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Indian Winter

I'm still trying to get back on the spice trail after a brief wimpy respite from Indian food and what better time than when the weather's grim and when my stomach is saying 'feed me' but my conscience is saying 'remember your vegetables'.

There seems to be a bit of a curry comeback going on too at the moment sparked by the recent opening of Vineet Bhatia's groovy Urban Turban on Westbourne Grove, a peppy, contemporary place serving tapas-style dishes of gunpowder prawns and home-smoked honey and mustard tandoori salmon with cucumber-dill raita.

While over in SW1, sister restaurant to The Bombay Brasserie, The Quilon, which specialises in light, Southern cuisine with an emphasis on seafood, has introduced a rather virtuous ayurvedic menu which includes lentil dosa (pancakes) stuffed with vegetables, mustard-marinated tilapia wrapped in banana leaf and delicately spiced okra and cauliflower dishes.

For me, though, an Indian has to be cosy, hearty and slightly eccentric to really cut the mustard seeds. Chor Bizarre fits the bill nicely with its Kashmiri caravan vibe and the tendency of the waitresses to overfeed you with delicious crabcakes and coconut chutney, pot-roasted lamb shank and melt-in-the-mouth aubergine with tamarind and sesame.

You can't say I'm not getting my pulses.

Urban Turban, 98 Westbourne Gr, W2 - 020 7243 4200
The Quilon, Crown Plaza St James, 41 Buckingham Place, SW1 - 020 7821 1899
Chor Bizarre, 16 Albemarle St, W1 -
020 7629 9802

by SL
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