What's the draw
This smart-but-unassuming townhouse on a quiet street off the Kings Road houses Vineet Bhatia London – where the eponymous chef-restaurateur conjures up his vision of intricate Indian-influenced cooking in a uniquely homely and intimate setting. The 11 courses of VBL's new Experiences menu are lot to process (for your brain and your wallet), but the whole thing's very clever, very pretty and a lot of fun.
What to eat
You absolutely HAVE to go for the 11-course Experience menu, not least because that (plus a vegetarian option) is the only menu you'll find at VBL. As you'd hope, those 11 courses take you to some interesting places, hopping between cuisines, styles and flavours but, for the most part, keeping things pretty much in the Indian-fine-dining spectrum.
View on Instagram
Delicious prawn chaat arrives in a tiny bell jar, wafts of wood smoke creeping from under the lid, while Amritsari haddock – jet black and disguised among black pebbles ("the chef recommends you don't eat the rocks," our waiter says with a grin) – is as delicate and flavoursome as it is pretty. Beautifully cooked cod, served on an elevated plate that seems to levitate on the table, comes with a subtle chilli punch (more of a tap, then) and a lacey squid ink wafer balanced alongside it. A glazed pork chop – impossibly tender and sweet – is another standout. The savoury items set high standards, and the desserts more than live up to them, especially the chocolate cure – a crisp chocolate nest with a white chocolate feather, tamarind caviar and a sweetmeat dumpling perched in the middle.
What to drink
We had the paired wine flight (there's a wine list, too) – six wines rather than one for each of the 11 courses, which is why we're still alive to write this. There's a pleasing blend of surprise and familiarity – from a fresh and vibrant late-disgorged sparkler from Bluebell Vineyards to Bulgaria's award-winning 2012 Castra Rubra Dominant White, and a crowd-pleasing 2008 Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos from Hungary's Disznókö estate to finish.
Experience menu, £105pp, or £175 pp with wine flight. 10 Lincoln St, SW3 2TS. 020 7225 1881; vineetbhatia.london