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EATING OUT was not disappointed. Smith & Wollensky do not do things by halves and have their own pastry chef who prepares the desserts daily on site, and it shows. I opted for the Gigantic Chocolate Cake (£15) which truly lives up to its name and is gigantic with a capital G. This can be shared between probably 4 people and consists of moist chocolate layer cake brushed with Baileys Irish Cream, chocolate mousse and covered with chocolate ganache. I am a chocoholic and this is my kind of pudding, as the cake is light and the mousse suitably gooey, and my kids loved the doggy bag I brought back for them with this in it, as even having left room this is not a dessert one person can eat alone. My wife had the Apple Tarte Fine (£8) which she declared as being one of the finest desserts she had eaten, with the light puff pastry layered with frangipan and apples coated in a salted caramel sauce. Smith & Wollensky’s dining room is split over two levels each with a separate bar which can cater for any type of private party, and if your group is smaller they also have 3 additional private dining rooms for those special occasions. Smith & Wollensky offers a timeless, vibrant, yet relaxed atmosphere that envelopes guests in gracious hospitality. It takes many of the features of the Adelphi Building and its art deco style and marries them with the distinctive Smith & Wollensky brand, the result of which is a dining experience that offers simple refinement in the grand tradition, and I for one am glad that they chose London for their first foray out of America. However, I am not sure if my waistband agrees with me!

Masala Grill

535 Kings Road, London SW10 0SZ Telephone: 020 7351 7788 As the youngest child in my family I can truly understand how it feels to have achieved

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something only to be told that your older sibling did the same, and not only that, but obviously did it before you as they are older. I can imagine that those in charge at Masala Grill have a similar feeling about its ‘older sibling’, namely the restaurant that used to occupy 535 Kings Road, in the heart of Chelsea, before them. I am not going to succumb to mentioning its predecessor, as I think that Masala Grill’s achievements are such that they stand alone, and they are a great addition to Chelsea life. Masala Grill comes from the same group who own Amaya,Veeraswamy and Masala Zone, and is located between Sloane Square and Fulham Broadway tube stations, on the Kings Road, and they provide top quality Indian food in an eclectic setting. As you leave the hustle and bustle of the Kings Road you step into the informal and calming atmosphere that is Masala Grill. The reception area is warm and full of rich colours, with a lovely centre piece - a flower covered water bowl (I am advised this is good Feng Shui), and this area felt less like a restaurant and more like a front room of a house. On descending into the restaurant the warm décor continues with rich tapestries and Indian statues adorning the walls, all of which I believe have either been sourced from the owner’s own homes or Indian markets, and the space is surprising. The dining room is split into 3 distinct parts; one a separate dining room for approximately 35 which is revealed by pulling back some mirrored shutters; the second a warm dining room filled with well spaced out tables; and the third, the tables surrounding a Ficus tree in a conservatory adorned by festival ribboning of vibrant reds and pinks. We were seated in the conservatory, where, whilst sipping a perfectly mixed cocktail, perused the menu. Accompanying our predinner drinks we nibbled on some popadoms

accompanied by a delightful trio of chutneys, of which two were spicy and the third a sweet mango chutney. Following these we decided to pep up our taste buds before the main courses with some Pani Puri (£5.50) and one of the signature dishes the Chicken Sixer (£7.50). The Pani Puri were crisp whole wheat puffs which we carefully filled with a refreshing splash of sauce and then were eaten whole - a street food classic. The Chicken Sixer was named after cricket lovers in the South of India, and the succulent chicken surrounded by a crisp coating provided just the right amount of heat to stimulate your taste buds, and this was served with a rich and spicy tomato chutney. What I love about Masala Grill is that it dares you to be brave and choose things you may not have thought of, and I truly urge you to go with it as you will not regret it. As a starter I would usually look to Lamb Seekh Kebab ( £9.50), which although true to its Punjabi regional roots, and very tasty, is not a patch on the vegetarian dishes. Many of those I tried I would probably never have chosen, and that would have meant me missing out on treats such as the Dahi Puri (£6), a variation on the Pani Puri, and fills the crispy puffs with a mixture of refreshing yoghurt and tangy pomegranate where the flavours simply burst in your mouth and stimulate all of your senses - a must have. Another Punjab region inspired dish is the Vegetable Samosa Chaat (£6.50), which again is a must have, and unlike most Samosa’s is made from ‘proper’ pastry which is light and wholesome, and is served warm with yoghurt and tamarind. Having already gone ‘off piste’ with my selections, and being rewarded with some delicious delights, I was determined to maintain this adventurous spirt for the main course, and looking again at the menu I realised how far Indian food in the UK has come. In the not too distant past, Indian food was thought of as something to do after a few beers in the pub in a gaudily decorated restaurant. Oh how different it is now. Masala Grill offer a 4 pronged attack for the main courses. Prong one are delightful Biryanis with a Chicken (£14) or a Vegetable (£13) option. Prong two, Thalis where those who really cannot decide what to have can have a tasting menu on a tray. The vegetarian option (£16) includes Paneer Makhanwalla, Daal and cauliflower and peas whereas the nonvegetarian option (£18) have a wide variety of curries both of which will help on your next visit (yes I guarantee you will return), where you may prefer to select one dish. Prong 3 is the grill section where the choice is extensive. I tried the Dehli Chicken Tikka (£12.50) a novel twist on the usual Chicken Tikka where, instead of breast meat, chicken thighs were used, and the subtle blend of Kashmiri red chillies, ginger and garlic take this dish to a different level. Other notable choices include King Sized Prawns (£23), and Raan Khyberi (£21) which is a slow cooked leg of Lamb served with Star Anise and caramelised onions. My choice and my wife’s came from Prong 4 - the Curries. My wife chose the Butter Chicken (£13.50), which gets www.americaninbritain.co.uk

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American in Britain Autumn 2015  

The Autumn 2015 issue features theatre reviews of Bend It Like Beckham, McQueen and Three Days In The Country; restaurant reviews of Smith &...

American in Britain Autumn 2015  

The Autumn 2015 issue features theatre reviews of Bend It Like Beckham, McQueen and Three Days In The Country; restaurant reviews of Smith &...

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