Ah, London. A melting pot of religions, cultures and of course, cuisine. In this truly cosmopolitan city, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to food; in Brick Lane you can knock yourself out on chicken baltis and onion bhajis, while up west in Edgware Road, you can gorge on moreish-ly authentic Middle Eastern mezze menus.
If you’re a visitor to the capital and want to eat like a local, it must be confusing to know where to head first. However, one restaurant has taken that on board, coming up with a multi-cuisine menu, offering classic ‘London fayre’ from various corners of the city.
Centrally situated on Park Lane (just around the corner from Primark hell and before you get to the luxury car showrooms), to be fair Lanes of London hasn’t done a bad job of distancing itself from its parent, the Marriott Hotel, however when it comes to the food, it’s quite literally worlds apart.
Here, first impressions are totally deceptive. The interior is tasteful and elegant with an art deco vibe; bevelled mirror, glass and an inviting fireplace for a cosy aperitif in winter.
In contrast, the soundtrack is provided by the likes of Now That’s What I Call Music 387 and the menu is exotic and eclectic. The concept is rather simple – street food from four corners of the capital; Brick Lane, Kingsland Road, Edgware Road and Portobello Road, with a sprinkle of fish from Billingsgate market. Oh, and ribs from London street food vendor, The Rib Man (no, me neither).
Goodness knows how many chefs there are out the back to produce this menu mash-up.
I was tempted by one of the Vietnamese starters from the Kingsland Road section of the menu, but decided instead on the Brick Lane Samosa Chat – vegetable samosa salad with chickpeas, yoghurt, pomegranate, tamarind and mint chutney. The size was decent, the taste was punchy and I soon devoured it.
My dining partner went for a pretty left-of-centre combo of the vegetarian Salt Baked Pumpkin Salad with black quinoa, goat’s cheese and pumpkin seeds to start, followed by Devilled Kidneys once he’d got over the fact that they were out of the Beef Brisket Sliders.
My main course, Butter Chicken with cumin rice and paranthas (again from Brick Lane), was pretty substantial and while I wouldn’t say it was the best curry I’d ever eaten, it was tasty enough, well presented and more than satisfied this hungry diner.
We washed it all down with a chilled and rather delicious bottle of French rose – Chateau d’Angles La Clape to be precise – and rather incredibly, had room to share a dessert from the quite frankly bonkers ‘Sweets Treats and Mores’ menu.
I was gunning for the Lanes Pear Cobbler with buttermilk ice cream while he was hankering after the East India Dock Ginger Cake. In the end we compromised with Poor Knights of Windsor – honey glazed English apples, eggy bread, home-made custard and calvados ice cream. And it was yum.
For this part of town prices are by no means extortionate, therefore it’s an ideal dining destination for groups and families, as well as those with indecisive friends. Nice bar, too.
Lanes of London, 140 Park Lane, London W1K 7AA. Tel: 020 7647 5664. Nearest Tube: Marble Arch.