In the Oxford Circus area lies a rather well renowned traditional Indian cuisine restaurant, Gaylord. A typical Indian restaurant vibe via both decor and ambience, which soon filled to maximum capacity on a Tuesday eve, and after 48 years of trading, it’s evident the restaurant has built up many fans. A bottle of Prosecco to match the bubbly atmos. (and a good one at £25 you’ll be tempted to have two).

True to tradition arrive the airy light and crisp poppadum and an array of pickles and pastes- their slightly sour lime pickle was my favourite closely followed by a minty herby paste which tasted garden fresh zingy. The fresh theme was followed throughout the entire meal from the usually overlooked side salads through to the meat and accompanying sauces etc.

We ordered from the menu, but as we had been invited to dine at the restaurant, the on duty manager advised he would bring some extras to the table.

Golgappa Shots (£6.50) were brought to the table; a rather off-putting savoury murky green liquid in six shot glasses, each with a puffed cracker atop. I think the idea is to pour the liquid from the shot glass into the cracker, and then eat. I found the whole thing awkward and unnecessary. There is an option to add a shot of Grey Goose vodka (£5), which could hold the secret to making the tamarind tangy ‘spiced aromatic water’ a little less odd. But I doubt it.

A nice bit of fusion coming in from Mexico with Gaylord’s taco selection, we shared the Pulled Chicken (£8.50) version which came out from the kitchen presented in the backseat of a metal wire car. Kinda felt like a kids meal was taking a joyride on the wrong table, but the flavour was lovely, being rich, piquant and herby. Amongst the silky pulled chicken I, unfortunately, found a small bone which was a shame.

Hitching a lift onto the table was the Mix Vegetable Pakoras (£9.50), which were dry and lacked any flavour. The fun is taken out of having a mixture platter when you are unable to identify the different ingredients.

From the moment the Prawn Puri (£10) arrived to the table, the nightmares of the murky green liquid and garish metal wire cars started to leave us. These prawns looked HENCH. The kind of prawns that eat seahorse for breakfast. Perfect plump juicy king prawns in a very light jalfrezi coating, like a very thin batter almost. When flavour, texture, and the cooking of a humble prawn is so on point- the chemistry is celestial.

With the table slowly losing any available space, my personally selected starters from the ‘Tribute to royalty; Maharaja Feast’ (£29.50/3 course) arrived in the form of “the best of Gaylord kebabs”. The Lamb Seekh Kebab being minced and sausage-shaped, was well seasoned and abundant in herbs. The chicken kebab being a typical tandoori was my least favourite being a little dry all round. The lamb chop, however, was beautiful, simply spiced and with a plain creamy yoghurt- lamb is so delicious, I can’t bear when its limelight is stolen via a kitchen being overly spice-happy.

I can’t believe we are only just approaching the main course! The portions are very generous we no way needed the extras brought to the table. The Lamb Rogan Josh as part of my Maharaja Feast which had a citrus gravy with strong cardamom and cinnamon notes, extremely aromatic and came with a cloud of pilau.

Murg Korma (£15) for my friend with a mushroom pilau. The korma was creamy as you like, with hints of cashews and a suspicion of sweet. The mushroom pilau was really well-cooked rice that had an intense mushroom/umami flavour with a spritz of lemon juice run through there too. Perfect with the korma.

Lamb Shank (£18- and another off-piste bestowal by the restaurant). The menu dictates a special Gaylord spice mix, however, the flavour was lacking altogether other than the dominant tomato- even with the flesh of the lamb, which subsequently was not falling off the bone.

You cannot possibly dine in an Indian restaurant without getting your Bombay Aloo on (£8.50). The flavours were tart and chutney-like which always gets thumbs up from me. A kind of candied ginger meets spicy smoky chilli gravy flavour to it- cleverly constructed. I would recommend you order this as a side.

Dessert was a sharing platter (£8.50) and at this point, I’m not sure what is what in terms of items we ordered. An icy almond-y kulfi stole the show on the platter. Homemade carrot pudding (or Halwa) was served warm and abandoned after sampling as it just was not nice. Rasmalai, cottage cheese patties were spongy and strange- a dish you continue to graze on and wonder about. I enjoy dishes that make you think, and the pistachios alongside were a good call.

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Phew! Food over and done with! I cannot help but feel a little sorry for Gaylord. This review may well have panned out a little better for them if they hadn’t of been so generous and loaded the table up with dishes like the murky Golgappa shots, the taco that had the bone in, that we did not order, and other nothing to sing about dishes I haven’t even typed up (naan/raita).

We didn’t have much luck with the majority of the starters, other than those perfect prawns. The mains were very good as were the Bombay potatoes. And next time, I would have the kulfi on its own. And yes, I would dine again at Gaylord.

Reviewed by @LohanJordan

ADDRESS: 79-81 Mortimer Street, London W1W 7SJ, UK

PHONE: 020 7580 3615

PRICE: ££££

STAR RATING: ***

TIPPING POLICY: http://gaylordlondon.com/contact.php

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