Modern Indian restaurants have certainly evolved to keep in touch with the times. However, the term ‘cool’ was probably not something one would ever use when describing an Indian restaurant. Until a visit to Mint Leaf, that is. Mint Leaf proves that Indian restaurants can be a sophisticated and cool affair without compromising on the food.
Having first opened its doors in 2003, the venue looks every bit as fresh and new as when it first launched. The street level entrance leads down to a very cool cocktail bar, where an eclectic mix of suits and trendy media types convened for a few cocktails on the Wednesday night of visit. With over 400 spirits stocked behind the 22ft long bar, the highly trained bar team are able to create an endless array of cocktails; prices are pretty reasonable too, with most coming in at around £7.50. The only disappointment is that the drinks menu only lists a handful of their spirits selection, so establishing whether they stock a particular brand of whisky, for example, can be rather painful as the waiter runs back and forth from the bar to check.
The adjoining restaurant is similarly designed, with extensive use of dark oak and leather offset by seductive lighting. So far so good. Fortunately, any fears of this restaurant being all style and no substance are quickly allayed with the food.
The menu offers a range of interesting dishes which still feel familiar enough to remain accessible. Starters were well cooked and beautifully spiced, including Chicken Tikka marinated in lime leaf & coriander and Roasted quail with ground mustard & honey. Mains were a little more conventional, but still of a good standard. Sea bass was perfectly poached and served in a perpetually dippable tomato & fenugreek sauce; Indian restaurants stalwarts of Lamb & spinach curry and Dal makhani were classically cooked; only the Paneer & green peas were a let down, with an overbearing sweet & sour flavour and a scary £17 price tag. The desserts are probably worth a miss, with various ice creams and cakes not quite as convincing as the rest.
Cuisine: Modern Indian
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £80
Mint Leaf Restaurant & Bar
London SW1Y 4HX
T: 020 7930 9020