Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides
The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories
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 â good food at very reasonable prices in lively, agreeable surroundings. Mela, which means âfairâ or âfestivalâ sits on the site of the unlamented and unfortunately named CafÃ© Coq, and is brightly done out with embroidered festival bunting, Indian toy ferris wheels and a large naÃ¯ve painting.
It is the first restaurant of chef Kuldeep Singh, previously of The Red Fort and Soho Spice, who 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 Delhiâs narrow lanes, the Parathey Wali Gali, or bread sellers street. At Mela, this translates to 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 âwrapsâ 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, thereâs 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, good traditional desserts. Earlier problems with service are being resolved.