Tom curates West Hampstead’s curry choices

Given that the weather will soon (already has) turned ominous, I thought a quick round-up of a few local curry establishments would be in order (though they’re listed in no particular order). Not that there’s anything wrong with eating such things on a hot summer’s day of course…

All hail the Tin

All hail the Tin

Predictably, I’ll start with the take-away only Tiffin Tin. It’s not that these guys give me back-handers (bribery would work, it’s just that no-one’s offered yet), it’s simply a case of wonderful food, and remarkable consistency. The dishes feel healthy, yet robust, with hunger-bashing portion sizes and appetising aromas of freshly ground spices. The Tin has only ever got one order wrong, delivering some lamb samosas I hadn’t ordered – but those rich, flavoursome morsels were impressive all the same. My favourite dishes; the Goan salmon (tantalising flavours, perfect heat) and the koshi machhi. Note also the excellent vegetable-based dishes – brilliantly done.

On Dyne Road

On Dyne Road

A comparable alternative might be Holy Cow in Kilburn. My findings a while back were of high-quality ingredients and assured cooking. Strangely, their delivery menu appears identical in parts to the Tin’s. The consensus on Twitter has generally been that it’s good quality, but on the pricey side.

Bengal Spice West HampsteadBengal Spice on West End Lane offers a more traditional experience, with a wide range of old favourites served in the same way I remember as a greedy teenager. Recently I enjoyed a tangy, vibrant prawn madras but if this had a hotness rating of two chilli symbols on the menu rather than three, then I respect the bravery of whoever tries the vindaloo! The salmon tikka starter was also excellent.

Of a similar style, Ruchi in Kilburn seems to have been around for as long as Bengal, and again seems to please those looking for the tried and tested options, done very well. I haven’t eaten there many times, but Jonathan’s often mentioned it and praises it as the best of its type in the area. [JT: if you want old-skool done well, then Ruchi is your go-to restaurant.]

Ruchi is tucked away with a loyal fan base

Ruchi is tucked away with a loyal fan base

Fortune Green's finest

Fortune Green’s finest

Bombay Nights in Fortune Green, again long-established, features a joyful logo and a nice balance of expected and less-common selections, which include scallops and crab in addition to a wide range of chicken and lamb plates. I’ve enjoyed dinner there, and am impressed by its enthusiasm in updating its Facebook page with colourful and tempting photographs – the owners seem proud of what they do.

Returning to a slightly more modern take on this fantastic cuisine, Guglee is the sort of place that makes one proud to live in the area. The interior design is gorgeous, the atmosphere buzzing (the kitchen is visible to diners and the camaraderie of chefs and other staff is evident), and the food is classy, inspiring, all-round delicious. Railway lamb (Rogan Josh style) and prawn kadai stand out – and although the food is refined, the portions are generous! And let’s not overlook that delightful Indian Shiraz, which we’ve raved about many times on here. [JT: Also does the best Indian chaat streetfood starters. Agree with Tom, this is one of the gems of West Hampstead.]

Modern font, modern food

Modern font, modern food

Mill Lane's other curry option

Mill Lane’s other curry option

Spice Tree (formerly Babur Empire) is somewhere I’ve enjoyed a hearty takeaway king prawn jalfrezi from on occasion, but I haven’t eaten in the restaurant recently. I do tend to order from the aforementioned Tiffin Tin as its vegetable dishes are at a level above most of the competition. Spice Tree has a very smart new outside terrace, so perhaps it’s worth going along to try it out while the weather is still… errm… well, take an umbrella or something (Brits talking about the weather again – yawn – sorry!)

There are of course plenty of other Indian restaurants to try in NW6; we’re lucky in having such choice, and maybe this continues to drive quality? Everyone who enjoys a curry has their own personal tastes and preferences, whether it involves an overload of chicken (Jonathan), or proud, glowing prawns (me).

Well, I’ve worked-up quite an appetite absorbed in all that… time to grab a corkscrew and a spice-orientated delivery menu ASAP.

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  • Kiran Raichura

    Not in West Hampstead technically, but I’d thoroughly recommend getting take-away or delivery from Woodlands in Hampstead. Proper Indian food and lots of different south indian food on he menu

    • Tom Vanheems

      Thanks for the tip, I’ve not been to Woodlands, will have a look..

  • Nathan Davis

    Tiffin tin used to be my goto until they regularly starting taking 1-3 hours to deliver food. Bombay nights now for me. Nice guys

    • Tom Vanheems

      Yes sorry about that – they have to prioritise my giant feasts for delivery, Nathan!

  • Ko

    Tom – good piece thanks. how would you rank order them all?

    • Tom Vanheems

      Thanks Ko! Now that’s a good question, I would need to think about that. For delivery, it’s certainly the Tin..

  • Giles Toman

    If you are going to go as far as Ruchi, also go just 100m further to Bombay Flame, one “block” further along, on the corner of Gascony Avenue and Kingsgate Road – its another “hidden gem”. I got to both Bombay Flame and Ruchi fairly often, both brilliant, both also have outside space, which is great in summer!

    • I’ve not been to Bombay Flame in a very very long time myself. Sounds like it’s improved though, which is great to hear. Lets see if Tom can stagger the extra 100 metres and check it out…!

      • Giles Toman

        Hi – I have lived on Kingsgate Road for 13 years so both of these are kind of my “locals” – they are both really good!

      • Tom Vanheems

        I ordered once from Bombay Flame by accident – I thought I was ordering from Bombay Nights in Fortune Green! I recall the food was nice, and quite traditional with lots of butter – robust and enjoyable. Indeed I should stagger along and try eating in..