Friday, September 21, 2007

Soul food at Quilon, the Queen's neighbour

To me, London is always a fascinating place. And the only place I never tire of going back to. It is also the place where one never gets homesick. One of the things that keep homesickness at bay is the lovely Quilon restaurant, a stone’s throw from the Queen’s residence, the Buckingham Palace. A Taj property, Quilon is elegant and unostentatious. But it is the food that scores. It specialises in Indian coastal food, but with a Continental twist where presentation is concerned. The mini dosa comes on a narrow place with a conical little dosa in the middle flanked by chutney and curry; the seafood combo appetiser is delicately flavoured and brings back memories of cool, coastal evenings; and the humble kesari bhath is transformed by its elegant setting. Fish and chicken combos, with parathas or appams, mildly flavoured lemon and tamarind rice – all constitute the main course. An enduring favourite is the mango curry, eaten with plain rice.

Quilon is not pretentious about its recipes and will gladly give printouts to anybody who’s interested. Chef Sriram Aylur (pic below), a Taj veteran, has done a fantastic job and the results are there for all to see. Quilon is packed most days and patrons include many Bond protagonists, tennis star Roger Federer, British celebrities, visiting Indian VIPs and the like.

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