Having taken a step back from my days of chasing new restaurant openings in the last few years, it is interesting to see how much the restaurant and food scene has evolved in London since I started food blogging about 7 years ago. I tend to be more selective with my choices of restaurants to review these days, particularly new openings, but the look and sound of 1947 London showed so much potential that I could not resist a visit to experience the hype for myself. An exciting new venture from the founders of the award-winning Chai Thali group, 1947 London has been born of a desire to bring to London an authentic taste of India in all its glory.
Located just off the bustling Charlotte Street, the venue is pretty hard to miss, with its eye-popping statement entrance that led us downstairs to an opulent underground space you would hardly imagine existed from ground level.
The interiors are furnished and styled with just the right amount of sparkle and shimmer without being too garish, a combined creative effort from artisan interior designer Tammara Mattingly and paper artist Karen Navalta.
Eager to get the evening started, I tried a couple of their cocktails – I loved the creamy Chai Martini, which is their take on the classic espresso martini with a hint of spice, masala chai, Baileys, Kahlua, and vodka. I then moved on to something more refreshing which was the elegantly presented Indian Rose; a cosmopolitan with an Indian twist, made with vodka, cointreau, Rooh Afza, orange juice, rose syrup, and lime.
My dining companion went down the more sensible ‘school night’ drinking route and tried out their Lychee Mocktini and the Holy Temple, both equally good thirst-quenching non-alcoholic options.
The menu has been carefully curated by chef Krishna Negi, protege of Michelin-starred Vineet Bhatia, featuring recipes that evolved out of the movement of peoples and cultures during the 1947 Partition. We started with a couple of nibbles from the Nano Plates selection: the Avocado Bombay Bhel was an appetizing medley of crispy rice puffs, served with chopped avocadoes, tomatoes, and mixed with a spicy tangy sauce, whilst the baby squid was fried in a light batter and had a pleasant texture, combined with fresh garlic, green chilli, and spices, served with a sweet chilli sauce on the side.
Moving on to their Small Plates, our eyes were immediately drawn towards the Maharaja Prawns that was one of my favourites dishes of the evening – juicy jumbo prawns lightly marinated in a blend of spices and cooked to perfection in the clay oven. The Tandoori Salmon was just as delicious, smoked with clove and cardamoms, accompanied by a mustard and honey chutney.
We skipped the Sharing Bowls because we didn’t want to miss out on their Lamb Dum Biriyani, a hearty portion of aromatic basmati rice with tender pieces of lamb, served in a pastry sealed pot with some burani raita on the side – just the right portion to share between two persons. We also ordered a side of satisfyingly indulgent Dhal Makhani that went well with the rice, and was also great for dipping and mopping up with the roti.
I was tempted to order more dishes to try but we were quite full by that point, and we had to save space for dessert! – because a meal without dessert is like unfinished business …
We shared the homemade mango kulfi, an iconic Indian dessert, and the chocolate fondant which had a mouthwatering gooey centre that would certainly put a smile on any chocolate lover’s face.
We were both really satisfied with our meal and could not find fault with any of the dishes which is undoubtedly a respectable feat for a newly opened restaurant. In addition to that, service was prompt and efficient, and the ambience throughout the evening was calm and relaxing which all came together nicely in such an elegant space. If you’re looking for a classy evening out with quality Indian food to match, then this is the place to be.
- My experience at 1947 London was complimentary – views and photos are my own.