As we were planning our trip to London last October, one of the things I was most excited about was the excellent Indian food I would be enjoying. Seeing as over 500,000 of London’s residents are Indian, I figured our options would be numerous. So, instead of looking up the current exhibition at the Royal British Museum and the Tate Modern, or booking tickets for Les Mis, I began obsessing over where to find the best tikka masala in the city. During our first few days in London, we tried two Indian restaurants, which were fine, but we hadn’t been blown away quite yet. Ever the extrovert, my husband began to ask around, and, thanks to some spot-on advice from a friendly Brit, we ended up at The Golden Oven in Soho at 2pm on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Despite our strange timing, there were quite a few full tables when we walked in. The décor is what you would expect for an Indian restaurant– tapestries, candles, and simple green linen tablecloths. What made The Golden Oven stand out from the other Indian places we had tried in London was the outstanding service and the rich, spicy, and complex flavors in each dish. Our waiter was quick to suggest complimentary combinations, and we followed his advice. The prices were very reasonable compared to other places we had been in London, so we gave him a range of what we were looking to spend and he designed a fabulous lunchtime menu for us. We were thrilled by both the value and diversity of the dishes.
A good friend of mine, and consummate foodie, always says “you can tell the quality of an Indian restaurant by its naan.” Considering the naan that was placed before us, glistening with ghee (clarified butter) and garlic, it looked like we were off to an auspicious start! The palak paneer (fresh spinach with paneer cheese) was thick and true to its name (i.e. generous on the paneer). Our wise waiter satisfied our desire for both chicken and lamb with a lively crimson tikka masala (with chicken) and an earthy yellow curry (with lamb)…brilliant. We washed all of this down with a couple of Kingfishers and sauntered out into the Soho streets, sated and ready to feast our eyes on the great sights of London.
The Golden Oven
Indian / Balti / Tandoori
22 Bateman St
London, W1D 3AN, United Kingdom
Tube:Tottenham Court Road, Charing Cross, Leicester Square
The Golden Oven was established in 1994. Since then, it has won many awards and is listed as a highly recommended Indian restaurant in international magazines and food guides. Some of these awards and recognitions include:
Master Chef 1997
Egon Ronay Guide 1994
Time Out London- Good Cheap Eats
Cobra Good Curry Guide
NTV – Nomination for the curry of the year award 2008