in one of the most beautiful plates I’ve come across. Each scallop had been cooked with precision, served with giant pearl cous cous, edamame and a lightly spiced dressing. A dish I really hope they always keep on the menu – it has the ‘signature’ feeling all over it.
Probably a dish for We Want Plates, was the mushroom momo, served on a half-broken plate. In terms of cooking and flavour it really couldn’t be faulted. The momo itself had the perfect texture, with dollops of chutney and a cooling yoghurt. Another dish I fell in love with was the perfectly cooked cube of salmon, covered in a spicy dill marinade and refreshing cucumber side dressing. It’s one of those dishes you just can’t quite describe and really needs to be experienced with a visit instead.
What I love most about the food here at Vineet Bhatia London is that there is a never a dull dish and despite it being very modern, they’ve still managed to retain the essence of India and everything it has to offer. The kitchens take on the classic Malai chicken was simply perfect in every way. The single piece of chicken was grilled to sheer perfection, incredibly juicy and the glossy, creamy gravy sauce gave so much flavour in the mouth. Equally as special was the signature grilled lobster with an unusual black foam made with squid ink, baby watermelons and a medley of delicate spices which had been mixed into sauces, purees and chutneys. It’s dishes like these which make the food here so memorable.
The kapi lamb chop, served in more beautifully crockery was another delicious bowl of food. The single lamb chop was cooked perfectly and the dish had just the right level of heat to it from the spices – with the silky gravy drizzled over the meat at the table.
The tasting menu priced at £105 (at time of writing and excluding wines) may not be the cheapest around – but you get so much quality and are taken on multi-sensory experience. A sweet palate cleanser arrived just before dessert and was aptly named, coconut calm. Full of fresh coconut flavours and it really does calm all of those flavours in the mouth, meaning desserts can be enjoyed just that little bit more.
A glass of sweet Tokaj wine later and the first of our desserts arrived – chocomosa. I actually remember this dish from when the restaurant was known as Rasoi and somehow they’ve made it even better this time around. A flaky samosa, filled to the brim with chocolate and served with a chocolate puri, stuffed with cheese and a shot of pistachio milk on the side. A lovely take on the classic pani puri and I enjoyed every single bite.
My favourite dessert from the menu was this caramel kulfi. Completely unrecognisable, the whole thing is served on a slab of Himalayan salt and topped with shards of sesame brittle, crunchy black quinoa and more caramel sauce. It was one of those dishes which really makes you smile.
Finishing up on a huge platter of petit fours (oh that chai ganache), it was sadly time to depart Vineet Bhatia London – back into the cold rainy streets of Chelsea. We had such a terrific meal at this new Chelsea recreation and while London already has some very good Indian restaurants, Vineet and his team have truly created something special here. Once this restaurant was great, then just good and now it’s one of London’s best Indian restaurants and currently the best Indian restaurant in Chelsea. If you’re looking for that special meal to remember, come here – you really won’t regret it.