Posted by Jen Sahi on 10th April 2019.

One step inside Indya by Vineet and you''re in awe of the pops of colour that perfectly reflect the vibrancy of India. The interiors are a contemporary blend of old meets new with British colonial wicker chairs alongside whimsical Indian pop art, blue peacock chairs, bright tiles, and a street-art-style Ganesh.

Unfortunately, the service isn't so slick. We're shown the gin room but not given the gin menu. The waiter tries to remember our order by heart but can't actually remember so awkwardly grabs a notepad off his colleague to jot it down. To be honest, it reminds me a lot of dining in India, so it kind of adds to the experience.
I consider myself well-versed in Indian food, having lived in Mumbai for nearly three years, but I still find Indya's menu hard to navigate for a first-timer - like at your typical British curry house where you?re expected to know the difference between a jalfrezi and a dopiaza.

It's a sharing concept with the menu split into unconventional categories (From the Earth, From the Land, From the Sea) and I fully appreciate Foodiva''s recent post where she implores restaurants to call it what it is. Within each section, starters are mixed with mains, and I need a translator to help me understand what I'll get if I order a Chicken habibi makhni labneh or Charlie Chapli lamb kebab.

Our first attempt at ordering results in only one main, so we have another go with me asking odd questions like, 'Is it dry or is it a gravy?' In the end, I'm telling the waiter exactly what to send when to ensure our starters come first and our mains come later.
We love the look and taste of the Sabudana Kebab which reminds me of my Bombay days, kebabs of tapioca pearls and spinach, colourfully plated with purple potato crisps, coriander chutney, peanuts, and achaar mayo. The Charcoal Sev Papdi Dahi Chaat has a typical taste with the Instagrammable addition of black poori and sev.

We thoroughly enjoy most dishes, including the Turmeric Roti Taco (served in a soft shell which reminds me of thepla, filled with battered sea bass, chili mayo and sweet tamarind sauce), Burnt Aubergine Spinach (basically baingan bharta with spinach), Homestyle Chicken Masala with Dal, and Peshwari Naan (thick and sweet with coconut, almonds and raisins).
Others miss the mark - the Prawn Chilli, Curd Rice lacks the intense flavour from the tadka and is instead overpowered by a salty sauce. The Keema Burrata Pijja Naan is flavourful but too greasy. The Keralan Chilli Beef Fry is also too salty.

Some dishes are more creative than others but hidden within the menu are several familiar items for those who are less adventurous or at a loss of what to order, for example, the juicy Phamous Tandoori Chicken.

Despite these challenges, there are still enough reasons to visit Indya by Vineet, especially once you know what to expect and what to order.

More Stories