Chutney Mary restaurant renamed and relaunched, and still serving good Indian food
Formerly known as Chutney Mary, this recently reupholstered and renamed restaurant is the latest Indian venue to join the Panjabi sisters’ portfolio of Amaya, Veeraswamy, and the Masala Zone chain. It’s not the end of the line for the mould-breaking Chutney Mary though – it’s relocating to a new site in central London. Dishes at Masala Grill are slightly cheaper and more grounded than the courtly Indian cooking served by its predecessor. The menu now embraces tandoori grills, earthy dahls, street snacks and pan-Indian curries.
Our homely Bengali chicken curry, simmered in mustardy masala, was excellent. Tender chicken morsels were cloaked in a pungent mustard oil-based sauce, tastefully speckled with tiny brown mustard seeds, and softened by the creamy sweetness of roasted and pounded white poppy seeds.
Slow-roasted leg of lamb was appreciated for its tenderness and smoky brown cardamom spicing, but the juices lacked stridency and fell short on flavour. Other dishes were merely competently executed. The vegetarian thalis, similar to those offered at Masala Zone, included mainly north Indian dishes: Punjabi-style paneer in creamy tomato sauce, gingery cauliflower florets cooked with peas, and mixed vegetable curry studded with gram flour dumplings.
Despite the conscious shift from fine dining destination to family-friendly restaurant, this place still has a formal setting with old school service. The lovely, airy conservatory remains a main feature, and is now brightened by red and yellow bunting. On our visit it was already attracting families blessed with well- behaved children, business people and well-to-do local residents. Going for an Indian won’t be a revelatory experience at Masala Grill, but dining here will deliver decent renditions of regional cooking in a very refined setting.