Casual spot in Spitalfields to enjoy Himalayan cuisine
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Indian
Address : 76 Commercial St, Shoreditch, London, E1 6LY, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.madame-d.com
Opening Times : Wed-Sat: 6pm-12am
Closest Tube : Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street
Gunpowder was one of London‘s little-engine-that-could restaurants. Nestled in a shoebox off of Spitalfields Market, fledgling restaurateur Harneet Baweja joined forces with talented chef Nirmal Save to create a restaurant that had many top Indian eateries shaking in their boots, not to mention a Bib Gourmand from Michelin. Now, with the eponymous Madame D (Harneet‘s lovely wife Devina), they‘ve opened a second restaurant in a tiny room above Blessings bar, which is literally a stone‘s throw away from their first.
Together, they put Himalayan cuisine in the crosshairs with a menu that borrows from northern India, Tibet, Nepal and eastern China to create a cuisine that cross-pollinates across borders with sweet, sour and abundantly spicy sensations that will transport the diner out of east London and into the Far East. The room in which they do so is austere and charming, with a shabby chic kind of design. Guests crowd onto small wooden candlelit tables with the room swathed in a reddish light that feels more Lucknow than London.
Wines are reasonably priced and intelligently selected, but we settled on Fourpure Session IPA to cut the heat, of which there is lashings - apparently Madame D doesn‘t shy away from chilli! There are a few dishes that will render you the sweaty head / crossed eyes condition. One of these is the hakka chilly paneer. The fresh cheese is flash fried in a hakka chilli sauce that should be reserved for the intrepid of heart. A naga chilly beef puff is nearly as spicy, as are Tibetan pan-fried duck momos which are immersed in a similarly incarnadine sauce. While these dishes don‘t skimp on the spice, they‘re also united by a nerdy attention to detail that makes them eminently delicious.
However, there are some other great options for those who prefer to keep it cool. A crispy potato and noodle bhel is a beautiful salad to cool the palate, with an addictive crunch coming through from the noodles and a cooling creaminess from the potatoes. Himalayan fried chicken is worth a shout, served with an astringent dressing. Masala lamb noodles arrive in a tiffin and are topped with a fried egg. The chow mein style noodles are almost reminiscent of a subcontinental Bolognese as they‘re studded with rich seams of minced lamb. However, one of our faves and one of the most elegant selections is the whole seabass with ginger and soya, which flakes away effortless under fork.
We‘re very happy to see more of these restaurants cropping up around London. Spots where you can go with a group of friends, order what you want, eat exquisite food, and leave without feeling bankrupt. Madame D, along with Gunpowder, is a leader of the pack.