On Location: Colony (Marylebone, London)

I love cheap and cheerful if the food is great. But someones, you want great food in a fancy place, and this is how we found Colony, situated just off London’s very chic Marylebone High Street.

Colony opened quite recently, so I have not heard much about it other than that the chef is the Michelin-starred Atul Kochar. So what did a place that Fashpolitico described as “India meets tapas” have to offer?

Well, the place certainly oozes a certain old-school glamour. It’s got a luxurious bar section with a clever seating arrangement that lends itself to privately whispering sweet nothings into the ear of a special someone. The restaurant area is clean and modern, with an organic vibe (in the wood-and-candles sense, rather than the sandals-and-lentils sense), and dim lighting with lots of candles.

The night kicked off with cocktails. I was pleased to see that they had lassis on the list, but I went for a cooling gin and prosecco with cucumber and mint, which managed to be aromatic while also retaining a bit of a kick. We also ordered from the bar menu – a bit-sized selection of pooris, grilled paneer and other things I do not know the name of but found utterly delicious. I was also quite taken with the beautiful presentation. With the dishes that were served, I really felt that they were worth trying to master at home. I think I need to stress that I did not think these were the types of dishes that I could make at home, but more the sorts of things I wish I could make, and plan to start trying to recreate in the next few weeks.

We had mains in the restaurant, and had a great selection of puppadoms and chutneys to nibble on while we made our choices. Again, nice to see a bit of though in terms of the sauces – there was hot chilli, plus spiced apple and a green tomato chutney.

The mains were good (I had a dosa, a filled savoury pancake), albeit quite small, but I think that is more to me being used to Indian food being served in vast quantities. The one issue I did have was with with the spinach, which was one of the most salty things I have ever had in my life (i.e. inedible on its own). It was fine mixed with yoghurt, and when we did say this to the waitress, she was very apologetic. I’m willing to forgive something like that if the staff deal with it well, which they did here, and the rest of the meal was delicious.

With Indian food, I am not a huge fan of their desserts, and I have usually eaten so much that I don’t want one in any event. However, I was keen to try one here, and opted for the mango, pistachio and rose/lychee kulfi. Too often you end up with grainy frozen condensed milk, but not here. Each flavour was fabulous in its own right and displayed the best of their key ingredients – the lychee was fresh and light, the mango was fruity and the pistachio had a creamy nuttiness to it. I loved them all, and would definitely have this again.

On balance, a great place and I would highly recommend it for a cocktail and a light bite if you’re been pounding the pavements in the West End all day.

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