Hannah Talmage hops on the Tube to Zone 4 and discovers an Indian gem in South Woodford
Head east and just on the doorstep of London and you will find the latest offering from the team behind London’s first Michelin-starred Indian restaurant, Tamarind in Mayfair.
Grand Trunk Road is the brainchild of Rajesh Suri and Dayashankar Sharma who, after building a wealth of experience working in some of London’s top Indian restaurants, including Tamarind (where they met as general manager and head chef) decided to embark on their own project in Woodford.
We started with a cocktail from the extensive menu. We were seated in a corner booth. The venue has a relaxed yet opulent feel with low lighting, dark wood and copper fittings alongside a bare brick wall.
The menu invites you to take a culinary journey down The Grand Trunk road (a 1,600 mile route from Bangladesh to Afghanistan which stops via India and Pakistan). You can see that the duo have carefully and meticulously crafted each dish to ensure the diner has a true experience of the traditional cuisine found along this famous route.
We started with the Kolkota Ki Ajwani King prawns marinated with red peppers, tomato and garlic and the Peshawar Ki lamb chops, which melted in the mouth. We also tried Punjabk Aloo and Paneer Tikki; potato cakes with a hit of mint and tamarind in the chutney side.
Next we had the flavor-packed signature dish, Lucknow Ki Nihari, a traditional 12thcentury lamb shank recipe, recommended by head chef, Dayashankar. The meat literally fell off the bone and the punchy fusion of cardamom and cinnamon flavours in the sauce were the perfect combination. We also tried a traditional masala, which was the best I have tasted.
Alongside the mains we had sides of black lentil cooked with tomato and fenugreek leaves as well as Delhika Hari Mushrooms, a creamy spinach and mushroom combo. My companion was wowed by the truffle naan (an instagram favourite). The fluffy texture and glorious smell of the truffles as it was brought to the table did not disappoint. With heady and strong flavours, this is a must-try.
We were promised a ‘gastronomic journey from Kabul to Kolkata’ and that we had! The small yet perfectly formed restaurant is quietly confident and even on the outer ring of London’s gastronomic foodie scene it gives some of the top restaurants a run for it’s money.
219 High Road, London, E18 2PB, 020 8505 1965, gtrrestaurant.co.uk