Sipson Tandoori (London)

Not counting lunch at Pret a Manger at the airport the next day, this was our last meal on our big UK trip earlier this year. We returned from Glasgow that afternoon to find that in the 10 days we’d been gone a heatwave had hit London. We managed to get from King’s Cross to Heathrow with our luggage without dying of heatstroke and took a cab to our hotel (in the ring of business hotels around Heathrow). The dinner options were to eat expensively at the hotel or to look for things close by. Sipson Tandoori was a short cab ride away and as the internet did not disclose mass deaths by food poisoning among its customers, it was there we repaired. It’s a regulation curry house but it seemed appropriate to end our UK eating at a regulation curry house. As it happened, it was not a bad meal. 

What the Sipson in the name refers to, by the way, I have no idea: neither the street or town it’s located on/in is named Sipson. At any rate, while it’s not the most attractive location, the interior of the restaurant is nice enough, on par probably with Salaam Namaste—though much larger. The food is not quite at that level. As I noted, it’s a regulation curry house with no real pretensions or serious gestures at regional or trendy Indian food. Of the places in the London area I’ve reported on it’s closest to something like Ajanta in type, though this dinner was quite a bit better than my dinner at Ajanta.

Since we were going to be hopping on a plane the next morning, we did not over-order as per our usual practice. We got tandoori chicken and naan for the boys, dal for all of us, and seekh kababs, bhindi/okra and a chicken curry for the two of us. The tandoori chicken and seekh kabab had as much red food colouring as any Indian restaurant in the US (the most egregious use of artificial crimson we encountered in three months) but were otherwise quite a bit better than at places of similar ambition in the US. The naan, unfortunately, did not deviate from the general low quality of Indian breads we encountered at most places in London. The dal and okra/bhindi were very good, however—light and generally prepared in a manner more associated with homes than restaurants. The chicken was also tasty. Portions were large and so we were not tempted to take risks with their desserts.

For pictures of the restaurant and the food, launch the slideshow below. For brief comments on the service and value proposition, scroll down.

Prices were reasonable (as you can see from the menu pics). Service was affable and attentive. We were eating early and so the restaurant was quite empty—I have no idea what they’re like when busier. We did get the impression from our cab driver that they get a fair bit of custom from airport hotel customers. And, indeed, I would say that if you’re putting up in the area before a morning flight, you could do far worse than dinner at Sipson Tandoori. But if you’re not, there’s no earthly reason to aim to eat there. Of course, if the Indian restaurant in my town was this good, I’d make many offerings to all my many-armed gods. So it goes.

Next week I will (finally) close out my reviews of London restaurants from our spring sojourn with a writeup of the very first restaurant we ate at (a Sichuan restaurant in Westminster). Tomorrow it’s back to more bourbon cask whisky.

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