Michelin-starred Quilon, which is based on Buckingham Palace Road near Victoria, was as famed for its terrible décor as it was for its superb south-west Indian cuisine.
Having closed at the beginning of January, Quilon London re-launched in March following an extensive refurbishment from designLSM. With a stylish, slick interior to match the quality of the food, Quilon should be high up on your restaurant hit list, as Emyr Thomas recently discovered.
Seafood is central to the menu at Quilon London, with plenty of meat and vegetarian options on the a la carte menu as well, but Chef Sriram Aylur regularly offers diners their own tasting menu of a selection of starters and mains, so we left our choices in the hands of the experts.
We started with a selection of mini pappadams with fresh chutneys (coconut and coriander and a tomato chutney), which was a delicate start to the evening, but somewhat lacking in real flavour.
From the starters, we were offered crispy fried cauliflower tossed with yogurt, green chilli and curry leaves, coconut cream chicken (marinated chicken fillets with ground coconut, chilli and cumin, cooked over a griddle) and char-grilled scallop with mango chilli relish.
The starters were the real highlight of the evening and the selection was an excellent demonstration of the kitchen’s skill with a wide variety of ingredients. I often find scallops to be rather dull, but these scallops were simple yet exquisitely prepared with a mango chilli relish.
Cauliflower as its own dish would not normally appeal to many, but this is a dish I would certainly order again – the batter was light and crisp, the delicate spicing just right and the yogurt a perfect complement.
As a palate cleanser after the starters, we were served a hot, slightly spiced tomato consommé in a glass, which was full of flavour and refreshing.
While the mains didn’t quite reach the standard set by the starters, each one demonstrated how mild spicing, light sauces and subtle, clean flavours can create masterful Indian dishes. The standout main course was the Quilon fish curry, which featured cubes of halibut simmered in coconut, chilli, and raw mango sauce – a delight.
London seems to do high-end Indian restaurants very well, and Quilon is up there with the best of them.
As part of the relaunch, Quilon also unveiled the stylish new Q Bar with a bar canapé menu to accompany the cocktail list. There is also a new private dining room, with a separate entrance, bar and kitchen.
Address: 41 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AF
Phone: +44 20 7821 1899