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Mehek Restaurant & Bar, London Wall

Kim McAusland was our reporter

Looking for a place to relax after work with friends, or somewhere civilised to entertain clients at lunch? Fancy something a little bit special or different? Discretely tucked away on London Wall in the City, you'd never have thought that Mehek, formerly know as Jaipur, could satisfy all of the above.

Specialising in fusions of oriental and North West Indian cuisine, Mehek's menu - which offers both rabbit and venison - is so different that your average chicken madras will seem rather dull in comparison once you've tried it. We found the service to be friendly and very professional; attentive without being obtrusive. The ambience was pleasantly mellow with a good buzz enhanced by the subtle background music that was Indian in origin but modern in style.

The restaurant is elegantly contemporary, with polished light wooden floors. A cream and adobe décor with up-lighters and down-lighters is given its Oriental references with large wall-mounted mahogany bas-relief screens. There's a long sit-up bar as you walk in and the restaurant area has seating on two tiers. On entering, I was immediately struck by the fresh orchids on every table. For our aperitif, we started with a Pineapple & Green Chilli Martini Cocktail...not what we would have chosen for ourselves but we were happy to try the recommendation and found ourselves pleasantly surprised. The coupling of pineapple and chilli was refreshing - mildly hot, the chilli just lingered at the back of the throat and left you with a lovely tingle. Cocktails are the speciality of head barman, Jes Moor who used to shake them up at the Cinnamon Club. Complimentary popadoms were accompanied by a trio of unusual but exceptionally tasty dips, including a carrot, raisin and ginger mixture that we thought was particularly yummy.

Chef Ashok Kumar, previously of Mayfair's famous Tamarind curry restaurant, has set out a menu to satisfy all tastes whether you're a meat eater, fish fan or vegetarian. All the recipes are cooked with fresh spices and fresh (not frozen) meats and. Though you'll find familiar names on the list, like murg masala (tandoori chicken) or rogan josh (lamb curry), you'll find more unusual dishes, too, like junglia maans (spiced venison) or samundari khazana (scallops, mussels, prawns and tilapia in coconut sauce) or khargosh ka kalmi kebab (rabbit marinated in onions, cheese, cream and spices).

For appetizers, I tried the Kebab platter, costing £10.95. Ideal if you find so many of the appetizers as tempting as we did and can't make up your mind. Your waiter will be able to change the mix to your taste. Our platter was composed of the tandoor style chicken, which was tender and beautifully spicy, the king prawn, flavoured with ajwain and the scallop which just melted in my mouth. For my main course, I tried two of the main curry dishes (prices vary from £9.95 to £10.95 for main dishes) - the Achari Jhinga (prawns cooked with pickling spices) and, Murgh Masala (tandoori chicken cooked in creamed tomato and fenugreek sauce). These were complimented with a selection of the vegetable dishes (£3.95 each) the Lal Mirch Ke Aloo (saute potatoes with red chilli), Paneer Kurchan (Indian cottage cheese with mixed pepper) also accompanied by a selection of Naan breads and Cucumber Raita.

My dining partner, into red meats, tried the Pardha Biryani (lamb baked with spiced rice) which was slowly cooked in the traditional north Indian way in an individual pie-pastry covered pot, in which the rice, spices and tender lamb gently meld into scented succulence. Brilliant, he said. He also tried the Rogan Josh (lamb curry) and found the tender lamb slowly braised with onions and infused with chillies and Kashmiri spices to be equally satisfying.

Together we tried a mix of desserts - the Indian pistachio ice cream was delicately delicious, the Halwa Samosa we found tastier by far than the usual sticky Indian sweet and the Tandoori grilled pineapple, made the perfect finale. Mehek, an Indian fusion restaurant for today's more sophisticated City tastes. Spot on.

Mehek Restaurant & Bar
45 London Wall, Moorgate, London, EC2M 5TE 

Tel: 020 7588 5043

Opening: Mon - Fri 12 noon - 3pm & 5.30pm - 11pm. Sat 5.30pm - 10.30pm 
Cuisine: Indian 
Average Price: £30 - £35 
Nearest Tube: Moorgate 
Dress Code: None

Kim McAusland, January 2004

UK Restaurant Reviews – The Best Of The Dine Online Restaurant Reviews 2001 - 2010

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