Quilon, on Buckingham Gate, serves South West Coastal Indian dishes made by head chef Sriram Vishwanathan Aylur. Sriram describes his food as progressive, and having looked at my lunch menu, I could see what he meant judging by the unorthodox ingredients in his cooking (black cod comes to mind!). He gained the restaurant its first Michelin Star in 2008, which he has retained to this day.
Next, Dr G and I shared a medley of starters including a "vegetarian fried cake" of lotus stem and soya bean served with a mango and plum sauce, and "slow roasted lamb shank" which was particularly good, and flavoured with fennel and mint. There were also "crab cakes" with curry leaves, ginger, and green chillies and a "grilled scallop" with small pieces of mango and chilli. I enjoyed all of these appetizers, and was pleased with the vibrant, fresh flavours of each dish.
For my main dish I had to go for the "Baked Black Cod" @ £12. As a South Pacific fish, this could hardly be described as indigenous. Black cod is more commonly associated with Japan, where it is hugely popular baked with white miso. Sriram's version had a similar texture - milky and creamy, but tasted deliciously different with the various Indian spices. I really enjoyed this dish.
Another excellent main was the "Prawns Byadgi". This was a massive, succulent prawn, beautifully grilled, and flavoured with the intriguing sweetness of the byadgi chilli.
We also ordered a Mangalorean chicken curry "Kori Gassi" @ £15. This was a sensational curry, and one I don't remember having tried before. Made with a coconut milk base, the curry contained a myriad of spices including coriander, fenugreek and cumin, and also a slight tamarind sourness which balanced the richness of the coconut.
One of the best dishes was the "Crispy Okra" @ £8. The okra had been thinly sliced, battered and deep-fried. It was delicious and a great accompaniment to the fish and chicken dishes.
Quilon offers a 3-course set lunch menu for £24 (available all week except Saturday), and impressive 5 or 8-course beer and food matching menus for £65 and £85 respectively. Looking at the 8-course menu, I was struck by the quality and range of beers including some of my favourites like the Belgian Chimay Red (paired with the black cod), the Alsatian Kasteel Cru Rose and the Greenwich Meantime Pale Ale (no Cobra anywhere to be seen!).
Cost: The London Foodie was a guest of Quilon. I estimate that a 3-course meal would cost around £35-£40 per person excluding drinks which I believe to be good value for food of this quality. The lunch menu is also good value at £24.
Likes: delicious, fresh, exciting Indian food with an outstanding list of wines and beers. Black cod, 5 and 8-course beer and food matching menus, central location, excellent and friendly service.
Dislikes: the decor leaves something to be desired in a restaurant of this calibre. A refurb is long overdue.