Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen opens in Canary Wharf: A deliciously indulgent discovery of Indian cuisine
Seeking refuge from the hustle and bustle of central London, the food adventurer will find a very good spot in Canary Wharf. Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen is the new project of chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE. The restaurant, located within the freshly opened Lincoln Plaza, is set to be an intriguing culinary destination. At the heart of the dining experience, there is the exaltation of great ingredients and a love for refined products.
Thanks to the hotel in which it is situated – belonging to the Curio Collection by Hilton – the venue emanates a sense of luxury, from the high ceiling to the top quality materials of the interior. Some of the decorations, though, try to bring in the vibes of the surrounding docks, with portholes peeking from the top level and parts of nautical wrecks hanging from the wall. The bar, Jack Speak, is also inspired by the local area, starting from the name itself, which comes from colloquial naval language. The small venue, set on the first floor and with a quiet terrace annexed, offers an interesting list of rum and gins.
On the ground floor, in addition to Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, there is a grocer’s delicatessen, from where it is possible to buy artisanal meat, cheese and baked goods, to cook at home or to enjoy as a takeaway meal.
Moving to the restaurant section, the atmosphere slightly changes, with warm colours, bright lights, sari fabrics, and shelves on the wall housing terracotta and copper pottery. An unusual though friendly presence is the massive elephant in the room. The furniture and the cutlery, in their discord, offer a less sophisticated atmosphere, making the visitors more at ease, whilst still remaining elegant and evocative.
Todiwala’s cuisine takes from both his Parsee culinary heritage and the Indian street food tradition, adding a French twist. This combination of elements brings out the delicacy in the richest of dishes.
There are some set menu options – which include around five courses – to allow you to try as much as possible of the large variety on offer.
We began our evening with a first course featuring an interesting mixture, predominantly vegetable-based. The broccoli, mushroom and chilli cheese roll had a tender consistency against the thicker pastry. Finely fried, the prawn spring roll had a tasty pulpy filling, whereas the Partridge Kavaab found its perfect finishing on the light garlic Mayonnaise. The crunchiest piece was the Beetroot and Coconut Samosa, which was rather less sweet than anticipated.
The second course, a glorious meaty trio, helped to highlight an important characteristic of Mr Todiwala’s kitchen. A champion of sustainability, the chef personally takes care to use ingredients coming from socially conscious suppliers. The meat is sourced from British farmers and the fish from local communities. The restaurant supports organic products with no use of colouring. An example of this was the Chicken Tikka, lacking that bright red appearance we may be accustomed to, but naturally well-flavoured. This was served with a lean turkey kibbeh on tomato sauce and a freshly marinated chutney duck. The intense Vilcún Merlot we had happily married this course.
The mains exemplified the triumph of Indian curries, exquisitely refined for Western taste buds. The Prawn Patia was definitely our favourite. The fresh crustaceans only partially absorbed the sweet sauce in which they were served, keeping a crispy consistency, intensified by the spices. The Tadka Daal is another must. This dish combined toor and masoor daal, tempered and fried together with garlic, cumin and red chilli. Its perfect consistency found the right accompaniment in the warm naan.
In every traditional Indian restaurant, one staple that’s impossible to miss from the dessert menu is the Kulfi. However, despite the cool sensation of this dish, we preferred the Gajjar Halwa. The pudding’s base was pretty simple – sugar and ghee – but it was elevated to gratifying delicacy in the melting, velvety core.
A treasure trove hidden within the finance hub of the city, Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen is a both a pleasing indulgence and a delicious discovery of Indian cuisine.
Photos: Matthew Pull
To book a table at Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, 2 Lincoln Plaza London E14 9BD, call 020 7987 1157 or visit their website here.