Peter Joseph is the latest brave soul to try his luck with this challenging site tucked behind Cadogan Hall (RIP Le Cercle and Canvas), though as the former head chef of Tamarind in Mayfair, he already knows a thing or two about enticing well-heeled customers into basement dining rooms.
Kahani’s website describes how Joseph wanted to fuse Indian recipes with British ingredients and Spanish-sized portions of tapas, though when the staff asked the inevitable question of whether we were familiar with the menu’s concept, this information was not forthcoming; a shame, as advance knowledge of the Indian-European approach would be a useful preparation for the restrained spicing in much of what we ate.
While we enjoyed pairs of chubby lamb chops, cigar-shaped seekh kebabs and chunks of chicken tikka, we weren’t left with the impression of eating food that tasted especially Indian; better, perhaps, to instead order dishes such as creamy butter chicken, silky tarka dal or slow-cooked lamb shank that rely on richness of flavour for effect and can be scooped up with excellent breads, warm from the tandoor oven.
Prices reflect the Sloane Street location, although on our visit, some of the well-meaning staff lacked the knowledge and polish to back that up, and while the high-ceilinged space looks glitzy, not all of the finishes bear close scrutiny. Basement dining rooms are a hard sell at the best of times, and even Belgravia diners want bang for their buck.