Palms of Goa: the best curry in London is in Soho
4 Meard Street, Soho, London, England
You read that right. The best curry in London is in Soho in West London, in a dark alley, tucked away from the action but serving up some of the best curry and naan I’ve ever tasted. I have always thought that the best curry in London, England was to be found on Brick Lane in East London. I spent so many years fixated on that idea, and have read so many articles and blog posts about Brick Lane that I made it a point to trek out to East London on a Sunday to taste the curry there for myself. As you’ve read, we didn’t have such a great experience. Instead, a week later, we serendipitously stumbled upon a curry restaurant in Soho, near Chinatown, and a few blogs away from the West London clubbing district. Admittedly, we had walked into another nearby restaurant and found that we couldn’t be seated for two hours. So wandering around, aimlessly and hungrily, we found Palms of Goa. Since I STILL had my naan craving and we were looking to redeem our bad curry experience, we went in.
We were seated right away. And we ordered a plate of naan right away too. For an appetizer, we ordered the paneer pakora. Paneer is Indian cottage cheese, its firm texture, similar to that of a firm tofu makes it a great cheese to deep fry. Served to us with a green curry dipping sauce, the 3 pieces of pakora were hot and crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. The cheese was melted to the degree of becoming a soft, adsorbent sponge to soak up the wonderfully spicy green curry. The pakora dough was grainy and crumbly and also sponged up the curry nicely.
Our naan was served at the same time as our two entrees: barbecued lamb chops and Goan chicken curry (coconut milk based, medium hot curry). I grew up with many East Indian friends, and they’ve always told me that any meal is not complete unless the naan is outstanding. The naan at Palms of Goa was more than outstanding. Piled on a plate, hot and fragrant, these slices of leavened, deep fried bread were bubbled up to perfection, and their soft, layered insides were just right for mopping up all the delicious chicken curry. We enjoyed our first order so much that we put in a second naan order.
The big bowl of chicken curry was extremely tasty. The coconut milk in the sauce balanced out the spiciness, and added a fresh sweetness to the dish. The chicken inside the curry was cut in large chunks. Despite their hunky cubes, each piece was very tender and soaked through with the curry spices and flavour. Since the curry in this dish was not fiery spicy, I could taste each layer of flavour, as my tongue tingled lightly with each soft hit of spice. The cumin flavours rounded out the sauce in a hearty warmth underlined by the sweet coconut milk.
The barbecued lamb chops were served in a sizzling cast iron pan. The meat was amazingly tender, falling off the bone at the touch of my knife. And I was using a butter knife! The robust lamb meat flavour contrasted with the milder flavours of the chicken meat in our other entree. And both entrees went great with our soft, fluffy naan.
I’m so glad we found this restaurant, and even happier that I satisfied a long awaited naan craving! This just goes to show that there are hidden gems around every corner in London. This city never ceases to surprise me.