Run as a spin-off from Neasden’s awe-inspiring Swaminarayan Temple (worth a visit in its own right), Shayona occupies what looks like an industrial warehouse on the adjoining car park. Once inside, however, it’s smart & suitably exotic – from the chandeliers & wall paintings to the gold-relief panels & foliage. The menu’s heart is in the subcontinent’s vegetarian & sattvic traditions (no pungent garlic or onions), but it roams freely, picking up dishes from all over. Aloo papdi chaat, samosas, bhel-pooris & kachori are there to be nibbled, while dosas, assorted veggie curries & dhals offer something more sustaining. There’s also a Gujarati buffet every weekday lunchtime (£6.99), & full thalis (£10.95) are added at the weekends. Note that the place doesn’t allow alcohol, but juices, lassi & spiced chaas (buttermilk) makes amends. Pick up some nibbles from the sweet counter as you leave.
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