See the Lotus bloom for yourselves in the heart of Soho
05 Jun 2016
For a restaurant that’s selling fine Indian dining just off Leicester Square, anyone can be forgiven for expecting nothing more than a tourist trap. Even from the outside, Lotus doesn’t particularly get any more promising or give you something to shout about, however, no one could be more mistaken than I.
Lotus has already got some sharp competition, needing to live up to the likes of Benares and Cafe Spice Namaste, two of the other fabulous fine Indian dining experiences in town. The dark grey interior, tiled floor and splash of orange from the bar could be matched with any type of restaurant, being that it’s not the traditional Indian decor, however, the distinct aroma of mixed spices coming from the kitchen could only belong to one cuisine and one cuisine only.
There is an overwhelming need to mention the pre-requisites and first indication that this meal and the food produced here was going to be something special: Rice, Potato and Finger Millet Poppadums (£2.75) were not the standard circular crispy boards, served with a silver tray of condiments and yesterday’s onions. Instead, the tasty poppadums were served up with a sophisticated collection of apricot, mango, mint, red chilli and green tomato chutneys.
The manager was as sociable as he was knowledgeable, happy to recommend dishes and re-work the menu to cater to any needs. For starters, the Rabbit Kheema with Green Peppercorns and Missi Roti (£9.75) couldn’t have been cooked better, making the meat incredibly tender and basically, just amazing, outshining the other (but still bloody fantastic) starters of Corn chaat golgappa (£3.75) and Masala Prawn, Duck Eggs and Green Lentil Wraps (£8.75).
Mains came off the grill. A rich and flavoursome Duck Seekh (£12.75), with its meaty flavour being transformed and complemented with orange, dates and chilli dip. Lamb Chops (£17.75) were juicy with strong garlic pickle, Indian onion and chilli salad. The vegetable dish was another highlight; Dal Maa Dumpukth (£5.75) with black lentils left to simmer overnight in garlic, butter and cream. The Bread Basket (£3.75), and Saffron and Green Peas Rice (£4.75) were great accompaniments to the main attraction and won’t make too much difference to the numbers on the finishing cheque, since they are quite reasonably priced.
Usually for Indian cuisine there is part of the menu that can be best forgotten, but for Lotus, the Baked Rasmalai with Rose Syrup and Pineapple Chutney (£6.75) is the way to end the perfect meal and an absolutely stunning dessert. Similar to a rich cheesecake without the biscuit base, the rose and pineapple were a match made by cupid himself.
The fine Indian dining is exactly what is served and that good ol’ phrase: ‘never judge a book by its cover’ definitely springs to mind. It’s easy to get a great curry for a good price across London, with the likes of Brick Lane being a candy store of Indian restaurants, so fine Indian dining has its work cut out in order to get diners to splash the cash. For Lotus, this is exactly it, they’ve pulled the rabbit out of the hat and made magic happen with one of the best fine Indian dining experiences around.