Toss the tikka masala and go to eat where Indians eat Indian. Ignore the Harvester-style decor of this pub-turned-curry-joint in a corner of London that is forever India, and prepare to be dazzled by the East African-influenced cuisine that makes most curries taste like the runt of a Big Mac litter. Slobber down crunchy chilli-fried cassava and stunning moushkaki. Add a chilled Kenyan Tusker beer or two. Try the chilli chicken masala, and I warn you — you'll need a Tusker with that baby...
Honeypot Lane, Stanmore
Tel: 020 8206 1024
Rani serves the most wonderful Gujarati vegetarian cuisine and prides itself on making all the items on the menu. The owner is invariably on hand to welcome you into the warm and friendly environment. Waiting staff are knowledgeable, attentive and, if needed, will help you work your way to making the difficult decision as to what to choose from such an extensive, well-priced menu. If this is too difficult, they have a yummy range of set menus, or go on Sunday when it is buffet lunch. They are child-friendly, too!
7 Long Lane, Finchley Central
Tel: 020 8349 4386/2636
One of the best-kept secrets in north London, the Raj Villa specialises in fish dishes as well as providing outstanding examples of the usual fare at affordable prices. You must try the Goan fish masala - fresh sea bass simmered in tomato, turmeric and lemon grass. And if you like it hot, then it has to be the fish Bengal – with plenty of fresh chillies. Service is superb with just the right attention to your needs – none of that awful fawning that seems de rigueur in some places. And if you are lucky the owner might let you touch his football signed by the Arsenal team: enough recommendation in itself for one part of north London.
148 Colney Hatch Lane, Muswell Hill; 020 8815 0707
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