A French-Indian dining experience

The Daily Out 15 Jan 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I organized to meet with a group of friends for dinner. It was the 11 of us, and after a little search, I managed to reserve a table at La Port des Indes in Marble Arch.

La Porte des Indes has been part of the London dining scene for quite a while, being established in 1996. Literally translated from French, La Porte des Indes means Gateway to India. This restaurant is owned by Blue Elephant International, the company behind the stunning Thai eaterie Blue Elephant.

The menu features Gallic influenced dishes representative of Pondicherry, a former French colony in India. Mehernosh Mody, the executive chef, and his wife Sherin, spent several months in Pondicherry researching the traditional cuisine of French-Creole communities.

The dining area is very spacious, spanning over two floors, boasting a white marble staircase and a 40ft Mogul waterfall, Indian artifacts, palm trees, exotic flowers, giving it a unique atmosphere. Tables are dressed with embroidered tablecloths, in the tones of red and orange. While we were waiting for our orders, they served a lentil cake amuse bouche, a lovely sweet and sour little snack.

What we ordered (we shared most dishes):

Pepper Crabs, soft shell crabs really crispy, with garlic and black pepper with a ginger and green mango sauce.

Demoiselles de Pondicherry, juicy and meaty grilled king scallops with a hint of garlic in a mild saffron sauce.

Bombay Chaat, delicious small bites, drizzled with yoghurt, chutneys and gram flour crisps. Chaat is a term describing savoury snacks, typically served at road-side tracks from stalls or carts in India.

Plateaus des Indes, a selection of the best house curries, prawn, goat, duck and chicken. Recommended for sharing.

Kohe Kashmiri, slow braised lamb shanks with aromatic spices.

The house lamb curry, tasty, a little spicy.

My favourite, Tandoori Jumbo Prawns rolled in caramelized garlic and garam masala with a side or rice and green lime, fresh curry leaves and nuts. We also ordered a selection of delicious naans with Mango, Coconut, Fruit and Nuts fillings. By the end of the meal, I was feeling a little full, but decided to order a dessert, that I shared with a few friends: a fresh and moreish lychee and rose sorbet.

A scrumptious dining experience, excellent and beautifully presented good, colourful ambience, professional service, worth a visit.