OUR FAVOURITE INDIAN PLACES IN LONDON - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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Our Fall/Winter collection is strongly rooted in Indian culture, rich in dance, food, music, colors and myths, mixing tradition and modernity.

This culture has spread its influence throughout the world, especially in London. So we asked a specialist - Dipal Acharya - to give us her best spots there. The best way to experience a little bit of India in Europe.

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A restaurant – Gymkhana (42 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JH, gymkhanalondon.com)
The latest offering from the celebrated Anglo-Indian chef Karam Sethi, Gymkhana is inspired by the colonial gentleman’s clubs set up by the British Raj, all dark mahogany panels, chocolate leather banquettes and low lighting. Making use of the in-house tandoor oven and sigri charcoal grill, expect bright modern interpretations of coastal Indian cuisine (the tandoori guinea fowl with mango chat and mint chutney is a must) and be sure to leave room for pudding – the comforting carrot halwa tart is dangerously moreish.

A bar – The Permit Room at Dishoom (7 Boundary Street, London, E2 7JE, dishoom.com)
The laid-back speakeasy style of The Permit Room in Shoreditch pays homage to Mumbai’s antiquated prohibition laws. Ensconced opposite the veranda of Dishoom – a restaurant that reimagines the Persian cafes of Bombay in the 1960s – find everything from juleps, sours, teas and fizzes served up with an Indian twist. Plump for a copper cup of Edwina’s Affair (£8) – a delicate mix of gin, rose and cardamom. Potent but delicious.

A yoga class – Jivamukti Yoga (300 Kensal Road, London, W10 5BE, jivamuktiyogalondon.co.uk)
Take a break from the rat race and head to Jivamukti Yoga in Kensal Rise for some deep relaxation. Derived from the Sanskrit word Jivemuktih (translated as liberation while living), this dynamic form of yoga is about much more than getting a firmer bod. Developed by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984, it reconnects with the spiritual roots of yoga through pranayama (the art of breathing), mediation, devotional chanting as well as vigorous asana. Actress Thandie Newton and Kate Moss are regulars.

A grocery store – V.B and Sons (738 Kenton Road, Harrow, HA3 9QX)
More emporium than grocery store, VB and Sons is your one-stop shop for dry goods and specialist Indian foods. The franchise has outposts dotted around London’s suburbs (Tooting, Wembley, Greenford etc.) but, thanks to their never-ending aisles of sweets and spices, the schlep is well worth it.

A book store – Shalimar Books (38 Kennington Lane, London, SE11 4LS, indianbooksuk.com)
Thanks to an ever-growing network of suppliers from India, while away a few hours perusing the shelves of this charming Kennington bookshop. From traditional folklore tales (see Bhima and the Fragrant Flower) to essay collections on contemporary Indian history, it’s a lovely spot to pick up an enlightening weekend read.

A beauty spot – Vaishaly (51 Paddington Street, London, W1U 4HR, vaishaly.com)
Hidden in the heart of Marylebone, superfacialist Vaishaly has been tending to her a-list clients for years out of her discreet clinic. A signature facial might set you back by £250, but for 55 minutes with the skincare guru herself (and a complexion boosted by the healing properties of essential oils) it’s worth every penny.

An art gallery - Prahlad Bubbar (33 Cork Street, London, W1S 3NQ, prahladbubbar.com)
If the permanent collection in the Nehru Gallery at the V&A (vam.ac.uk) isn’t enough, be sure to pay a visit to Prahlad Bubbar’s Cork Street gallery. Specialising in classical Indian and Islamic works from 1400 – 1900, be sure to take a peek at his stunning collection of black and white photographs of the nawabs and maharajas of India too.

A day out – Bhaktivedanta Manor (Hilfield Lane, Aldenham, Watford, Hertfordshire WD25 8DT, bhaktivedantamanor.co.uk)
A mock-Tudor Mansion donated by Beatle George Harrison to the Hare Krishna movement in the seventies, the Bhaktivendata Manor is a set within 78 acres of land and houses an organic farm and cow sanctuary, as well as the iconic temple which draws thousands of visitors each year.

An activity – School of Wok
Don’t be fooled by the name – though the School of Wok specialises in Chinese cookery lessons, it also has a brilliant introductory course to Indian cuisine. The 3-hour class teaches you how to use base spices properly or rustle up a mean green garlic and coriander chutney, alongside more traditional fare like vegetarian samosa’s and pilau rice. The curry from your local will never taste the same again. 


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