If there was an Oscar for how lavishly well restaurants looked after their guests, Lotus would most definitely be a nominee if not the actual winner. This is a fine dining institution where the staff effortlessly guide you through an epicurean feast of dishes you are unlikely to find anywhere else in London.
Whilst it’s not quite 50 shades of grey, the owners clearly love the colour: the upholstery, the walls, the partitions and the welcoming counter are all a slick grey colour. If anything it is a little too smart and sterile compared to its neighbours in Leicester Square, where you have nightclubs, casinos and cinemas all vying for your attention.
I don’t always namecheck members of staff at restaurants, purely because of the high turnover of hospitality staff. However, I would highly recommend checking whether their sommelier and front of house maestro, Debbie Henriques is working on the night you are making your booking for. Indian food is notoriously difficult to wine match, but Debbie has completed such a fine job, it would just feel like a sin not to pair your food choices with her sage selections.
At Lotus, they do love their less mainstream meat options. This was exemplified by our two main starter options: the pigeon masala dosa was expertly spiced without being overpowering and was beautifully presented in a dosa cone, the rabbit kheema was finely minced and had a deftness of light flavouring which you would not have expected from the large green chilli protruding from the dish.The duck seekh in the kebab section was another excellent recommendation from Debbie. The meat was extremely fresh and had an exciting zesty orange kick to the dish.
With dishes like 23 karat gold lamb shanks khorma, it was a regal looking mains section. We opted for the lobster tails and queenie; the lobster infused curry sauce was addictively divine, we could quite conceivably have finished a whole bakery’s worth of bread on that sauce if we didn’t have another 5 dishes to savour. The domaine saint hilaire, silk triology 2007 had that crispness in taste which was the ideal match for the richness of the dish. They had an interesting twist on the soft shell crab dish by cooking it cafreal style, with a green tinge showing on the crab from the numerous herbs used to flavour the dish. There was no better accompaniment than some charles heidsieck Champagne to cut away some of the greasiness of the dish. The only dish that didn’t work as well for me was the roe deer biryani. It wasn’t because it wasn’t expertly executed, but the deer did have a very strong gamey taste, which might not be to most people’s liking.
If you are not in food coma at this stage yet, I would suggest fitting in their mango shrikhand with fruit salad and coconut cream. It had that refreshing taste and texture to it which would not doubt aid in your digestion. This was certainly helped along by their beautifully citrusy dessert wine, botrytis semillon, Peter Lehmann.
Any self respecting foodie tend to avoid the hordes of tourist that populate the denizens of bars, restaurants and souvenir shops in Leicester Square, however Lotus is definitely one of those culinary occasions that you can make an exception for to experience something truly unique on the London restaurant scene.