Don’t let the name fool you, this opulent Indian restaurant is about as far away from formica tables as you can possibly get

When your cocktail arrives at the table in a cloud of aromatic smoke you know you’re not in standard ‘Indian’ territory.

We oohed and ahhed appreciatively but K, old skooler that he is, refused to be diverted from drinking Cobra and just disdainfully watched me clanking my giant, pure, ice cube about.

That’s what Farzi Cafe is all about though, ripping up the Indian rule book with Chef Nikhil Mahale bringing experimental Indian food to the table that’s as fantastic as the cocktails.

What do you make of a dish called Kache Kele Ka Ragda Pattice, (main photo) a raw banana cutlet with tempered green peas foam and sweet yogurt? It sounds rather crazy, I mean who has ever eaten a savoury banana dish in an Indian restaurant?

Well I’d eat it again, it’s a solar flare of colours and flavour that just wowed on every mouthful. The sweet banana’s softness was set off against crunchy fried dal and little beetroot/chard leaves inserted a welcome bitterness.

Farzi is in a rather unusual location, Haymarket is not much of a street being really a bus lane between cinemas and theatres, but that’s why it’s there – the evening entertainment junkies looking for food.

If they can resist the dubious charms of restaurants around the tube stations at Farzi they get to eat ​​Zafrani Murgh Tikka  – a smoked cashew and saffron cream chicken tikka, with masala cock scratchings and coriander pesto.

I am not sure cock scratchings are what they sound like, but the whole dish is another triumph of textures taking the humble chicken tikka up a whole lot of levels.

Each Mangorian Rava Fried Prawn with tempered coconut and smoked tomato chutney sits on a dish of pickled radish, the vinegary crunch perfect with the spicy prawn in its light batter.

Indian arancini are an unusual idea,but why not Dal Chawal Arancini with achar – papad-chutney are spiced rice and lentils rolled into a ball and fried. Simple and perfect.

These were just starters of course, we moved on to Lamb Shank Vindaloo goan richad and toddy vinegar, spicy gravy , brined lamb shank and pickled kohlrabi.

Vinegar is key to a vindaloo, it’s where the name comes from, and a vindaloo should not be too hot to eat comfortably. Here the vinegar was sharp and shining on the masala spices, the lamb meat tender from its brining and slow braising.

Vegans or veggies might now be striking Farzi off their hit list, but apart from plentiful veg dishes on the main menu, this menu also has Tandoori Paneer and Mushroom Butter Masala with San-Marzano tomato and  fenugreek gravy. Great big meaty mushrooms that deliver substance and paneer is always a winner, grabbing onto any spices that get within range to great effect.

Also veggie is Double butter Dal makhni. I love this dish, and doubling the butter only doubles the joy.

Coconut Rice Kheer lychee, passion-fruit gel, mango sorbet, and ​​Fig & Ginger Pudding warm pudding, salted caramel foam, vanilla ice- cream finish us off. Almost literally, we are stuffed. That fig and ginger pudding though, what a dish that is.

Farzi is an experience across food and drink that is really quite unique. Even my friend K, wedded to his Cobra and the classic old skool Indian, came away singing Farzi’s praises.

After four of those amazing cocktails, I was just singing.
8 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4BP