1 Corbet Court, 3 – 6 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0AT www.bangaloreuk.com
Tucked down an alley opposite Leadenhall Market in Gracehurch Street deep in the land of suits, Bangalore Express City is a restaurant that surprises. You wouldn’t necessarily expect to find an Indian restaurant around here in the first place nor one so Tardis like large once you descend to the dining room. And then there’s the menu.
It’s glossy, colourful and reminds me of a menu design from a 1980s motorway service station, it has look and feel of one that’s been created to take a lot of handling from a lot of customers over a long period of time.
And it has one heck of a range of dishes on it from all over the subcontinent as well as mysterious fusion dishes too plus things from South Africa and China
It’s the creation of chef Yogesh Datta who learnt his skills at Taj Group and Sheraton Hotels in India, a training many a top Indian chef has benefitted from, and which explains the variety of the menu. Hotel chefs out there have to really cover all bases to keep customers happy
He owns The Painted Heron in Chelsea, a properly good Indian restaurant and’Best Indian Establishment’ at The Food Awards London 2016, and he certainly knows his stuff. And it seems people know him; the number of Asian families with children eating tonight suggests people come from outside the Square Mile to get their fix of his feasting-style menus.
We downed some pretty good cocktails upstairs; I had two espresso martinis, the middle class version of Red Bull and vodka, and was overly caffeine-fuelled on my descent down the stairs.
It helped fuel me through that menu, a bewildering cornucopia of things: Anglo Indian Fish & Chilli Chips, South African Bunny Chow, Caribbean Curried Goat with Rice, Plantain Chips and Sweet Potatoes for example
Not floating your boat? Well how about the Dosa selection or the Thalis or Asian Seabass Nilgiri Curry and Duck Breast with Hot & Sour Pumpkin Curry? Or even build your own Ã¢â‚¬Å“Curry Plate MatrixÃ¢â‚¬Â? It’s head spinning.
I went for something I’d never had before, Red beans & potato mash cakes with spicy chickpea curry. The beans were mealy and pleasantly textured and the sauce quite fiery but tempered with yoghurt and a good choice for veggies I reckon
J meanwhile ordered up the Deluxe Tandoori platter with duck, prawns, and lamb chops. Suitable for two to three people the menu said, but he was going to eat it all if I hadn’t jumped in. It came dramatically presented, but it wasn’t all show as each meat and fish was properly done with seared outsides and moist centres.
Another dish, of the many that I wasn’t familiar with, was Sri Lankan chopped roti bread with spicy lamb and egg curry hotchpotch. This was indeed a real textural hotchpotch as described, but I really liked it while considering that perhaps eggs and a curry sauce were not a recipe for a silent night. Again, well presented, with poppadum waving like a flag in the middle and a bowl of cucumber raita to add a refreshing note.
sian seabass Nilgiri curry for J, with a pile of chapattis and some simple plain rice, goes down well and makes up for me stealing the prawns off his tandoori feast. Kind of. We didn’t make it to dessert; as usual we had stuffed ourselves far too much to contemplate eating anything more. Not to mention all the beer and wine.
Bangalore Express City is certainly an interesting place; my initial reservations about the hotel-style menu were sent packing by the presentation and the flavours. There’s certainly a lot to explore on the menu, so well worth a return visit I’d say.