West End & Mayfair
Select an image from below:
152 - 156 Shaftesbury Avenue
0207 112 8984
or 0845 345 1723 ( local rate )
The stretch of Shaftesbury Avenue above Cambridge Circus, has been an infernal black spot on the dining out map of the West End, an area which could have carried a Dante-esque warning: Abandon all hope, you will not find anything to eat or drink here. So the opening of Mela makes a welcome addition, with quite a novel concept for the West End – good food at very reasonable prices in lively, agreeable surroundings. Mela, which means “fair” or “festival”, sits on the site of the unlamented and unfortunately named Café Coq, and is brightly done out with embroidered festival bunting, Indian toy ferris wheels and a large native painting.
It is chef Kuldeep Singh's first restaurant, previously of The Red Fort and Soho Spice. He is clearly a chef with more than a few good ideas in his head, as well as the ability to execute them. Lunches are light and well-balanced, based on the idea of one of Old Delhi’s narrow lanes, the Parathey Wali Gali, or bread sellers street. At Mela, this translates into a previously-unseen variety of breads made from a broad range of flours, available as filled rotis and parathas, as a pizza-like base called uttapam and as “wraps” in the shape of tissue-thin roomali rotis with a good assortment of vegetarian and non-vegetarian toppings. Dinner carries on the festival theme with country style cooking. Try the guinea fowl-stuffed samosas, the crisp whitebait, squid with piri-piri to start, not ignoring the tandoori cuts of lamb marinated in rum and tandoori chicken leg marinated in beetroot. In the tawa (grill) section, there’s a good selection of prawns, scallops and vegetables and from the traditional section, the Allepey seafood curry and roganjosh are not to be missed. Breads are extremely good, and there are good traditional desserts. Earlier problems with service are being resolved.
3 minutes walk from Leicester Square station nr Cambridge Circus.
West End & Mayfair
Casual / Smart
Clientele: Young Professionals
Entertainment: Background Music
Per Head: ￡25