La Porte Des Indes, W1H 7EG
- 020 7224 0055
- 32 Bryanston Street, W1H 7EG
- noon-2:30pm, 7pm-11:30pm Mon-Fri; 7pm-11:30pm Sat; noon-3:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm Sun
A colonial French-influenced Indian eating experience near Marble Arch Station.
Following through on their theme, there is no shortage of opulence on display with the decor here. With seating over two levels (accommodating a huge 300 covers), there are cascading waters, an abundance of plant life, and an imposing circular staircase in the middle of the building. There's even an ersatz bamboo-decorated hut for the bar area, with comfortable wicker furniture. If the rest of your party hasn't arrived, you will be led downstairs to this area first.
In appealing to the jetsetting business class who are presumably staying in the hotels lining Hyde Park, this all comes at a price. Drinks at the bar are particularly expensive (on our August 2008 visit, £5 for a bottle of sparkling water, £9 for a 'watermelon martini' which was very pleasant but leaned heavily on a slurry of watermelon ice making the alcohol content rather undetectable). They have a good long wine list, with a number of house wines at £19 a bottle, rising very swiftly from there, and our riesling was excellent accompaniment to the spicy food.
Food covered a good range, with starters at around £6-10, and mains at £11-16. There was a set menu with a selection available (three courses for £34, rising to four with soup at £38), and a separate vegetarian menu on offer. The curry dishes, when they came, were presented on raised pedestals photo. Bread was in a basket lined with bamboo leaves, and rice (£4 for pillau, £3.50 for steamed) in attractive bowls.
Rice was well done and there was a good amount of it in each bowl. The curries themselves were not too oily. Ewan's Rougail d'Aubergine specialty dish (£11) was not too heavily spiced, crushed aubergine with chilli, ginger and green lime, and very tasty indeed, though the Pain Creole (a rice-flour pancake) I had on the side was less substantial.
Service was efficient, but perhaps a little too much so (one of our party ordered sparkling water for himself and without asking the waiter poured this for all of us).
Ewan's verdict: Eating here is in all an interesting and enjoyable experience, and the food is very good, but the prices suggest it is perhaps best for those with an expense account.