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Mela: Superior West End Indian
Update August 2014: text amended and photos added
This is a favourite choice for when I want a slightly different take on the traditional Indian meal. It's in a great location on Shaftesbury Avenue, just off Cambridge Circus - perfect for the theatre district (and indeed there is a pre-theatre menu on offer, though I've never sampled it). The décor is definitely a cut above most Indian restaurants, with interesting pictures and artefacts - just the sort of thing I'm often tempted to bring back from trips abroad.
Favorite Dish: The food too is more imaginative than the average, though there are some traditional favourites. I particularly like the emphasis on fish and seafood. My favourite starter is the fried whitebait with a spicy coating, served in a poppadum basket. I also like the Murgh Kalimirch - pan-grilled fillets of chicken with crushed peppercorns,sesame, curry leaves and mustard seeds.
My favourite main course here, and one I often choose, is a salmon kebab cooked in the tandoor oven. Other good choices include the Jhinga Kalimirch - prawns stir-fried with curry leaves, roasted moong lentils,freshly crushed black peppercorns, onions and bell peppers,topped with grated coconut (really delicious - spicy but with a real freshness to the sauce and the slightly crunchy peppers). Recently I tried the vegetarian Amina Badi Aloo for the first time - potatoes stuffed with a mix of cashew nuts, pomegranate seeds, raisins and ginger - tasty but very filling!
Prices are reasonable and there's often a deal to be had through Open Table. Service can be a bit bit and miss however - sometimes a little over-solicitous and rushed, other times rather slow. But don't let that put you off going, as this really is a great place in which to experience something akin to real Indian cooking.
Mela Indian Restaurant: Delightful Indian Food in the Theater District
How did we pick Mela? We booked a musical-plus-dinner combo on the internet; our show took place in the Prince Edward Theater, and out of the choice of restaurants included in the deal Mela was very near to the theater and its website also seemed very promising.
All three of us were very happy with our choice. Service was friendly and efficient. The restaurant staff was really delightful, and the boss made us feel very welcome. The Indian food was delicious and well prepared. The restaurant was full and the atmosphere was very happy and relaxed.
It was a good start for the evening, and the theater was just around the corner.
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- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Mela: Good Indian Cuisine
Indian restaurant of the year in 2001 according to the Evening Standard. Had an enjoyable meal. I'm not much for Indian cuisine but everyone in our party enjoyed the food. The waiter was pleasant but was encouraging us to order more food than the six of us needed.
Favorite Dish: We shared four different dishes and all were satisfying.
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- Food and Dining
Mela: West End dining at a decent price!
Situated on Shatebury avenue, Mela is easy to access from most places in the west end: Soho, Piccadilly, Leceister Square, Covent Garden, Oxford street, etc.
The cuisine is 'country-style' Indian. They serve tasty food with quality ingredients. The staff are friendly and the bill wont break the bank!
Favorite Dish: Unforutnatly, I was there two years ago, so I couldnt tell you what dish I had!
However, it was from the early evening menu and cost about £8.50 per head for two courses.
- Budget Travel
MELA: Great Indian Restaurant
Great food, we ate here for dinner two nights in a row during our November trip to London. They also give nice bracelets to the kids on the way out! We loved it!
Favorite Dish: I had a chicken tandoori thing that was excellent. Rice was also superb. My wife also highly recommends the chick pea curry.
Mela: Middle-priced contemporary Indian (Covent Garden)
Another Indian favourite is Mela. Reasonably priced, comtemporary decor without being unwelcoming. This is a good place for an early dinner - they do good deals for the 'pre-theatre' crowd. But even outside of the deals, this is very reasonably priced for the West End.
Favorite Dish: Most things!
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