Owned by the Taj Group of Hotels, Quilon (located within the St James’s Court Hotel) looks more like a bland business lounge than a fine-dining destination. Kitsch murals and an L-shaped dining area aren’t much help either. Cooking, however, is distinctive and showcases the diversity of regional South Indian food. On our latest visit, almost every dish was a treat. Masala dosai – a golden rice and lentil pancake filled with crushed potatoes – was delectable for its crisp texture, and made a marvellous match with tamarind lentils. Fried tilapia fillets coated with ground lentils were cooked to perfection, but let down by heavy-handed coriander spicing – the only glitch in an otherwise tasty meal. Portuguese-inspired chicken morsels from Goa were served with sticky-cooked onions sharpened with vinegar and red chillies: delectable for their relish-like quality. Pale, lemon-hued mango curry was top notch too, its whipped yoghurt sauce simmered with ground coconut and fried curry leaves: a triumph of sweet and tangy flavours. Although evening meals cost a pretty penny, lunchtime set menus are fantastic value and worth every pound. Nevertheless, a restaurant of this stature deserves a more polished performance from its service team.
41 Buckingham Gate
|Opening hours:||Lunch served noon-2.30pm Mon-Fri; 12.30-3.30pm Sun. Dinner served 6-11pm Mon-Sat; 6-10.30pm Sun.|
|Transport:||Tube: St James's Park tube|
|Price:||Main courses £9-£23. Set lunch £20 3 courses.|