If I had a home away from home, this would be it. This is not a Indian restaurant. This is not a curry house. This is home-cooked food in a restaurant, with just enough panache to make you feel like you are doing something special.
The ambience is quirky – dolls hanging from the roofs, frescoes painted by artists that travelled from the villages of Madhya Pradesh to the London adorn the walls of this restaurant. It is a place that is what it is. More substance that flash.
The food is simple. You get food in a thali. In a traditional Indian home, you would eat in a thali – a large steel plate with lots of tapas sized portion of lentils and vegetables. The thali in Masala zone usually has a couple of vegetables – sometimes they are curried but quite often they are dry – a dal (or lentil for the uninitiated), a dish meat or fish dish that you can choose, some rice and a roti.
The vegetables and the dal changes everyday, so you never get bored. Well, at least I never did. I have been going to this restaruant chain for the last 10 years and done everything imaginable in this plac. Smile, laughed, flirted, charmed the girl, fallen for the wrong the girl, fallen for the impossibly wrong girl – again, stayed up with the manager after the restaurant closed, suggested quirky cocktail concoctions that went up on the menu and have always walked away feeling happier than than before I went in. In all my trails and tribulations, if there has been one constant, it is this place. It is a chain, but a chain of happy coincidences.
48 Floral Street, London Wc2e 9da. 020 7379 0101.
80 Upper Street, London N1 0NU, 020 7359 3399.
147 Earls Court Road, London SW5 9RQ. 020 7373 0220.