Brits hold the curry dear in our foodie affections, but we are also creatures of habit.
So before you order a chicken tikka masala tonight for the 27th time this year, let’s think outside the box a bit.
Take a look at our London tips for celebrating the beloved curry in all its forms, from all parts of the world.
Where to get an Indian or Pakistani curry
It is the cuisine that first ignited British tastebuds with a fiery passion for spice, and after years of being the nation’s guilty pleasure, Indian cuisine is enjoying something of a fine dining belle époque.
The Sethi family knows what makes a good Indian restaurant with a portfolio boasting Hoppers and Brigadiers. Trishna is of the same quality and has held onto its Michelin star since 2013. Rather than meaty dishes, this place celebrates the coastal cuisine of southwest India — the meen manga fish curry with the one to try here. For those looking for a fine-dining take on a favourite, Gymkhana (also owned by the Sethi family) offers a vindaloo of pork cheek or a lamb shank Rogan Josh. Meanwhile, over at Jamavar and Bombay Bustle chef Surender Mohan is concocting innovative Indian small plates.
Likewise, culinary golden boy Vivek Singh has a handful of restaurants in London including Cinnamon Kitchen, which offers similar food to sister site Cinnamon Club, but with less formality. Don’t forget to order one of their many naan breads to mop up any excess. From one award-winning restaurant to another, Veeraswamy, is the UK’s very first Indian restaurant, opening its doors over 90 years ago. It finally earned a Michelin star in 2016, having raised its game in the face of a remarkable influx of competition.
Over in east London is Gunpowder, a restaurant that was opened by power couple Harneet and Devina Baweja back in November 2015, along with chef Nirmal Save. Since then, it's seen roaring success having been recognised with a Bib Gourmand in 2018, which it kept in 2019. The egg curry masala is the one to try here but all dishes have a home-cooked feel to them and are wonderfully feel-good. If you’re aiming for something on the cheaper side, the well-loved Pakistani eatery Lahore Kebab House in Whitechapel continues to be a legend among curry houses.
Where to get a Caribbean curry
While both parts of the world were under European colonial rule, the Indian curry made its way to the West Indies, where it met its match in the form of the suitably mind-blowing Scotch Bonnet chilli pepper. Rum Kitchen slow braises its mutton for its curry that comes with roti and rice and peas while Cottons serves its curried mutton with traditional rice, peas and plantain.
Where to get a Thai curry
Fans of the fragrant flavours of Thailand have been in for a treat over the last year or so with a host of exciting new openings. The fabulous Som Saa is serving up a pork belly curry with pickled garlic and fresh ginger – or if you are a sucker for a fish curry, chef Andy Oliver makes his sour with mussels and watercress. Street food doyens Kiln shakes things up with a turmeric curry of Turbot, while Farang offer a rich beef cheek curry.
Where to get a South East Asian curry
King's Cross' Roti King serves authentic Malaysian favourites, including beef and, of course, roti served with curried meats or dhall. Over in London Bridge, Champoor Champoor’s menu boasts a selection of fragrant Malay curries covering meat, fish, vegan and vegetarian - not to mention they’re also incredibly Instagrammable, so don’t forgot to snap.
Where to get a Japanese curry
Japanese cuisine isn’t all clean eating. If you’re in the mood to shun the sashimi, a Japanese curry, most frequently enjoyed with panko-breadcrumbed and deep fried chicken katsu, is soul-warming comfort food. Japanese eatery Cocoro now boasts three locations including a Highgate deli, all of which serve up lashings of the national favourite. Japanese cuisine doesn’t tend to lend itself too well to herbivores, but vegetarians are well served at Islington’s Tanakatsu with the option of topping their curry with a pumpkin croquette accompaniment.