SquareMeal Review of
Vineet Bhatia London
VINEET BHATIA LONDON HAS CLOSED AT THIS LOCATION, WITH PLANS TO RE-OPEN ELSEWHERE IN DECEMBER 2017
Vineet Bhatia was one of the brightest stars of Indian dining in the noughties, but as he went on to open restaurants around the world, there was a sense that Rasoi, his refined London flagship, was being eclipsed. Now, the first Indian chef ever to win a Michelin star is back to challenge our preconceptions once again, re-naming Rasoi as Vineet Bhatia London and offering a no-choice tasting menu for £105 (£175 with matched wines). What’s more, it is served with no music, no lunch service and almost no carbs (so no rice, poppadoms or breads). What you do get is cooking that’s as startlingly inventive as ever, from Bhatia classics such as tandoori smoked salmon, or chocolate samosa, to freshly minted creations that reclaim for Bhatia the mantle of Indian food pioneer. Tandoori lamb chop comes in a sweet, rich marinade of coffee and jaggery; salted caramel kulfi is served atop a slab of pink Himalayan salt; and, best of all, half a dozen amuse-bouche size starters include Bhatia’s interpretation of pav bhaji, a soft bread roll stuffed with curried vegetables and melted butter. The presentation sometimes lapses into pretension (tuna tartare borne aloft by a cloud of dry ice), but flavours and textures are never less than vividly precise – and endlessly enjoyable. Bhatia’s wife Rashima has given the Chelsea townhouse’s two small dining rooms a snazzy makeover in grey with splashes of sunburst yellow; service, from suited staff, is on point throughout. In all, a very welcome comeback.