Review: Lokhandwala

Everybody loves a story. This colourful fusion of Indian and English tapas and cocktail bar is inspired by a mysterious tale of one Lady Charlotte Louisa Fitzrovia and her bad boy lover, Vijay.

The team behind India’s biggest food event, Grub Fest, have tested their mettle with this curiously Colonial-inspired rustic, yet florid, décor; referencing the opulent Miss Havisham (from another story).

Lokhandwala is slap bang in the middle of Charlotte Street, and was, as our lovely waiter pointed out, the home of this Victorian Lady Charlotte who was ultimately outcast by her family for falling in love with the dashing young Vijay, a ‘street boss’ for a then notorious district of Bombay, after which the restaurant is named. It’s a nice thought, if only any of it were true: a little research will tell you that the word Fitzrovia was only invented in the 1920s and this street is named after Queen Charlotte. Nevertheless, great fun and ideal for groups of plenty – tapas is best shared, cocktails to be selfishly devoured.

Our cocktails look brilliantly ridiculous. A cage opens to reveal a tiny glass bird which is then placed on a little pink cushion (there’s probably a story behind this one) and my guest is drinking out of a peacock teacup – a reference to the Indian tearooms of a bygone era. Our Indi mezze platter featured crispy, moreish okra kurkure with bright dips and tasty aubergine bharta. I would return for the 24-hour marinated lamb chops and the Himalayan quail, but vital ingredients were missing from most of the dishes.

The bizarre pastiche of fabled and imagined history is all a bit bonkers and in a way, it works. But perhaps it was all a little too gentle.

Published in Le Prestige Scandinavia


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