South Indian Feast at Quilon
A Michelin starred south Indian Restaurant just down the road from me in St James’s Park…and one I hadn’t heard of before. I was really looking forward to visiting. I checked up and discovered that Quilon is the sister restaurant of Bombay Brasserie (even closer to where I live), somewhere I used to visit quite regularly when I had a friend living round the corner from Gloucester Road tube station.
My brother and I found the restaurant very easily. It was busy, but not unpleasantly so. And just a little tired around the edges in terms of décor. But I understand that they are about to close for a refurbishment so I might just go back there in a few months.
From that you will perhaps have gathered already that we enjoyed our meal. I decided to let the chef decide on what I should eat since I really know very little about South Indian food, while my brother chose for himself. The chef’s choice means you get tasting portions of his recommendations. And it does make life a lot easier because the menu is quite comprehensive.
To start we were served some mini pappadams with a couple of fresh chutneys (coconut and coriander and a tomato chutney) and a selection of home made pickles.
Our starters arrived – my selection from the chef was grilled scallops with mango and chilli and pepper shrimps, both of which were perfectly cooked, very tender and with distinct flavours.
My brother chose the Dashini pepper chicken, a pretty dish of chicken breast with a green peppercorn, yogurt and chilli sauce.
After the starters we were served a complimentary rasam – a warm tomato, lentil, coriander and tamarind soup with a real kick to it, as a palate cleanser. A nice touch.
Then, main courses. Some very light and fluffy rice, crispy fried okra and Malabar Paratha as accompaniments to my baked black cod and Prawns byadgi and my brother’s Mangalorean chicken. The breads were being cooked on a skillet at the side of the restaurant and were deliciously crispy and light. The baked black cod for my taste was a little over cooked and soft, but delightfully aromatic.
And, the butterflied prawn was a fabulous demonstration of why this restaurant has a Michelin star.
Desserts were exquisite. My pistachio icecream with manuka honey cakes, a pistachio praline and a little chocolate pot filled with white chocolate cream was really pretty and very light. My brother chose a chocolate truffle mousse, which had the added surprise of popping candy!
I’d like to go back again and try some more of the food. Particularly the vegetarian dishes which look sublime. Fish and meat dishes are priced at around £8-£12 for a small portion and £17-£25 for large portions. The vegetarian options are all a very reasonable £8, and one of my favourite dishes was the crispy Okra
And I am curious what the refurbishment results in.