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Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant. Indian fine dining in the heart of the City of London.

14/02/2024 by .
Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant

Andy Mossack reviews Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant and feels the Valentine love.

Even though Valentine’s Day was still a few days away, I could sense there was already a touch of romance in the air at Mint Leaf. Perhaps it was the red and gold balloons prepped and ready around the historic interiors of the restaurant for the looming big day. But much more likely because of the special Valentine’s Day duo of cocktails lovingly prepared by Das, arch mixologist at Mint Leaf.

With Mrs. M by my side, our happy couple of drinks both shared lemon juice, strawberry puree and rose syrup, one based with whisky, and the other vodka. Presented in a gilded cage with a butterfly and a mini padlock. Talk about love locked!

It really was a delightful way to kick off a pre-Valentine’s dinner.

Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant

Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant has been something of a City secret for over 16 years tucked away as it is in Angel Court, a tiny alley off Throgmorton Street next to the Bank of England. Rumour has it the building was a former bank (no surprise there) where the old clock remains attached to the mezzanine balcony. It sadly no longer works, but as I pointed out to our waiter, “look on the bright side, at least it’s correct twice a day.” That got a laugh. There is also a large safe in the basement which now serves as a cooler for the kitchen.

Like most historic buildings in the City, the space inside is cavernous and pillared with tall ceilings, but Mint Leaf’s interior is contemporary and elegant with hardwood floors, pebble dashed walls, bronzed art, tubular lighting, and plenty of lounge furniture for the cocktail set to kick back and relax in. The whole ensemble is dominated by an enormous fifty-foot-long bar, stacked to the gills with numerous whiskies, gins, and spirits no doubt destined for Das’s spell book of cocktails.

Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant

Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant

But we were here for the headline act, the food. Dishes from all over the Indian sub-continent, but, I was informed, quite different from the mainly Bangladeshi style cooking that tends to dominate British high streets.

After a lively discussion as to the merits of tandoori lamb chops (£28) over tempura asparagus (£13) as starters, we decided on the mixed vegetarian appetiser platter (£30) plus a bowl of dahi papdi chaat (£12), an absolute staple of the Indian street food scene.

The platter didn’t disappoint. An impressive tray of doubled up delicious appetisers surrounding a pot of spicy mint sauce. Generous chunks of barbequed paneer, potato pancakes, a duo of crispy spinach and pea patties, and some spicy samosas and spring rolls delicately crunchy with just the right amount of kick to the proceedings.

Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant

Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant

The huge bowl of dahi papdi chaat left us in no doubt as to why this dish is so popular on the streets of India. A mash up of potato, onion, chickpeas, tamarind, yoghurt and pomegranate seeds lay on what I would call the Indian version of small Ritz crackers. Immensely moreish.

The mains not unsurprisingly, induced further debate, particularly as a few unusual dishes were on offer. The bhuna khargosh in particular raised an eyebrow – slow cooked rabbit in Indian gravy (£30) and Duck Pepper Fry (£26) duck meat cooked in southern Indian spices.

In the end we settled on lamb chettinad (£26) for Mrs. M, with the promise of very tender lamb and a southern inspired coconut sauce, while I plumped for chicken banjara (£23) in a pepper and onion sauce. A side of bhindi masala okra (£10) and some just-baked garlic naan (£5) rounded it all off.

The lamb was as tender as advertised with the lavish coconut-infused sauce conjuring up memories of a Goan beach a few moons ago. My chicken was juicy and tender, the sauce rich and spicy, perfect for naan dipping which in a moment of pure self-indulgence I just dived straight in and dipped.

Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant

Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant

There was really no room left for any dessert, but because I am a slave to my art, I simply had to endure the chef’s dessert platter (£10), a small tasting trio of some of the desserts on offer.  Gulabjamun, Cinnamon ice cream and Basundi – a sweet creamy Indian pudding, were perfect palate cleansers to the curry mains.

For the upcoming Valentine’s night celebrations, I was assured there would be a fence installed for lovers to put their padlocks on. So, full lovers theatre happening over at Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant, and a 6-course dinner for £65 including Das’s Valentine cocktail. Pretty good value I would say, although after six courses I would imagine most romantic couples would simply collapse into some of that extensive lounge furniture and have nap.

Food images and Cocktail (C) Andy Mossack. All other images (C) Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant

Tell me more about the Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant

Mint Leaf Lounge and Restaurant, 12 Angel Court, Lothbury, London EC2R 7HB

T: +44 20 7600 0992  E: reservations@mintleaflounge.com


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