La Porte des Indes translates to Indian cuisine with a difference. This is like no other restaurant I have come across in London. A huge building – inside, a jungle bar with animal murals, cane furniture and tiger-skin rugs. In their indoor garden area, under a large dome skylight, stood a running waterfall. Palm trees run throughout the vast space, surrounded by jaw-dropping flower arrangements shipped in weekly along with coconuts from Bangkok. These were also used for fresh coconuts from the shells to the juice for their cocktails.
Their drinks list was fantastic, super juices and bubble teas. I opted for an extra pump of Echinacea. From their specialist gin selection, I was served with olive, cardamom, rosemary and tonic. Flambé coffees with Amaretto, Grand Marnier and Kahlua were set alight at the table in front of you, a bit of dramatic flamboyance.
Their menu was classic Indian, with French/Creole influences such as banana-leaf-wrapped swordfish, thalis, French ‘black leg’ chicken, Kerala curry and black flame-grilled cod which was marinated in tamarind, honey and rice vinegar. Their set menu was crammed full of little delights, juicy Pondicherry prawns in a saffron sauce, caramelised onion marinated lamb chops, also chard and water chestnut pakoras. Smoked crushed aubergine and chicken in yogurt and red spices were dreamy. Mango coconut naans were a delightful upgrade from the average peschwari. To finish, a dessert selection with rich chocolate, mango and aromatic milk pots. Surroundings of India meets Thailand with an Amazonian jungle thrown into the mix. I’ve never felt so much like I was on holiday.