Occasionally it knocks your socks off’

by Lionel Casey

Lucknow forty-nine, 49 Maddox Street, London W1S 2PQ (020 7491 9191). Starters £6-£sixteen; mains £12-£17.50; cakes £6; wines from £29 While it would be incorrect to argue that most of the Indian subcontinent’s meals are brown, it’s easy to look how a meal at Lucknow forty-nine, the second London organization from chef Dhruv Mittal, would possibly make you attain that conclusion. It’s a parade of dishes which, on a coloration chart, would run the gamut from “dark earth” through “silted river bed” all the manner to “plowed area”. I don’t have any trouble with brown food; a number of the maximum extreme, strident dishes I have ever eaten have been brown. In cooking, caramelization is your friend, and caramel is brown. Others experience differently. This might also explain why, half of way via dinner, I find myself watching a lightly sauced cauliflower, dressed with a thin scab of shimmering silver leaf.

Some will protest that treasured metals as meals ornament is a cultural factor, with a venerable record in Indian cooking. But I’m now not in India. I’m on Maddox Street on the brink of London’s Mayfair, wherein there’s already too much needless gilding. I don’t like consuming matters which serve no nutritional purpose. I, in particular, don’t like consuming things that can be destined to travel instantly thru me so that the product at the alternative stop turns out so glittery you can grasp it on a Christmas tree if, say, Tim Burton was in charge of the decorations.

Apart from supplying the possibility to make poo jokes in a restaurant review – by no means to be overlooked – there’s a more severe factor here. How do we evaluate a restaurant like this, wherein the giant bill without a doubt will pay for things like a silver leaf on the cauliflower, which doesn’t have anything to do with the meals? For a beginning, Lucknow 49 is an entirely relaxed restaurant, actually so. The upholstered bench seating is stacked with throw cushions and bolsters – such a lot of, indeed, that I just chuck a few off to create a space wherein to wriggle my colossal arse.

There is olive green paintwork, in addition to what seems like a hand-published ornament around the archway into the back dining room, and blocky floral prints. It’s a self-aware take at the domestic, the type of secure fashion that expenses good money. Accordingly, the most inexpensive bottle of wine is £29 for something drinkable, the name I can’t keep in mind, and the dinner invoice for two will spoil £a hundred thirty without difficulty.

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