Est. India: Livin’ for the City

Flat Iron Square describes itself as ‘London’s liveliest cultural hub’, a mingling of musical and other events in the communal spaces with a spectrum of on-trend eating and drinking venues nearby, all in the shadows of the railway tracks with the Shard towering impressively in the distance. It’s not quite New York, but certainly it feels much cooler than many parts of London, another chapter in the city’s diverse and every-changing evolution. No surprise that there should be an Indian restaurant in the Flat Iron complex, given the perennial popularity of the cuisine. No surprise either that the owners have sought to brand it with as many catchy signifying adjectives as possible. Est. (short for established) India apparently offers “traditional, fine, urban” dining, per its website. Even if I would not necessarily choose to be so profligate with my descriptors, in summary Est. was a great venue with some impressively decent food. You don’t come here for the décor; I guess that’s where the ‘urban’ comes in. What you get is bare walls, and simple wooden furniture. It’s the cooking that does the talking though, with Est’s menu taking in influences from across the sub-continent (Bengal to Bhutan via Kashmir and Kerala). While there are some obvious classics such as the Korma and the Jalfrezi, it’s the novel that pushes the boundaries. Consider the rack of Kashmiri lamb chops which our group of five shared as a starter (pictured). The meat was succulent yet flavoursome, tickled with a combination of subtle spices, cardamom being dominant. A Bhati Ka Murgh dish of chicken was also spot-on, enhanced by its roasting in a tandoor and subsequent coating in a spiced yoghurt base. Mains did not disappoint either. Spicing was liberal yet judicious, achieving a good balance, which showed itself in all the dishes I sampled. We also liked the list of drinks, comprising both a decent range of local craft beers as well as some original wine choices, such as the Chilean Gewurz for which we opted. At £30-40/ head, pricing is reasonable with the Express Tiffin Lunch, priced at just £8 sounding almost too good to be true. Pay a visit!