Masala Zone has been one of our family’s go to Indian restaurants for years, with our mutual love for their Paneer Lababdar, a Lucknowi dish made from homemade ricotta, rich caramelised tomato and fenugreek, as well as their warm, welcoming vibe. The cuisine is pan-Indian and they do a fantastic range of dishes from all the different states in India, as well as thalis, which I love.
On a cold winter’s evening, there was no better place to warm up with some spicy Indian food than the Masala Zone in Soho, which has introduced a variety of hotter dishes especially for the colder months, which we had been invited to try. The restaurant is stunning too, with a lovely buzz and a fantastic location just off Carnaby street, making it ideal for a break for lunch during shopping or a post-shopping relaxing dinner.
We started off the evening with some Non Alcoholic cocktails such as the Ginger Mang Man, a delicious blend of fresh ginger, homemade spiced mango, apple juice and lime juice, Bollywood beats, which was a more tropical drink with flavours of Pineapple and Passion fruit juice, lemon juice, mint and soda, and the Rickshaw Reviver, which was Coconut water mixed with homemade grenadine, lime juice and soda.
For our starters we tried the Chicken 65, which is crispy chicken, flavoured with ginger and red chilli, and a Chennai dish. It was incredible and so full of flavour!
The Chilli Garlic Desi Potato Chips have been my brother’s favourite on many a Masala Zone visit, but this was mine and Amit’s first time trying them and we loved them!
Sprouted Lentil Bhel, which was beautifully presented, and with drizzles of tangy tamarind and three different chutneys, was a first for us all and we were pleasantly surprised by this dish.
Pao Bhaji is one of my all time favourite comfort food dishes and this version was served on a gorgeous plate and cooked to perfection. The pao bread was soft and fluffy and the bhaji was to die for.
We decided to try the Hyderabadi Mirch Baingann Ka Salan for mains, which is one of the dishes from the aptly named “Some like it hot” section of the menu. Baby aubergines were braised with whole chillies in a sesame-based sauce with peanuts, coconut and a variety of spices. It was a treat to the taste buds with varying spicy, sweet and sour flavours conjuring up a tasty melody.
Amit braved the Saoji Lamb Curry, which was described as the spiciest curry in India, and from Vidarbha, which is in the western state of Maharashtra. In this dish the lamb is slow cooked in a dry coconut gravy with roasted and ground whole garam masala spices. He really enjoyed this dish and found the heat level to be just right and the flavours really lovely and intense.
Of course we couldn’t have a sibling dinner date without our beloved Paneer Lababdar, and we enjoyed all 3 curries with a selection of naans.
Dessert was a beautiful affair with a gorgeous Gajjar Halwa with Rabri arriving on a stunning plate and which tasted sublime. This is one of my favourite Indian desserts and is warm caramelised carrots served with Indian clotted cream.
Rasmalai was also very much loved and was a wonderful sundae cup filled with milk patties in a creamy milk sauce with saffron.
My brother chose chocolate ice cream from the selection available, and he devoured it with glee.
The table also had a round of Masala Chai, a must for every Indian meal, and it was brewed to perfection and served in a generous portion in a large glass mug with a very pretty saucer.
We had a wonderful meal and a fabulous evening at Masala Zone Soho, and if you want some delicious Indian food in a restaurant with a relaxed vibe, this is a fantastic option, and there are several branches around London, so there is bound to be one near where you live. We regularly visit the Camden Town branch, but the Soho branch is also really lovely.
For more information and to book, visit their website here.
Our meal was complimentary but all views and photos are my own.