As if in recognition of the trek from the nearest tube station, Apollo Banana Leaf greets diners with a vision of paradise: soaring mountains and a sparkling waterfall, printed in vivid technicolour over the walls. If that assault on the senses isn’t enough, the high-backed dining chairs are upholstered in crushed red velvet, while disco lights twinkle around the door. But devotees don’t come here for design tips, they come for the food – an authentic rendering of South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine – and for great value. Though prices have increased, they remain fantastically keen: especially when you factor-in the BYO policy. Spice levels are at authentic Jaffna (north Sri Lankan) levels: a single chilli icon on the menu is to be taken seriously, two plus is for the brave. ‘Short eats’ (street-food snacks) included our soft sambar vadai (a savoury doughnut made with chickpea flour, here steeped in a thin lentil gravy) and a croquette-like mutton roll (with its rich, clove-spiked meat middle). There are also starters, such as crunchy morsels of golden chicken pakoda (not unlike ‘popcorn chicken’). The rich, warmly spiced crab masala – claws and all – is worth getting messy for; chewy, buttery chapati makes the perfect foil.