London is all about Indian food right now, especially when it comes to fine dining. One of the city’s newest Indian restaurants Ooty opened up on Baker Street back in February and now just around the corner, they’ve launched the more casual Ooty Station. One thing to note before you visit is that this isn’t a restaurant as such, it’s a cafe and bar serving Indian snacks, selection of large bows, dosas and its focus – delicious cocktails. For sports fans, there’s also two plasma screen TV’s and the music playing in the background which will certainly get you in the mood.
We took our seats, settled in and ordered some cocktails from the menu. To start and my absolute favourite – Tiger Hill. A spirit heavy drink made with smoky aromatic Rampur whisky, ginger, black cardamom and juniper smoke. It arrived served in a glass dome filled with smoke which wafted across the table. The drink felt so well constructed, smooth, balanced – you could tell they’ve spent a lot of time putting the drinks list together to get them all perfect.
Another sold offering was the Date to Remember. An elegant and clean old-fashioned cocktail which used Amrut Indian single malt whisky, given a twist with mango vermouth and dates. Again, very well executed and so smooth that not even that whiskey burn was detectable. At £12, they’re pretty good value too given the quality of each.
As we sipped on our cocktails and watched the world go by from our window seat, we tucked into some of the bar bites. Starting with these methi lamb samosas. To look at they are a little anaemic in colour, but they were so perfectly crispy, the filling inside was excellent with a good amount of spice and the tamarind chutney for dipping was delicious. A little more colour just to please the eye and they’ve got these spot on.
One of my favourites of the small bites were these goat’s cheese and jalapeño ghatti masala buns. They were not too dissimilar to Cornish pasty, but with their vegetarian Indian inspired filling – something about these were just so addictive that I could have eaten many, many more of them.
Another small bite later and the flavour of this crispy curry leaf squid and the golden crunchy batter it was covered in was fantastic, but the squid itself was very overcooked which took away some of the enjoyment. A little more care and this dish will no doubt become a real favourite.
The curries here are absolutely magic and the Keralan lamb stew with coconut rice was no exception. Portion/price wise I felt it was a little out of sync, but given just how silky and richly flavoured that sauce was I really didn’t care and the rice was practically perfect. If you come here, order this.
If I had to pick my favourite dish, it would have to be their selection of dosa and I went for the most simplest and what was probably the best. A nicely formed crispy dosa, filled with a rich garlic-tempered soya spinach mix which was similar to a lasooni palak. It also had all of the classic accompaniments such as sambhar, coconut chutney & tomato chutney – all of which I couldn’t fault. This may have been just a small dosa in terms of size, but it was perfectly formed and so satisfying to eat. Top tip – use your hands and dunk away into those sauces.
For dessert, a very enjoyable rose kulfi which went down a treat and it was the perfect refreshing end to our lunch. I really liked Ooty Station (especially those cocktails) but there’s still a little improvement in terms of its identity I felt. It’s not really a restaurant, a bar or a cafe but a mix of them all. Modern Indian Sports Bar? Perhaps. Would I come back? If I was in the area – yes!
NB: My meal was complimentary. All views are as always, my own. My views are not influenced by anyone other than my own palate and slightly poor eyesight.