The restaurant is hidden away on the second floor. You access the hotel from a small door on the southern side of the Strand, east of Waterloo bridge. Curling paper signs promise "an authentic experience of 1940s India". When I first ate at the India Club, way back in the late 1980s when I was in my first job at Macmillan Publishers on the Strand, the restaurant was lit with harsh fluorescent tubes and the formica tables were chipped. The waiters wore grubby white jackets and served you silently. But what I do remember were the delicious Masala Dosas, giant pancakes made from fermented rice and urad dal flour, filled with a mixture of potatoes, onions and spices, and other south Indian specialities.
The restaurant hasn't changed that much, though the strident strip-lighting has been replaced by rather elegant pierced-metal lanterns. And the waiters' jackets were cleaner. My husband takes visiting colleagues from India to the India Club for dinner and they say it is most authentic. They are also surprised that such a place exists in central London, a stone's throw from the Savoy.
|Mango Lassis, Coconut Sambal & Chilli Bhajis|
The India Club is open for lunch from 12-2.30pm, and for dinner from 6-10.50pm. Guests are permitted to bring their own alcohol, though a small selection of Indian beers is available off the menu.
Mango lassi recipe
Hotel Strand Continental website