Upscale Chelsea Indian popular with well-heeled local residents, some pretty flamboyant cooking in an elegant venue.
Popular with well-heeled local residents, this classy destination is smartly furnished in a restrained grey-brown palette. The menu is much more flamboyant, although dishes are seasoned with classic spice blends. Deep-fried soft-shell crab, coated in a ground rice and sesame-seed batter, was outstanding for its crisp crust that yielded to reveal the sweet flesh below.
We were also taken by a heap of juicy shrimps tossed in raunchy red chilli and tamarind masala – with a garlicky flatbread obligingly soaking up the juices. Mains were not in the same league. Tangy goan fish curry, although studded with sizeable scallops and juicy prawns, was let down by a heavy onion-ginger sauce that overwhelmed the seafood. Sri Lankan chicken curry – spiked with ginger, dried chillies and fried onion masala – made a much better impression with its toasted coriander spicing and tender strips of softened gourd.
The Painted Heron’s left-field signature dish of strawberry curry has become an annual summer spectacle: strawberry juice, reduced, seasoned with toasted cumin and lime juice and studded with squishy berries; it was as delectable as it was wacky. Service seriously needs to spruce itself up if it’s to match the fabulous cooking.