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Celebrate with a Kejriwal

What to order when you visit the most popular Indian restaurants in London

By Deepa Menon  February 10th, 2015

Two Indian restaurants have been named the best in Britain by polls conducted this year and last. They cater to different tastes, but are both heavy on nostalgia — Gymkhana serves colonial Indian fare, the kind you found in clubs of the era, and Dishoom recreates the spirit of the Irani cafes of 1960s Bombay. Accordingly, Gymkhana’s most feted dishes are hearty and feature game (deer biryani, quail kebab), where Dishoom goes all out for breakfast and even offers a version of Willingdon Club, Mumbai’s fried-eggs-on-cheese-toast dish, called the Kejriwal. Raise a fork to AAP’s roaring victory in Delhi by trying your hand at this easy recipe.

Dishoom Covent Garden was ranked #1 among UK restaurants by Yelp reviewers this year, who rated for food, service and value for money. It’s no news that the Brits love their curry and naan bread, but it’s clear that they’re looking for new flavours. Dishoom’s café vibe and maska pao-enclosed goodies and cutting chai are hitting the spot. They serve up such meaty dishes as the Bacon Naan Roll (char-grilled bacon placed inside a freshly baked naan, with chilli-tomato jam, cream cheese and herbs), the Big Bomnay (akuri, streaky bacon, Shropshire pork sausages, masala baked beans, grilled field mushroom and tomatoes and buttered pao) and, at their Shoreditch outlet, the Raan Bun (leg of lamb marinated, braised and shredded in a pile between sourdough buns, served with salli-style potatoes and fried green chillies). Have mercy.

Gymkhana is a more upmarket affair and was ranked #1 in the National Restaurant Awards 2014, given by Restaurant magazine. It creates that burra-sahib mood with its décor (hunting trophies, cane chairs, overstuffed leather booths) and its menu. The owner and chef Karam Sethi, who also runs the Michelin-starred Trishna, recommends the very popular Kid Goat Methi Keema, which you can order with a side of bheja. Also tempting is the Chettinad duck curry served with dosa and the Wild Muntjac Biryani made in a dum. This is the kind of meal you have to fast—and save up—for.

For an endless parade of temptations, follow Dishoom and Gymkhana on Instagram.