REVIEW: Baluchi @The LaLit, London Bridge
WHAT? Set in the historic Grade II listed former St. Olave’s Grammar School’s Assembly Hall; Pan Asian Baluchi is a few minutes’ walk from London Bridge station, nestled in the base of the rather swish LaLit hotel.
WHY GO? To eat some of the capital’s finest Indian fare in a majestic, historical setting that’s as fun to explore as the food is to eat – and staff are wonderful, too.
We arrived on a beautiful Thursday evening with empty bellies, hearing on good authority that Baluchi’s bread offering alone was worth the trip (the restaurant features the iconic Naanery, a ‘bread bar’ serving artisanal breads prepared in tandoor). We scoured the gargantuan menu of Indian and Sri Lankan-inspired dishes with generous help from a chef who actually attended the former school the restaurant now sits within, feeling confident we’d pick something special.
First up were the epic tandoori prawns served with sauteed spinach, followed by a perfectly cooked Orkney scallops (on a bed of samphire pakoda, sea buckthorn puree and gin foam). A meaty sharing platter came next, boasting kaafir lime chicken tikka (very zesty), lamb chops (super flavoursome), and guinea fowl seek – a firm new favourite.
Of course, we ordered (rather greedily) the mixed break basket, made up of laccha paratha, garlic naan, mango and coconut naan – delicious for mopping up meat juices. Finally (already very full) we were tempted by the lamb shank gush taba, a gluten-free Kashmiri delight comprising slow-cooked lamb shank, fennel, cashew and saffron. Tender and sweet, we loved this dish, and indeed, every dish we tried at this characterful restaurant – lightly spiced but never overpowering, the flavours meld together beautifully, washed down with a fresh cocktail or two.
ANYTHING ELSE: Try the ‘High Chai’ experience, the restaurant’s beautiful 32 cover terrace the ideal spot for traditional English tea – with an Indian twist
DETAILS: 181 Tooley Street, London, SE12 JRT / 020 3765 0000 / Thebaluchi.com