Very few restaurants in the West End survive more than a few years, so when a restaurant has been around for more than 50 years, you have to sit up and take notice. Gaylord is one of the oldest and most respected Indian restaurants in the West End and has been delighting West End diners for over 50 years.
The decor might not be the trendiest, but it feels prime, proper and welcoming with thick carpets, pristine table cloths and stunning Indian wall murals. Service here is attentive and knowledgeable; whilst the staff hasn’t been around for 50 years, they do feel like they have a steady team of servers who know their products very well.
Vegetarians are very well-catered for here, especially ordering their maharani feast. Golgappa shots are quirky and unusual here in the UK; although they are hugely popular as a famous street food in India. The puri is round and very crispy, whilst the spicy and minty water is highly refreshing and is a great way to work up your appetite.
The portion sizes for their mixed starters are perfect: substantial enough for you to taste the quality of the food and savour the exotic spices without being too large that you don’t have any room left for other courses. Unsurprisingly tamarind makes a ubiquitous appearance in a lot of the dishes from the golgappa shots to the well-flavoured vegetable samosas, which has irresistible tamarind chutney.
The kebab selections are very solid here: the lamb seekh kebab was not overcooked to death like at your local kebab shop, it was moist and had that hint of smokiness from the charcoal grilling. The lamb shammi kebab was very finely minced and the patty is as tasty as you would fine in any top Indian restaurant in London.
If you are afraid of dishes being too spicy, they have some extremely mild options like the murg malal tikka. Here the chicken tikkas are marinated with creamed cheese, yoghurt and mild aromatic spices.
Rarely would I find myself eating less courses than my vegetarian friends; but with the maharani feast, you get to choose 3 vegetarian main courses as well as raita, salad, rice, and naan. It is almost enough to make me want to turn vegetarian. The most appetising choice was their yellow lentils main course which went extremely well with the rice.
I tried their fish tak-a-tak, as I find myself not having tried a fish curry dish very often. They use seasonal fish along with explosive flavours from the masala gravy. On the night of our visit, it was a very fresh and firm tasting tilapia. You do find with Indian food, sometimes, it is quite heavy; but ordering a fish curry is a lighter option we should all be considering.
There are so many other delightful options to try on their menu, you might find yourself repeatedly wanting to visit Gaylord. Although there is no rush, as it is unlikely they will be going away anytime soon.