So it’s 34C and the hottest day of the year so far, you’ve just finished a two hour walk in jacket and tie through central London lecturing about death and destruction in 1940s London and you’ve half slaked your thirst with a couple of cold ones in Ed Murrow’s local.
What are your options? I don’t know about you but I had one thing on my mind – curry. And I knew where to get it.
I’ve had my eye on the Gaylord for a while. It looks like a relic of a bygone era, kind of like a luxury Standard Tandoori where you could imagine Imran Khan hanging out with Both in the ’80s after a charity match.I wasn’t disappointed.
We were there before opening time and I think they were having their staff meeting but it didn’t seem to matter as we seated ourselves and sorted out some cold water. Picture windows gave a great view onto the commuters hurrying by in the heat outside while inside the Gaylord the atmosphere was chilled by the air con. Floor to ceiling paintings of various oriental scenes were kitsch without being nauseating.
Poppadoms are served straight up as part of the cover charge (yep, that retro) and I scanned the luxuriously printed menu – each page on its own bit of hardboard. Well, with some mains coming in at £20 plus I could tell I definitely wasn’t in the Standard anymore but then again we were in the heart of expenses land and it was a nicely appointed room.
A shared mixed non-vegetarian starter was a satisfyingly smoky lamb shish, crab cake and various other bits that I wish I’d had to myself they were so good. But then I might not have had enough room for the main event – a ground goat curry. I wasn’t sure if by ground goat they meant a low-altitude rather than a mountain goat but no, this was goat minced and mixed with a perfect blend of spicy heat that I could have eaten another bowl of quite easily. But on the side, mmm, we had a black lentil dal that was the real deal. Thick and rich with butter, perfect for scooping up with crispy brown raita and naan. Even the pilau rice was a cut above.
All in all the food was the best Indian I’ve had in London for quite a long time. Cobras came in at nearly seven quid a pint mind, so you have to pay for the quality. But judging from the fact that the rest of the clientèle was almost entirely South Asian it’s clear that they know their market and deliver the goods.
To see where else I’ve eaten in 2016 go to the GoogleMap here
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).