Another casual Indian newcomer might not raise much of an eyebrow in Soho or Shoreditch but here in Mayfair it’s big news. Lucknow 49 comes courtesy of ex-Sat Bains and Fat Duck chef Dhruv Mittal, who has grafted the biryanis of his Wardour Street restaurant Dum Biryani House onto a menu inspired by the slow-cooking of Uttar Pradesh in northern India.
In reality that means a familiar line-up of classic curry-house dishes prepared to a high standard and with notably reasonable prices for a location just off New Bond Street.
Galawat kebabs – three vibrantly spiced beef patties as melt-in-the-mouth as the menu promises – were the pick of our starters, although we also enjoyed saffron- and cream-flavoured chicken thighs imprinted with the smoky taste of charcoal, and the palate-cooling jumble of yoghurt and rice dumplings of the kachori chaat.
We followed with a curry of spiced lamb leg in a sauce cooked down low and slow to a level of meaty, gravy-like thickness, while a deeply-flavoured dal and some raita stirred into a vegetable biryani made up our veg side orders, with some beautifully soft kulcha bread to mop everything up.
The setting is as casual as the cooking – earthy tones, banquettes covered in slouchy fabrics – and while the friendly staff fit right in with the informal mood, they have some spot-on suggestions and deliver slick service. Stick to a bottle of the very decent house wine and two people could eat well here for £45 a head – brilliant value for the most expensive part of town.