Dining in London: The Red Fort

by artfuldiner on October 26, 2010

in London, Opinion, Review, Wining and Dining

red-fort-interiorThe Red Fort, 77 Dean Street, London, W1D 3SH, www.redfort.co.uk


There are many excellent Indian restaurants in London, and The Red Fort, located just across the street from the aforementioned Quo Vadis, is surely one of the best.


It was founded by Amin Ali in 1983. On July 10, 2009 it received extensive water and smoke damage from a fire in the building next door, which took 100 firefighters over 12 hours to bring under control. Recently reopened after a major refurbishment, the new dining room is intimate and inviting; and Mohammed Azid and a team of six chefs weave their culinary magic in the state-of-the-art kitchen… So don’t expect the usual “curry palace” business as usual.


Like the ambiance, the cuisine is sophisticated and upscale… and may seem to some rather pricey. Everything is à la carte – and that includes breads, rice, and vegetables. Be that as it may, all presentations are of impeccable quality and lovingly prepared & presented.


Appetizers, for example, include items like tandoori salmon seared with fresh ginger and bevy of subdued spices; mushroom caps filled with mildly spiced cheese and creamy yogurt; chicken with mint, coriander, ginger, and green chilies; and finely minced lamb spruced up with cloves and black pepper.


red-fort-monkfish-tikka-w-3-saucesI started, though, with the monkfish tikka. Smoked and lightly spiced, this proved a marvelous appetizer. Monkfish, often called the poor man’s lobster, exhibits the same type of dense consistency as its more expensive cousin… which means it can be rather tough and chewy if improperly prepared. But here the kitchen sends it forth with a moist and tender countenance. The hara kebab is yet another winner in the prelude department. Patties of spinach and fenugreek (aromatic seeds with a subtly sweet flavor) lightly filled with white cheddar cheese, onion, and coriander are accompanied to table by coriander, tamarind, and mango sauces. An utterly beguiling combination.


For our main courses, the coriander-crusted red snapper offered up just enough spice to tantalize rather than overwhelm the palate; and the murgh bemissal, corn-fed chicken breast, was gently kissed by a completely addictive creamed tomato and dill sauce.


red-fort-mango-kulfiNothing goes with Indian food like plain naan bread (light, airy and slightly puffy oven-baked flatbread)… the perfect vehicle to sop up all those delicious sauces… And nothing concludes an Indian meal more appropriately than kulfi, an ice cream-like dessert similar to custard. Both were exceptional.


red-fort-candle-on-tableUnlike many Indian restaurants in this country, which are generally BYOB, The Red Fort offers up a very nice wine list. Chosen was a Cortese di Gavi, an Italian white wine that provided the perfect cooling foil for several of the spicy presentations.



Bon Appétit!



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