A second London opening from the Leela Palaces Group, this younger sibling of big-hitting Jamavar is a “jovial, fun place” that pays homage to the “dynamism of old Bombay’s dining scene”. Inspired by India’s dabbawala lunchbox deliveries, the menu is big on street food and chaat, while the decor sees bold colours, “a heavy dose of art deco” and references to the subcontinent’s railway network – look out for the nifty hat rack-cum-mirror, overhead luggage racks and cut-glass screens.
Small plates typify the kitchen’s ambitions: doughy naan topped with lightly spiced scrambled egg and earthy truffle shavings; vegetable samosas wrapped in never-bettered pastry and lashed with refreshing mint chutney; chunks of “intensely flavoured” quail coated in Kashmiri chilli paste; warm chunks of meltingly tender goat meat served with bread rolls for dipping.
The menu is bulked out by more substantial items including tandoori lamb chops, venison rogan josh and a “wonderfully flavoursome and diverse” seafood biryani, but we’d recommend the mild Madras chicken curry, accompanied by a side of rice and a moreish wafer-thin podi dosa, ideal for scooping up leftovers.
We enjoyed what we ate, although heat and spice have been toned down for risk-averse Mayfair palates. “Lovely cocktails”, a sundae bar and knowledgeable staff are further pluses at this diverting destination, which also has the advantage of being more affordable than other high-end Indians this side of Regent Street. Appropriately, there’s plenty of “bustle” at lunchtime, and we’re told it gets even livelier in the evening.