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3 March 2010

Eat at the India Club Restaurant

It turns out it's been nearly a year since your author visited the India Club Restaurant on the Strand, so it's about time it got a mention here. Londonist reports they opened in 1939 next to Charing Cross before moving to the current premises on the Strand in the 1950s, and your author has no reason to doubt that. The restaurant doesn't seem to have changed much in recent times and the food is so average it has clearly made its main trade from being near to India House, which sits across the road.

Having said that, your author has never had a more authentic Indian restaurant experience outside the Indian Subcontinent, in an absolutely charming but not necessarily gastronomic way. Situated up a winding staircase in the Hotel Strand Continental (which isn't even really a hotel), the restaurant is largely unmarked and consequently from the outside it is pretty tough to find if you're not looking. All this, and when your author visited the staff didn't seem that happy to see him.

Pleasantly abrupy staff and floors of blank hotel staircases to get to a small, dark restaurant where they serve you things you vaguely recognise from your local Tandoori, but which aren't really the same. If you squint you could be in the Trivandrum bus station branch of the Indian Coffee House, or in a hotel restaurant in the Delhi backstreets.

But this is absolutely the joy for your author. You can go to loads of restaurants in London serving cuisine from around the world but at the India Club it's like you're actually there. There are only a few other places in London which have ever properly achieved this. If you're interested and you want to see proper review, see http://londonist.com/2009/02/best_of_the_byos_the_india_club.php

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