The new concept restaurant Vineet Bhatia London near Sloane Square is the culmination of the many years of blood, sweat and tears from Michelin-starred chef, Vineet Bhatia. Dedicating his life to modernising Indian cuisine for a worldwide audience, Vineet Bhatia was one of the first Indian chefs to be awarded with a Michelin star in 2001. His successes have included the Star of India and Zaika, whilst in 2004 he opened his own restaurant Rasoi, which was also awarded with a Michelin star.
His latest Vineet Bhatia London is situated in a stunning Georgian townhouse in one of the most sought-after areas in London. You ring a doorbell to enter, much like visiting a friend's house, except this house looks like it has been built directly from pages of the Home & Design Magazine. The smart shades of grey are interspersed with vibrant splashes of yellow and lime, courtesy of Vineet's wife, Rashima. The refined, upscale private dining rooms on the first floor are a sight to behold.
The menu is a special occasion affair: sixteen courses at £105 per person. There are no a la carte options and the only variant offered is the vegetarian tasting menu with options such as mushroom momo and beetroot cashew tikka.
The first six courses are amuse-bouche-type dishes. The inspiration being from the chef's time in the streets of Mumbai as a young child where there was a wide array of small bites to savour. Presentation is paramount to the VBL experience; a simple aloo chat has a pipette for injecting into the hollowed potato centre.
Sago papad looks like coral reefs from the sea with the crispy exterior holding onto the vibrant mixture of tuna and green apple salsa. Gee scallops are presented in an extravagant receptacle that resembles the shape when you drop a pebble into the sea.
His world-famous tandoori smoked salmon still feels groundbreaking with spiced pea powder and cucumber ketchup, although my preference is the sublime lobster, which has a blend of exotic flavours in lemongrass, coconut, kaffir lime and squid ink foam. There are plenty of competing flavours that magically combine to create an exceptional dish.
My favourite of the meat main courses was the kapi lamb chop. The coffee-infused rogan josh sauce soaked invitingly into the meat; the lamb is well-flavoured without being soaked in a bathtub of curry like typical, local Indian restaurants.
My only slight reservation is I am still not sold on the idea of wine pairing with Indian cuisine. Even when the food is as fine and delicate as the cuisine served at VBL, the various spices do tend to overpower the tasting notes from the wines. The best of the offerings was a 2013 75cl Gilles Flacher, Condrieu Rouelles, which had big, powerful vanilla and honeycomb notes that matched well with the lobster dish.
The desserts included one of Vineet's classics, the chocomosa, which is a fascinating combination of the sweet and the savoury. There was also an addictive-tasting salted-caramel kulfi served on a slab of Himalayan salt.
Find an excuse for a celebration and book yourself a table at Vineet Bhatia London today.
Words by Baldwin Ho