Review of 'Veeraswamy'

I originally visited Veerasway quite some number of years ago and I had this to say about the experience: “Wonderful mixture of classical and contemporary Indian cuisine in the heart of London. Reasonable prices in stainless-steel and vibrant colour surroundings. Created in 1925 Veeraswamy is a London institution and is visited by many regulars. Under new management.” Not exactly massively descriptive.

As it was my companion's birthday we decided to pay a visit to this British fine dining institution to see how it is doing. Let me tell you: It is doing fine.

China Cabinet and Seating Area

Our reservation was for 7 pm on a Tuesday evening and we were amongst the first to arrive with the place positively hoping by the time we left at just after 9. The restaurant is on the first floor and the main lift did not appear to be working so we were taken up the neighbouring office space rather utilitarian staircase. By the time we made it to the first floor the doorman had communicated our names to the maitre'd who promptly showed us to our table at a window overlooking the alleyway containing the main entrance. From here we had a great view of the front section of the restaurant (along Regent Street) as well as the extensive seating area towards the back – It is quite a lot larger than you might think.

Main Dining Area

The menu is a small book with several sections about the history of the restaurant including a page from a classic menu. The first page contains the set menus (“Tasting Menu”, 4 courses for £65 plus £45 if you want matching wines; “Traditional Menu”, 3 course for £45), the next page is “To Start” split into “Classics” and “Beyond the Usual” with the bottom of the page containing two “Grand Platters to Share” options for 2 or 3 people. The next page was “Mains” divided into “Indian Royal Recipes”, “Traditional” and, again, “Beyond the Usual”. The final page was “Vegetarian”, “Sides”, “Breads” and “Rice”. Prices are a bit more expensive than most Indian restaurants but perhaps not as much as you might think. The portion sizes are not huge but we found more than adequate.

The separate drinks menu was quite short but, for us non-drinkers, a bit of a surprise with several non-soda items to chose from. I tried the tangy fruity “Shima Sunrise” at £8 which was quite nice but overpowered the taste of the food so I stuck to bottled water for much of the evening. My companion tried the (alcoholic) “Wild Hibiscus” (£12.50) - Hibiscus flower with champagne - which she said was quite pleasant indeed. Later she moved onto a glass of English wine “Bacchus” (175ml £15.50) which she did not enjoy as much not being a huge fan of dry wines (this was a bit sweeter but still had dry undertones she did not entirely enjoy).

Anglo-Indian Mulligatawny Soup (1926 menu)

We decided to go for the “Tasting Menu” so we could try as much from the menu as possible. First up, though not listed on the tasting menu bill of fare: The “Anglo-Indian Mulligatawny Soup” (from the original 1926 menu). This was positively delightful, basically, a curry soup with tiny squares of tangy apple providing bursts of citrus that cut through the velvety broth. The small serving was more than adequate as it was such a full, rich flavour.

Tandoori Green Prawn

A short time later we were presented with our next course of “Tandoori Green Prawn” (“madagascan wild tiger prawn - coriander, mint and chilli”) which was another delight. The grilled prawn was cooked perfectly and not at all chewy with a delicious marinade and only a hint of the chilli. The thin layers of different sauces along the rim of the plate provided a nice citrus hit that cut through the mellow delicious flavour of the prawns with the coriander.

Banjara Chicken Tikka

The last of our starters, “Banjara Chicken Tikka” (“ginger, roast cinnamon, star anise”), was yet another delicious course. The tikka (tandori) chicken was so juicy and full of flavour with a delicious coriander (again) dip on the side. Again, with a nice bit of a kick but not enough to be unpleasant.

Main Course Curries

Now, the main event: The “Crescent Platter” consisting of four small bowls of curry arranged on a crescent platter (dah!) along with sides of a rather good sized container of lemon rice and delicious (not greasy) fresh naan. The curries were as follows (left to right): “Fresh Pineapple Curry” (“most unusual west coast dish - coconut milk, tumeric, curry leaves”), “Kashmiri Roghan Josh” (“welsh lamb, sun dried kashmiri spices, saffron, cockscomb flower”), “Chicken Mirchi Makhani” (“chicken thigh pieces and long peppers in a classical delhi sauce”), and “Lobster Malabar Curry” (“fresh canadian lobster with fresh tummeric, coconut, green mango”). The dishes, with the exception of the pineapple, were roughly in order of spice heat with the lobster being the most mild and the lamb being the hottest.

Main Course Sides

I was most looking forward to the lobster but, unfortunately, it was overcooked and was quite chewy however we both agreed the sauce was absolutely amazing. All of the meat curries included a good amount of meat with the chicken perfectly juicy and full of flavour and the lamb quite gamey, perfectly suiting the musty-ness of it's curry sauce. Nicely we had ample “lemon rice” to soak up the juices from the curry (aided by pieces of naan wiping up whatever remained on the plate). The rice had a pleasant but not overwhelming flavour which perfectly accompanied the curries.

Despite not looking like much we found the main course quite filling and absolutely delicious throughout.


As it was my companion's birthday the staff delivered a lovely plate containing two balls of (delicious) sorbet (mango and raspberry) with “Happy Birthday” painted on in chocolate, of course, with the requisite candle sticking out of it. Very considerate and very tasty.

Chocolate Ganache

Our final course of the tasting menu was the “Chocolate Ganache” which was perhaps not Indian but quite a lovely, rich, velvety texture and a hard biscuit base providing a bit of texture. The thin chocolate tweels were a wonder to behold, leaving us wondering how they were made.

The total bill came to just short of £200 (£197.44 including a 12.5% discretionary service charge) but we were more than happy with both the friendly service - each course was delivered with a smile, though by a different person, and a brief description of what it was despite them being obviously very busy. The food was absolutely sublime - Taking classic Indian dishes and elevating them to top notch gastronomy with the effort going into flavour rather than fancy presentation or attempting to dramatically re-invent the dishes. The ambiance was relaxing - It was as if you were eating in someone's living room with our feeling relaxed and welcome at all times.

A very pleasant experience that we will be happy to repeat many times in the future.

Note: In support of restaurant policy regarding photography, I have endeavoured to ensure no patron's faces are visible in the pictures used in this review.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2021-10-19

Cuisine: Indian

Address: 98 Regent Street (Entrance on Swallow Street), London W1B 4RS

Public Transport: TUBE Piccadilly Circus

Location: London (England) - Piccadilly Circus



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Telephone: (020) 7734 1401