Bringing their exquisite Punjabi cuisine with a Kenyan twist to a new central London location, Madhu’s have just opened at The Dilly Hotel.
In 1935, Bishan Das Anand started a catering business in Nairobi, going on to open a much-lauded restaurant in the city’s legendary Brilliant Hotel 22 years later. Following in their grandfather’s culinary footsteps, teenagers Sanjay and Sanjeev Anand launched their own restaurant in 1980, in Southall, London. Madhu’s Brilliant, as it was initially known, was named for both the brothers’ grandfather, and their father Jagdish Kumar Anand, whose nickname was Madhu. As the name suggests, it was very much a family affair – and this is still the case 40 years later. Specialising in Punjabi cuisine with a Kenyan twist, Madhu’s success lies in the secret recipes which have been handed down over four generations.
The latest Madhu’s restaurant opened in The Dilly, Piccadilly’s newest luxury hotel, in June, and promises to be the finest yet. The setting is the hotel’s opulent Grade II listed Oak Room, which provides the perfect backdrop for the vibrant Indian cuisine for which Madhu’s is loved.
On a recent visit for dinner we are immediately made to feel at home in the relaxed bar area. It’s decorated in an opulent style and is both luxurious and majestic with high ceilings and magnificent chandeliers throughout. Reclining on a velvet sofa in no time at all our glasses are filled with chilled rosé Dom Perignon Champagne and it’s the perfect start to our evening.
With more than 40 years’ experience of secret recipes handed down through the generations we are excited as we go through to the restaurant. Although it’s a rainy Wednesday night it’s fully booked and buzzing, packed with all ages and with family groups as well as friends and couples. The service is friendly and professional and it’s not long before the food starts appearing (and disappearing very quickly!) Each of the dishes is uniquely tasty; the Palak Patta Chaat is a delicious fusion of samphire and crispy battered baby spinach leaves and Masala Mogo (deep fried cassava chips) is a good complement to the spicy Chilli Paneer. For our mains, we have to order the house special, the Madhu’s Machi, a whole seabass in an onion and carom seed marinade, and it does not disappoint. The classic Murgh Makhani (in other words, chicken tikka masala) is buttery and tasty and we mop up the lovely sauce with some delicious peshwari nan bread. The food is served on beautifully delicate Vera Wang for Wedgwood crockery and we wash it all down with Whispering Angel rosé wine.
Room for dessert
We are intrigued by Madhu’s partnership with iconic patisserie LaDurée. One of the desserts on offer, alongside more traditional choices like kulfi, is LaDurée’s Plaisir du Sucre, a praline and almond meringue layered slice. It’s rich and gooey and well worth saving some space for, if you can.