What's the draw
Make a list of the restaurants in London that have shaped the Indian fine-dining scene over the last decade or so, and there's a name you'll find crops up more than most. After a stint at Gymkhana as its first head chef, cooking at Bombay Bustle and winning a Michelin star at Jamavar to boot, Rohit Ghai has gone it alone, creating the excellent Kutir in a breezy converted townhouse a stone's throw from Sloane Square.
What to drink
You're in Chelsea, so rather than the punchy, curry-spiced cocktails you might find at Gunpowder or Dishoom, mixed drinks here are elegant and lean towards the aperitif-style, like the Sangam, a vesper-style serve with gin, vodka, a touch of plum eau de vie and the restaurant's own vermouth mix. We loved a clean-as-a-whistle pinot gris from MacMurray Vineyards in California's Russian River Valley, too – beautifully balanced, with enough acidic bite and florality to keep pace with grilled, spiced and curried dishes.
What to eat
Much as we love a tasting menu – here referred to as 'Expeditions', and available with wine pairings – we were at Kutir for an only slightly long lunch, so we opted to share small and large plates. Grilled, fragrant stone bass came with zest and bite, skin deliciously blistered from the tandoor's direct heat and served alongside crispy squid rings; and aloo tikki – a mound of crisped potatoes and with a streak of fresh yoghurt and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds – were a perfect appetiser. On the à la carte menu, at least, this is spoon-and-share fare, and we enjoyed a muscovado-sweet black daal with endless depth of flavour without being overly rich. The best dish we tried was a faultless paneer lababdar, a North Indian curry given the Rohit treatment with pillowy house-made paneer in a rich, soupy tomato gravy that served as an excellent reminder that, whether it's the fourth course of a tasting menu or a bowl of curry alongside steamed rice and piping-hot naan, Ghai's execution remains exquisite.
Small plates from £8, mains from £14; wine from £8 by the glass. 10 Lincoln Street, SW3 2TS; kutir.co.uk