Superhot: Indian restaurants with dishes to kill the chill

chillies (2)

We all know at least one idiot who’s convinced that only fire equals flavour, and that an Indian dish devoid of chilli simply isn’t worth eating. And we all know that more often than not, their logic is fatally flawed. But during this nasty little cold snap, there’s no denying that food that’s hot in terms of temperature and taste is more than warmly welcome.

So where, pray tell, can one come across super-spicy stuff that’s still incredibly edible? Read on, find out, tuck in.

Cinnamon Culture

cinnamon culture tandoori tamarind quail

Contemporary plating belies flavours that are complex and authentic enough to impress the Michelin men, who hotly tip this Bromley fine diner. After a chilli vodka cocktail, go for squid to start, with its double dose of chilli and black pepper, or sticky-spicy chilli paneer. For mains, Chettinad chicken’s name reveals its origin – a state where fare is hot hot hot. Got a burning urge for something a little wilder? Goat vindalho, Rajasthani jungli boar and Kashmiri buffalo rove the regions and keep the heat level high.

View the menu here

Cafe Spice Namaste

Cafe Spice Namaste Cyrus Todiwala Indian restaurant East London

Bombay Goan Cyrus Todiwala doesn’t shy away from spice, and he wields it well. When the chef says something’ll made sweat beads pop out on your brow, he means it. Should he not be on hand to advise on your visit to his flagship London restaurant, fear not – the detailed descriptions that accompany each and every item on the mile-long menu are all in his own inimitable tone. About the beef tikka in crushed black pepper and red chilli, he says, ‘This one is HOT and not to be taken lightly.’ Believe him. Squid piri piri, meanwhile, ‘is not for the faint-hearted, but is most popular with all those smitten by it. So we had to bring it back even though the fumes almost cripple us in the kitchen each time the order comes in.’

A bit like that cracking chanteuse Katy Perry, black pepper ice cream is sweet that’s simultaneously hot and cold. To drink, cocktail maestro (and Cyrus’s son) Jamsheed’s red chilli apple mojito is a glass full not only of fire but also aromatics, fruit and a good slug of premium rum.

View the menu here

Curry Leaf Cafe

Curry Leaf Cafe Kanthi Kiran Thamma Temple Bar Brighton restaurant South Indian

Brighton’s brightest South Asian spot holds equal appeal to hipsters hungry to expand their culinary horizons and homesick Desis looking to reconnect with their roots by filling their bellies with Kanthi Thamma’s award-winning grub. South Indian is this chef’s speciality, so kick off with guinea fowl Chettinad – poky with black pepper, smoky from the tandoor – and nadan erachi ularthiyathu; a spice-packed Keralan lamb fry that’s very hard to say and extremely easy to eat.

Keep the heat level high with a meaty main of palm vinegar-soured, palm sugar-sweetened pork vindaloo, or, for the veggies, amaravati vankaya koora – tangy tamarind aubergines in a spicy sauce. Cocktail-lovers are spoilt for choice, and the Spiced Margarita and the Bloody Meera are the coolest, hottest options.

Like what you taste? Word to the wise: you can also get a fast fix elsewhere in London-by-Sea, at CLC’s Brighton Station kiosk or Temple Bar pop-up.

View the menu here


Gunpowder London Indian food Harneet Baweja Nirmal Save Spitalfields restaurant

The whisky-wild will go mad for the more-than mild Dirty Rasam cocktail at Harneet Bhaweja and Nirmal Save’s cosy little joint in East London. The fiery flavours of that classic Indian broth are all intact, afforded extra impact with a rather large measure of whisky. Snack on spicy, salty porzhi okra fries to further fire up your tastebuds, then order a couple of rounds of Maa’s Kashmiri lamb chops – robustly-marinated, superbly smoky and stupidly tender. Nagaland belly pork is as hot as you’d hope a dish from a cold climate would be; its character as Chinese as Indian, its warmth creeping up on you and getting your tastebuds all a-tingle.

View the menu here

La Porte des Indes

La Porte des Indes chard water chestnut pakoras

The menu at husband-and-wife team Sherin Alexander and Mehernosh Mody’s exotic peacock of an Indian restaurant spans the subcontinent, but also offers a showcase of the food peculiar to Pondicherry; combining typical Tamil heat, fine French influences, and more besides. Along with hot hot heat, there’s a hint of Mediterranean warmth in the sundried tomato-spiked roasted chilli seekh kebabs. Black cod is both flame-grilled and fiery – marinated in fennel, chilli, mustard, honey, tamarind and rice vinegar, and those brave enough for brains will get hot and bothered over the kheema bheja baida masala. But it’s the Goan vindaloo that’s the big daddy here; a hot, pungent preparation of Old Spot pork, red chillies, garlic and malt vinegar.

View the menu here


Special virunthu meal Anjappar EatUpCrew Chettinad restaurant East Ham London South Indian

An offshoot of a popular Indian chain, Anjappar brings a searing slice of Tamil heat to East Ham’s High Street North. Chettinad cuisine is hot hot hot and the robust spicing works wonderfully with game – so if you’re lukewarm about the likes of venison and rabbit, this is the place to try it. Almost everything is hot, so if it’s actually described thus on the menu, you know you’re in for a sheer edible inferno. Similarly, the ‘devil’ dishes – available in mutton, chicken, fish and prawn varieties, any kind of ‘pepper fry’, and anything with ‘Chettinad’ in the title. For under a tenner, the Anjappar Virunthu meal offers more food than two can eat and more heat than some can handle.

View the menu here

  • To read more about Curry Leaf Cafe’s Kanthi Thamma, click here
  • To read more about Cyrus Todiwala’s Goan restaurant Assado, click here
  • To read more about Gunpowder, click here
  • To read more about La Porte des Indes, click here


One response to “Superhot: Indian restaurants with dishes to kill the chill

  1. Pingback: murungakkai rasam /drumstick rasam recipe -·

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