What's the draw
The creation of childhood friends Pooja Nayak and Aseela Goenka, Ooty is a restaurant aimed at introducing London's high-rollers to a style of Indian cuisine they might never have encountered before. The Ooty name – which comes from the common abbreviation for Udhagamandalam, a small hill-station and town in the state of Tamil Nadu – reflects the restaurant's aim to remain accessible to Indian food newbies while still proudly displaying its South Indian roots. Taking over the space from Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, Ooty (and its pastel pink chairs) delivers a brasserie-style dining experience with confident nonchalance. Not a vindaloo in sight.
What to drink
While Ooty boasts a range of signature cocktails, we decide to stick with the classics. A zesty Clover Club hit all the right notes for a pre-feed drink while his good friend, the Margarita, drummed the tastebud tom toms along with. We washed down the main event with a neat Vermentino from French producer Domaine Saint Hilaire; a slightly tropical and wholly quaffable white with enough character to keep you coming back for more.
What to eat
Manmeet Singh Bali (former head chef at the Michelin-starred Rasoi and Vineet Bhatia London) has curated a menu that celebrates traditional South Indian ingredients via delicate curries and finespun takes on street-food favourites like idlis and dosa. Flavours are mellow and employ a variety of spices. Kid goat sukka is served on a spinach and artichoke uttapam, bonneted by a picture-perfect duck egg and served with a side of lentil sambhar. It's the epitome of rich. Which you might, admittedly, have to be to eat at Ooty. But money will be the last thing on your mind as the tender lamb falls apart and leaks lusciously through the tines of your fork. The kori gassi chicken curry is another corker: Mangalorean-style gravy has a complexity you won't find at a Brick Lane B.Y.O.B., coddling your tongue in a velvet curtain of coconut and roasted chilis. Spoon swathes of that on a Tamil paratha to discover the true meaning of nirvana. Malabar jhinga biryani is all pert tiger prawns and fragrant basmati as a jaggery pineapple bake caps the evening off with a quenelle of black sesame ice cream bivouacked on a heap of smoked cardamom rice. Tinned Ambrosia eat your heart out.
Mains from £18; cocktails from £11. 66 Baker St, Marylebone, W1U 7DJ; ooty.co.uk