What's the missing link, I hear you ask. None. After going up and down Harrod's schlepping our rucksacks with us ( not on our backs, but at our hands, the Harrod's bouncers tell you that), and, to be fair, letting the Man schlep both bags (our overnight stuff plus some shopping done before in there), looking for elusive Nigella products and taking advantage of the grandly-named Luxury bathrooms, sparing a thought for Diana and Dodi as the lift soared, being very disappointed at the poor range of Living Kitchen items on display and drooling over Le Creuset ovenware that isn't commonly available here (the land of Le Creuset somehow) but way too heavy to add to the schlepping....well, after all that, and a visit to the Old Spitalfields Market beforehand, we were both starving. Craving Indian food.
So we crossed the street (that's where the photo was taken) and looked unexpectantly around until we stumbled on a signed that said, somewhat unappealingly and cheap-style "In Haandi the food is very good" .-I kid you NOT!- That was taken out of context from a restaurant review in a reputable paper. My first instinct was "No way!", but it was late already, there was no other sign of an Indian place around and I thought we might just strike lucky. The menu was posted behind a glass case and there was a sign for us to follow and enter a plain doorway. I looked up, saw nothing upstairs. We followed the signs downstairs, around nooks and finally found ourselves in an understated restaurant (the front was to a sidestreet).
No kitsch at all, not even a myriad-armed goddess on display, just good taste in beige and fresh flowers. The kitchen was for all to see behind a curved glass window in the middle of the room.
Well, that was Knightsbridge, after all, not a dodgy outpost in the 5th tube zone.
There were Indian families sitting around their Sunday dinner, which was a good sign. Our waiter, on the other hand, was only brisk efficiency, no smile except to ask us to move over to another table when a larger group turned up.
But the food, ah, luverly!He had lamb with spinach, accompanied by dhal. I had prawns Kerala-style, with Masala potatoes. Instead of the announced poppadums and pickles, we were served plain naans, but that was for the best. All washed down with Tiger beer. Somewhere recently I read that Indian food goes best with beer (was it in Cupboard Love?). Not untrue. Anyway, I had enough cheap overpriced wine for the weekend on Friday already.
Everything was fantastic, freshly prepared. The potatoes were just perfectly cooked, still had some bite but with melt-in-the-mouth goodness and delicate whole spices, the prawns were, I'd say, fresh (ie not frozen), but the downside was their number (4). They lay in a sauce that was fragrant and spicy. The naans has a sleek ghee finish.
The Daddy's food was equally delicious.
So that sentence was true, the food was very good. Even if the service was a bit curt (though the other waiter was friendlier).
After that, I couldn't manage the sweet I had in mind (gulab jamun), so we left and had time to venture a little farther along the road, faced another disappointment at Divertimenti, a cookshop, regarding Nigella objects. Then we caught a bus and made our way to Waterloo.
I went home with none of Nigella's expensive kitchenware. How do I feel now? Not the worse for it. I am pretty heavy-handed with my stuff, I once let fall and broke a beautifully ornate Tunisian casserole dish only two weeks after I came home with it. It had survived the flight but not my clumsiness. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, I have no regrets. I'll go back to London and buy some of her more klutz-proof gadgets, that is, if I ever track them down...