As a reluctant vegetarian while visiting London, we ate a lot of Indian food. And boy, is it true what they say: the Indian food in London is fantastic. So creative and easy on the eyes, I wonder why I’ve never had Indian food like this while in the States.
One of my favorite small plates were puri — whole wheat or semolina shells so crispy and light, with filling, usually mashed potatoes, mashed chick peas and a chutney.
Pani Puri from Roti Chai was so delicious and memorable. You fill the little puff pastries with this slightly spicy green water jal jeera. The tastes and textures from the flavorful liquid, delicate and crunchy shell with the soft and fragrant filling is incredible. At Masala Zone, I opted for a variation Dahi Puri filled with chick pea mash, yoghurt and chutney. The yoghurt was really rich – more like a sour cream, and the cool, creamy texture was nice with the light crisp from the biscuit and the slightly heavier chick pea mash. The samosa was a bit of a bummer, I expected the skin to be crunchy but it was instead, soft. But the curried chick peas on the side were wonderfully tasty.
Dosa is a potato pancake with a potato filling. I think Masala Zone uses a yam instead of regular potatoes as the filling and the pancake were a bit too sweet. I’m not really a fan of sweet foods during dinner so I didn’t enjoy this dish at all. The curry and chutneys though, were amazing. I love Indian spices.
Papadum is an Indian and Pakistani crisp (chips) eaten with chutney. The trio of chutneys served here, are tomato, mint parsley and mango. The mint parsley was my favorite as again, I am not a fan of sweet — and the tomato and mango were sweet.
We had one more dish — saag paneer (dish based on greens, either spinach or collard greens with cheese) we ate with a tortilla like thing. I believe it was a chick pea cake? I’m not exactly sure, but I am positive it wasn’t na’an. I forgot to take a photo.
The food is indeed delicious but not out of this world. Mainly because I was expecting the spices to be more prominent.
What really caught me off guard in London is how a lot of the dishes I loved eating in the States tasted so different in London. Like our falafel from our takeaway — the falafels I’m used to, have firm, flavorful bites with a crispy exterior. Usually shaped in small balls. The falafel from our takeaway, were soggy and shaped in patties. It also didn’t have a mouthful of flavor with each bite. Or the samosa from this dinner, it too, was soggy and the potato filling wasn’t as fragrant as most of the samosas I loved to eat so much back in the States.
Masala Zone is charming and the food is decent. Would I recommend it? I’m not sure. I need to go a few more times to give the final answer.
Either way, the location in Covent Garden is a great place for a date or with friends. The puppets suspended from the ceiling are a bit bizarre but I guess it adds to the charm.
48 Floral Street (Next To The Royal Opera House)
London WC2E 9DA