Since it’s opening in 2000, Mela is still delivering the goods. The colourful walls, funky paintings and bleached wood create a vibrant environment and there is plenty of light to give a really welcoming and relaxed feel. The real star of the show is the open kitchen, where you can see the chefs grilling, frying and ‘tandooring’ to their hearts content – great entertainment as well as inspiring great confidence in the quality of the food.
The menu is based on ‘country-style’ Indian food on provides some very tempting choices. Starters of Duck samosa is rich in flavour with a thick tasty pastry whilst the Mutter Adrak Ki Aloo was a delicious shallow-fried patty of crushed green peas, ginger and mash. Scallop Aur Calamari is an excellent squid and scallops dish with warming Goan piri-piri soured sauce.
Mains are simply outstanding. Khatta Khargosh is one of the most unique and finest curries you’re ever likely to taste; delicious chunks of rabbit married to a thick yogurty sauce laced with large hot chillis. The Lobster Pepper Fry is another outstanding dish of a perfectly cooked lobster with a with a rich and spicy pepper sauce on a buttery naan. Vegetarians will also be spoiled with a range of interesting dishes including Mushroom Hara Pyaz (button mushrooms tossed in onion tomato gravy). Unfortunately, the desserts are nothing to write home about – just stick kulfi (Indian ice-cream) but you’re not likely to have much room after the mains.
Curries are powerful and saucy, the kebabs are expertly cooked and excellent sides demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of the importance of simple flavours and quality ingredients; you’ll also find some of the best naans and parathas around. This food will seriously assault your tastebuds in the best possible way!
Cuisine type – ‘Country-style’ Indian
Dinner for 2 (ex. drinks) – £55
Beer – £3.50
Wine – £4
In Herne Hill, Covent Garden and Redhill. Full details at: