★★★★ | Baluchi
Step into a place where the decor is sumptuous, the staff very nice and attentive, and the food very good. The place is a restaurant called Baluchi.
Baluchi is a restaurant so unlike any other south of the river (literally right next to the road that becomes Tower Bridge). Inside the gorgeous hotel called The LaLit, Baluchi the restaurant is a one-room affair, with stunning chandeliers and plenty of space in between tables so as not to feel overcrowded and busy. And it’s Indian-style menu has all sorts of food for just about anyone, even those who are not quite familiar with Pan Indian food.
We were delighted to choose two very good, and refreshing, drinks to start out with. My dining companion had the Mad Honey while I had the Mango Mai Tai, which was very sweet, which is the way I like my drinks, as well as beautifully coloured, with a dried lime on top for a nice touch!
These two drinks were just a small sampling of what was on offer in their drinks menu – a stunning multi-page book of every type of cocktail you want. While they don’t come cheap (£10 to £15 each), they are worth every penny!
As for the food, you are really and truly spoiled for choice. Dishes from the menu include all sorts, from seafood (Sea Bass, Peterhead Cod, Tandoori Prawns), to the fantastic Vegetarian dishes (Dal Baluchi – Black Lentils, Grilled Tofu) to an amazing array of meat dishes (Butter Chicken, Murg Adraki – Free-range corn-fed chicken, and venison) to lamb, which is what we ordered. I had the splendid and meaty Lamb Chops. At £21.50, I received three very large and perfectly cooked chops, with smoked aubergine and yummy potato mash and an avocado dollop, in a lovely coriander, mint and garlic chutney. I highly recommend this dish. My dining companion ordered the Lamb Shan K Gush Taba (gluten free), and as expected it was tender, moist and extra good in its not too spicy sauce. She and I loved our lamb – superb!!! Mango and coconut-flavoured naan bread was served with our main course – absolutely delicious, along with the mandatory rice.
We had also ordered starters which were presented very beautifully. We wanted the Kamal Kakdi, but unfortunately, they were out, so we ordered the fantastic Subz Kl Thal, which was an amazing array of edibles that included corn tikki, papad and paneer – and suitable for sharing which is what we did. It was a wow dish, and at £14.50, a good bargain. We also ordered the Bharwan Zucchini – a courgette with various sauces. It was a bit small, but nice taste and flavour nonetheless. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the papadums served with berry and tomato chutney – great starters!
Of course, for those with a sweet tooth, The Baluchi offers quite a few dessert choices. My companion had the Coconut 3 Ways – jelly and espuma, hazelnut mousse and curry leaf smoke – while I had the Carrom Seed Shortbread – an unusual array of a poached guava, guava sorbet, pistachio and caramel popcorn. Both desserts came in at £8 each – respectable because they are different but they did not have the wow factor that we expected.
I almost never write about the coffee but the decaf coffee I was served after the meal was one of the most delicious I have ever had in recent memory, while my dining companion really enjoyed her tea.
Despite a mix up with the bill (the drinks the table next to us had were on our bill), everything about the evening was impeccable, from the presentation of the food to the way it was served to us by the wait staff, from the amazing decor to the gracious chef who paid a visit to our table, and to the extreme care and attentiveness our server was to us. The whole evening was very memorable, and while our bill came to about £150 for the two of us, sometimes it’s worth this kind of money to make the experience memorable and very enjoyable. Baluchi is definitely a one-of-a-kind restaurant that’s practically in its own world right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of London.
Find out more at https://www.thelalit.com/the-lalit-london/eat-and-drink/baluchi/
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.