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The American


17 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EP


www.lotus.london


LOTUS T


Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick


he stretch between Leicester Square and Charing Cross stations


has always been a bit of a culinary wasteland. Now there is a fl ower in the desert. The food, wine and service are all top. Five star territory. London has always been known


for Indian food and every hood has a curry take-away. Lotus is another world entirely. Chef Bhaskar Baner- jee is a fi rst rate spiceologist. Yes, that is newspeak and you read it fi rst here! Throughout our meal, we were constantly dazzled by Banerjee’s spicing, from delicately sublime to boldly sensational. His range is very impressive. Our waitress/sommelier was


brilliant. She off ered to pair our wines for us and her choices were surprising, spot on and absolutely delicious. If you don’t normally think of drinking fi ne wine with Indian food, think again. The wine list here is not long, but good quality and quite diverse. Prices range from £20 – 100. Most of the wines we sampled are normally not off ered by the glass. I would however be happy to drink a full bottle of any one of them!


40 The American A spicy tomato soup from south-


ern India was the evening’s amuse bouche. Like an exotic, hot Bloody Mary without the vodka. Bloody Meera? My bouche was wowed. Poppadums of rice, potato and millet (£2.75) were much lighter and less fl avorful than their chickpea counterparts. The mango, mint and tomato chutneys were excellent. Corn Chaat Golgappa (£3.75) was one of the evening’s many high- lights. Also called panipuri (water bread) these crispy shells, fi lled with spiced corn and tamarind chutney just explode in your mouth. Abso- lute musthaves (more newspeak), washed down with a fab Vatua Cava, distinguished by a mix of Musca- tel, Parellada and Gewürztraminer grapes. Masala prawn, duck eggs and


green lentil wraps (£8.75) and pigeon masala dosa with coconut chutney (£7.75) showed Banerjee’s and our sommelier’s skill. Both presented beautifully, the game was dark, rich and spicy, served with a Crozes Hermitage. The shellfi sh was enhanced with delicate fl avors and


served, surprisingly, with a Garna- cha. I would never have chosen a Grenache with prawns, but this was soft and smooth. A middle course of red snap- per kebab (£12.75) was the fav of the night. Juicy, hot with mustard essence, perfumed with cardamom and served with a South African Chenin Blanc. It doesn’t get better. For mains, a delicate lobster in a


ginger, curry leaf and coconut curry (£22.75) was absolute heaven with a Saint Hilaire Chardonnay. Venison Roganjosh (£18.75) was richly spiced with clove and cumin and paired with Mendoza Malbec. Another win- win. Slow cooked dahl was packed with fl avor. Best ever. Portions are smallish, so rice and the fabulous bread basket are a must. For dessert, Mango Shrikhand (£5.75) with a Botrytis Semillon was another fantastic combination. The Orange Rasgulla (£5.75), like a cake in nectar with a sweet and savory pineapple chutney and a glass of Chateau Delmond Sauternes was a paradisiac! Lotus is a hafta. You just hafta go there!


Left: Red Snapper Kebab Right: Corn Chaat Golgappa


Mango Mint and tomato chutneys and poppadoms


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