I had never tasted Indian food until I came to London. Living with an Indian family while working as a nanny really helped me to fall in love with some of the country’s celebrations such as Diwali and the punch that all their dishes have.
Perhaps, because of all this, it was inevitable that one of my favourite restaurants in the city would be Indian food.
Masala zone is a chain of restaurants located in various parts of the city. Although I have to admit that my favourite restaurant is the one in Soho.
Masala zone, authentic taste of India
🍴 You know the quality of a restaurant is good if there are locals there
I still can’t consider myself an expert on Indian food because I don’t even have the names memorised. But I am able to differentiate when a place is more worthwhile.
In the three Masala Zone restaurants I have visited (Soho, Covent Garden and Bayswater), what I like most is that most of the customers in the establishment are locals. And I don’t mean British people, but second, third or other generation immigrants who are resident in London, but are of a different origin (India, Pakistan, etc).
This is a very positive point for Masala Zone. As a good Spaniard I would never repeat in a Spanish restaurant where the food is not of high quality. So the fact that there are local people, speaks very well of the restaurant. Moreover, it is more than approved by several people of Indian origin that I know.
💥 Street food: explosion of flavours and spiciness
If this is the first time you read me, I’ll confess that I’m a bit special when it comes to food. I’m a bit delicate and very prone to repeat the dish I like. And in Masala zone, I never take my feet out of the pot because this curry is included in my map of places worth travelling to just to eat.
Their starters are street food dishes such as samosas -the meat ones are really yummy-, pao bhaji, spicy battered chicken, bhel and more daring dishes such as dahi puri or gol guppa. I say risky because the mix of flavours is explosive.
Pani puri, gol guppa and puchhka are very similar dishes, but they differ in the ingredients with which the bread balls are filled. In this case, gol guppa is accompanied by a mango infusion. First you pour the infusion over the puri (the hollowed out bread) and then you eat it in one bite – mouth-watering explosion guaranteed!
🙊 One of the best curries in London?
At Masala Zone they have vegetarian, prawn, chicken and lamb curries. You can order the curry with rice only, or venture out with one of their thali. The thali is a platter of different dishes that would form a balanced menu. The thali usually has the curry in question, with rice, vegetables, papadam, chutney and a lentil dal.
My favourite curry is butter chicken. I think it has just the right amount of spiciness and a delicious flavour. If you are not a spicy lover, I would recommend the Korma, as it is the least spicy on the menu.
In addition to curries, there are various meat dishes, biryanis and typical breads such as naan or chapatis/rotis. I also recommend the mango lassi if you feel like trying something new.
Of all the curries I’ve tried, my favourite is the fish curry we make at home. But then there is this one. I’ve been to several Indian restaurants, and personally this one strikes the perfect balance between spiciness, flavour and quality.
💸 Masala Zone prices
I find the price/quality ratio at Masala Zone to be very good. Starters are around 5-6 pounds, curries are around 8-10 pounds, and thali is no more than 15 pounds. You can eat between £15-25 per person, depending on what you eat.
📍Masala Zone location
As I told you at the beginning of the article, Masala Zone has several establishments located around the city: Bayswater, Islington, Camden, Selfridges, Earls Court, Soho and Camden. You also have the option to order takeaway or delivery.
My favourite is the one in Soho. I’ve been to Covent Garden several times, and I’ve been to Soho a few times. The atmosphere in Soho is quieter and cosier, and the restaurant is brighter. Also, the food seems to me to be a bit better in Soho than in Covent Garden. In the end, even if it’s the same chain, it varies a bit from one place to another.