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Monday, 15 August 2011

London Restaurant Reviews - Malabar Junction (Southern Indian in Fitzrovia)

Just off Tottenham Court Road on Great Russell Street in Bloomsbury, Malabar Junction is one of those places that despite the garish coloured lights and bright green façade, can very easily go unnoticed.

The restaurant has a tiny and unassuming entrance but the interior is one of most surprising I have seen in a restaurant - spacious, elegantly furnished and with a massive glass roof letting in plenty of natural light.

Malabar Junction serves Southern Indian cuisine from Kerala. The menu is reasonably priced with most main courses at around £10 (the most expensive is only £14.50), while vegetarian dishes cost £6.50. There are some interesting choices - exotic fish and seafood specialties from Kerala offered alongside other Indian classics like lamb rogan josh and chicken korma.

In the absence of a tasting menu, Dr G and I were tempted by a variety of different dishes. Some turned out more successful than others - the Crab Tenga Curry @ £10.95 was rather good - crab on the shell cooked in a mildly spiced coconut sauce with ginger, tomatoes, onions and delicious spices and chillies.

The Kerala Mutton Curry @ £10.95 was in our opinion one of the best dishes - very tender pieces of mutton cooked in a rich sauce with flavours of turmeric, coriander, chillies and black pepper. We enjoyed having this with the Malabar Paratha (flatbread) @ £3.

The King Prawn Poriyal @ £10.95 was good although somewhat spoilt by having to compete with dozens of ingredients fighting for attention in that small dish. The presentation was in my opinion naive.

I was disappointed with Malabar's Fish Fry @ £9. This is a whole, deep fried pomfret that would have tasted crisp and delicious had it not been for the thick layer of red sauce, onions and spices that smothered it.

To accompany our mains, we had two very interesting and flavoursome vegetarian dishes - Kalan @ £6.50, made of green bananas cooked in yoghurt with onion, turmeric powder and mustard seeds, garnished with sweet mango. I thoroughly enjoyed the slightly sour and sweet flavours from the green bananas, yoghurt and sweet mango in this dish.

Garlic Mogo @ £6 was the second accompaniment - pieces of cassava marinated in turmeric and tossed with ginger, garlic and herbs.

The Lemon Rice @ £3.50 was also delicious and perfect to soak up the coconut flavoured mutton curry.

What most impressed me at Malabar Junction was their excellent wine list at outstandingly affordable prices. Most bottles were marked below £20. We had a bottle of 2009 Alsace Gewurztraminer Dopff au Moulin, France at £23. This wine retails at around £15. It was a magnificent off-dry wine with sweet spice and lychee notes and a refreshing mineral acidity that matched perfectly the spicy Indian food that we ate.

We also noted Champagne Moutard Cuvee Reserve listed at a mere £27.95. This retails at most off-licenses for £25! So not much of a mark up on Malabar Junction wines.

Dr G and I were very pleasantly surprised by Malabar Junction's beautiful and unassuming rooms, its simple but well executed food, and were amazed by its wine list. If I find myself in the centre of town  craving a curry and a decent bottle of wine, I will make sure to check this place out again.

Cost: The London Foodie was a guest of Malabar Junction. I estimate that a meal for two will cost around £40 (excluding drinks).

Likes: the Kerala mutton curry and the crab tenga curry were both delicious as was the lemon rice they were served with. I loved the spacious and light decor, the attentive service and the very reasonable prices of its food and wine list.

Dislikes: presentation of some of the dishes could be improved. A tasting menu would also be attractive.

Verdict: good, reasonably priced Indian restaurant in Central London with an unusually broad and affordable wine list. Elegant and spacious, with attentive service. Recommended.

Malabar Junction on Urbanspoon


  1. Nice, I think it's on taste card as well which it's good. Will thinkof checking it out soon.

  2. I went here for lunch the other day and it was fantastic! I highly recommend it to anyone that's a fan of Indian food. It was part of my "101 things to do in London" on Facebook. It's a cool app which really gets you around London, check it out!


  3. I've walked past this restaurant lots - I never realised it was so beautiful inside! Will have to try it out!

  4. @ Federelli - thanks for pointing this out, Malabar Junction is on the Taste Card, so even better value!

    @ Anon - thanks for sharing Anon.

    @ Diana M - I know, I think this place has to go down as the most unassuming restaurant I have ever been, lovely decor though.

  5. I have visited in this restaurant in the past and to be honest it was awesome tasted Garlic Mogo @ £6! 5 star deserving restaurant!


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