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Victory House, 99 Regent Street
Founded in 1926, London’s oldest Indian is currently under the aegis of MW Eat, the company behind Chutney Mary and Amaya. Those regal beginnings live on in a blingy room with silver ceilings and multi-coloured glass lanterns, while the old colonial relationship remains alive and well in cooking that blends tip-top renditions of the classic repertoire with some dramatic house specials.
Kick off with punchily spiced chicken tikka ahead of a rich roast duck vindaloo, or go off-piste with raj kachori (a crunchy puri filled with yoghurt and vegetables), followed by a pie of flaky pastry cracked open to reveal slow-cooked lamb shank. Also, don’t neglect vegetable sides such as cauliflower with chilli and cumin, which might very well be the best thing that you eat all night. The plum Regent Street location means that tourists and Indian families rub shoulders with gangs of City boys, but charming staff cope deftly whether you’re here for romance or blowing the bonus.
Square Meal Silver Awards
Victory House, 99 Regent Street
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 274m
Green Park Tube Station 553m
Heddon Street 135m
Royal Academy of Arts (Burlington House) 165m
Mon-Sun 12N-2.15pm 5.30-10.30pm (Sun 12.30-2.30pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Good food and portions. The décor is a bit eclectic. Be prepared for lots of tourists. Service is friendly but can be a little inattentive at times.
Food + drink: 4
Prawn as an appetizer was excellent, loli-pop Chicken was good, Raj kachouri was nice. Main dishes were good in portions and very authentic as well as not over spiced
Atmosphere was really nice — we had a great time — we really enjoyed the evening. Keep up the tradition and good food and service.
Do not be put off either by the location (close to Piccadilly Circus) or the potentially tourist-inducing claim as “London's oldest Indian restaurant.” For me, Veeraswamy ranks among the best Indian dining experiences the capital has on offer. I first went here in 2000 for a function in the restaurant's private dining room and have been back 20+ times since, both for business and for pleasure, it thereby remaining a firm favourite. Begin with the anticipation: one enters through a small door on a side-street into a mirrored lobby and then awaits a lift to go up to the main dining room. Despite having been open for over 80 years, the restaurant has received several make-overs, most recently in 2005. The style is modern but with a very obvious nod to the art déco glamour which would have been associated with the resaurant's opening in 1926; think, more mirrors and eccentrically tasteful lighting for example. There are few ‘bad’ tables in the restaurant. My preference is for the two-person booth, left and round the corner when one comes in, perfect both for intimacy and people-watching, while the tables overlooking Regent Street provide a privileged position from which to observe life outside. Next the drinks: inventive cocktails and also an updated wine list since my previous visit. The wine list is compiled by expert Matthew Jukes and is surprisingly broad. Far from the most obvious (to my mind) pairing of Riesling with Indian, only one such wine (and from Austria rather than either the New World or Germany) appeared on the menu, many other choices were available. My dining comrade and I were impressed with an Italian Fiano, crisp and refreshing, a bracing contrast to the food. Now, the food: one reason to favour Veeraswamy is that it caters well for vegetarians in addition to the more carniverous. Therefore, while I was able to enjoy a robustly gamey venison kebab with tamarind sauce for my starter, my comrade partook in paneer kebabs, which met with approbation. For our main, we shared one of the three vegetarian options (kofta – or fried balls of chickpeas and other vegetables – in a superbly creamy yet spicy sauce) along with three vegetarian sides. This proved more than ample and gave us a chance to sample a variety of dishes. The ‘aubergine caviar’ remains one of my all-time favourite dishes, which I have not seen bettered elseewhere. No complaints, and I will be sure to be returning soon.
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