There’s so much going on right now on the London restaurant scene that it’s almost making me anxious. This autumn period is seeing so many new openings here, there and just about everywhere. The capital’s thirst for a constantly evolving and ferociously dynamic gastronomic dining scene continues to skyrocket and barely seems quenchable – even though there’s so much to digest right now.
Sometimes in such circumstances it’s comforting, even refreshing, to hit the reset button, take a deep breath and indulge in some quality familiarity. With such a cocktail of cuisine within grasp on every doorstep, occasionally it’s a real joy to go back to basics.
If I had a gun to my head, I’d most likely say if I were to choose such an experience, then a high-end, solid curry would be my go-to. Recent excursions of late have been to one place above all others: The Bengal Tiger. Despite being rooted in the old school, Bangladeshi heritage that we all know and love, there is nothing basic or tired about it.
This genuine hidden gem is tucked away in the City of London on an unassuming medievally-narrow, windy side lane under the imposing, stoic gaze of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was a pleasure to see on Tuesday evening in the summer (when restaurants are quiet) a full, bustling dining room. I immediately knew there had to be more to this Tiger than met the eye, even before the words “I reckon two poppadoms each will be fine” left anyone’s mouths. The dishes themselves pay faithful homage to their Bangladeshi roots whilst maintaining keen attention to the quality and blending of the ingredients. The fare is incredibly fresh, well-spiced, layered in complex flavour and delivered to the highest standard.
It was no surprise to learn shortly afterwards that the venue had already won Chef of The Year at the previous Curry Awards (a prestigious event with a cult following these days) and very recently, more gong nominations have come their way for the upcoming event this year, including Best Restaurant in London. Win or lose – this City institution is without doubt top of the Pop(padom)s for the perfect place to unwind with superb, classically influenced yet contemporary dishes and an ice-cold Cobra to wash it down with. Go down there after work one night this week while you’re still on the waiting list for one of the new kids on the block.
The Bengal Tiger 62 Carter Ln, London EC4V 5EA 020 7248 6361 www.bengal-tiger.co.uk