Monday 14 April 2008

Mela - Shaftesbury Avenue, London

Roughly speaking ‘Mela’ translates into Hindu as ‘festival’. Accordingly the dining room is a colourful and lively place, the busy canteen style open kitchen adding to the party atmosphere.

Zoe, Duts and I joined the Sunday evening crowd clearly enjoying good to very good indian food at truly reasonable prices. Portions are large too. Zoe and Duts ordered deep-fried white bait. Salty and lemony, enough for a main, it came in a pappad shell basket with a bright, fresh salad. I had 3 thin fillets of chicken, spicy, peppery and chilli hot.

Feeling content already, we were allowed time in between courses to chew the saturated fat*; Gordon Ramsay becoming Harry Ramsden, meeting Kate Moss (and stealing her jumper), and so on. When the main dishes came Methi Murgh was spot on, pungent with green tea tasting fengureek and slightly piquant shredded chilli. Sweet, coconutty Peshrawi Naan and lots of rich cumin rice was on hand to soak up Tarka Dahl soured with raw mango.

Noticed Charles Campion says it’s the best value place in the area (WC2 and around), he’s surely right. We were made to feel welcome for the whole evening. Slow Food = Satisfaction.

* I write this only for effect - the cooking is very clean in fact.


Willp2328 rating: 8/10

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