Here’s how it usually goes on a Thursday night. Drinks at Mary Jane’s/similarly rancid City joint, followed by 10pm hunger pains and a mad dash for the local curry house/Subway. But forget heading for a post-work jalfrezi at the Rajasthan or a sad-looking vindaloo on Brick Lane – Quilon over the other side of town is the post-work-drink curry house destination of choice.
Only difference this time was: IT guy and I showed up on a Friday night, and we hadn’t had a pre-prandial at Mary Jane’s beforehand. But no matter!
We opted for Quilon’s tasting menu – the only way to meander a way across the frankly incredible menu. Graced with one much-deserved Michelin star, seafood is central to the restauramt’s south-west Indian cuisine, and the menu is peppered with fish mingled with exotic spices.
The starters – food-wise, although we’d already snarfed two beautiful Xancha champagne cocktails by this point – were impeccable. IT guy’s eyes rolled at the coconut cream chicken – endlessly tender chicken fillets marinated with coconut, chilli and cumin. Chargrilled scallops with mango relish and crabcakes tossed with ginger, green chilli and curry leaves followed. Note to self: this is quite possibly the best food I’ve ever tasted, let alone reviewed.
Mains came in the form of a creamy prawn masala, impossibly soft black cod, stuffed quail (probably the last thing you’d expect on an Indian menu, but unquestionably delicious). Head chef Sriram knows instinctively what works and what doesn’t, from the grilled chicken right down to the buttery parathas that appeared wordlessly on our side plates. So tasty, I didn’t even moan when IT guy wiped his greasy hands on the hem of my dress.
For those of you that choose the post-work curry option, Q Bar is on hand to pour yet more drinks down your gullet. Surround yourself with flickering tealights and opt for the Qojito signature cocktail, made of chilli vodka, mint and lemon. Several of these added to the temple-like ambience means if you squint hard enough it’s like actually being on a beach on Goa. World and vintage beers plus a very decent selection of whiskey make up the rest of the generous drinks menu.
Maybe it’s time to sack off the thankless City Indian one of these days and try something different, yeah? You absolutely won’t regret it.
41 Buckingham Gate,