Monday, October 4, 2010

Lily Tandoori Restaurant, UK

Lily Tandoori Restaurant ,66 Lillie Road,UK,SW6 7

The Knightsbridge Tailor had recommend Khan's in Kensington. We'd almost gone there but walking, stopped for soup at a marvelous covered outdoor cafe place across from the London Lamborghini store. We drank lattes, ate delicious soup with garlic toast and looked across the rain at beautiful sportscars.

Staying near Earl's Court we'd thought to eat tandoori there but Laura hadn't ridden a double decker bus. We caught one headed south on Earl's Court past Old Brompton Road. That's when we saw Lily's Tandoori from the upper deck. It was a spur of the moment decision but we were wanting Tandoori chicken.

I first ate it in Winnipeg when I was working as an Intern dying from hospital food. A lovely East Indian couple opened a restaurant beside Winnipeg Health Science Centre and saved my life with exceptionally tasty nutrition.

Near midnight the streets didn't seem at all seedy but walking about a bit I didn't know how far I'd go in any side street. The Lily Restaurant, though, had all manner of awards certificates pasted on the door. Two beautiful young women were sitting just inside the entrance, obviously enjoying their food and delighted in each others conversation and company. They had that vaguely educated upper class quality about them. It made me think that we'd chosen well. The district was safe and quality would eat here. The rest of the restaurant though shrouded in privacy had what looked at a glance as a smattering of every nationality including Indian. I liked the muted decor. It all felt cozy.

We'd just been to Nanda's daughters wedding back home and this place had that sense he and his wife, Anita give to a place. Warm.

"What was that drink you introduced me to," she said.

"Lassie," I answered.

"That's it. I want a mango lassie."

Just as she said that the waiter, movie star handsome, arrived to take our 'starter' order.

"I'd like some pompadom, that's the crickling bread, right?" He nodded and asked
"Any drinks?"

"I'd like a Lassie," she said.

"The Mango one," he answered.

And so we had Lassies and crinkly bread and chowed down happily on that strange assortment of chutneys, yogurt dishes, pickled onion bits and some mustard type dip. It was all so very delicious. I never know what I'm eating in East Indian restaurants because I've always eaten at East Indian friends or am out with them and they order. It's a bit like being a passenger in a car. You love the party you've been too but because you weren't driving you forget the directions.

The curries and masala's were stupendous. Another waiter, possibly the owner, came by and while the first had been reserved, this almost rolly polly personality was a humorous delight.

"I've brought you some water just in case you have to put out anything." he said setting down a large jug of iced water after filling our glasses. When I asked for napkins he answered, "I'm sorry, that shouldn't be." And quickly he brandished two fresh clean napkins like a matador in the ring. The tandoori chicken had been finger sucking good but I did appreciate the napkins nonetheless.

Soon all the dishes were done. The King Prawn in the yoghurt coconut sauce was a piece de resistance to vy with the tandoori meats and chicken.

The Bombay potatoes were scrumptuous. I said I'd been to Bombay and the waiter said the Bangladeshi Indian food is quite similiar. Laura and I hardly spoke once the food arrived. Little animal sounds oozed out of our mouths around the poignantly savoury feast. Soon we were like sated babies freed from a mother's breast.

Signing checks, gathering bags and jackets, we moved off in slow motion, waddling our way home.

I wrote a Lynne, a friend who'd been in London last year that we'd eaten Tandoori.

She wrote back, "I'm envious. East Indian food in London is to die for. I found myself craving it months after I returned home."

Well, if Lily, randomly picked is any reflection on the whole of London's east Indian fair then I'd fear DT's on return home were it not for the home cooking of my East Indian friends wives.

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