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COVID-19 Has Closed One of London’s Best Indian Restaurants

Perplexingly overlooked by Michelin, Indian Accent has shut down, citing an inability to operate under social distancing

Indian Accent [Official Photo]

Indian Accent has permanently closed in Mayfair. The critically acclaimed Indian restaurant, perplexingly overlooked by the Michelin Guide, has posted a statement to its website, saying that “IRL, the company which licensed brand Indian Accent in London is deeply saddened to announce its permanent closure.”

This difficult decision was made as a last resort after carefully considering all the factors in play as a direct result of COVID-19. Social distancing would reduce the restaurant capacity to just 30 covers. This combined with the significant fixed costs as a result of operating on one of the most expensive streets in the world and the general economic uncertainty in the UK, means that the business is unviable at its current location.

A huge thank you to all our guests for their love and support and to the incredibly talented and dedicated London team whom we shall miss. Chef Manish Mehrotra and the rest of the team hope to bring Indian Accent to London at a larger location at some point in the future.

The restaurant opened in December 2017, and brought with it the boundary-pushing sensibility that earned it plaudits and consternation alike in Delhi and New York City. Writing in her guide to the best Indian restaurants in London, Sejal Sukhadwala said:

This elegant Mayfair branch of the highly acclaimed Delhi original opened in 2018, but divides opinion: chef Manish Mehrotra’s pushing of boundaries is considered by many as a step too far. On a regularly changing menu, these signature dishes are must-trys: amuse of rich pumpkin soup with blue cheese naan; minced soy keema with quail’s eggs and own-baked, super-soft miniature Portuguese pao; Kashmiri morel mushrooms with walnut powder, truffle cream and parmesan crisps; and ghee-roast lamb with roomali roti ‘pancakes’. The latter come in bamboo baskets with Indian and Chinese-inspired chutneys, sauces and julienned cucumbers. There’s also a decent rendition of makhan malai — a dessert elevated to mythological heights with its association with moonlight and angels owing to its ethereal texture. The cooking is a homage to famous Indian chefs; and is clever, witty, playful, nostalgic, self-indulgent, at times infuriating, and full of in-jokes. The restaurant is not for everyone; go with an open mind.

It is the second “fine dining” restaurant in London to announce its closure in a week: two-Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury, in Notting Hill, will also not reopen as things stand. The limitations on both dining out and travel imposed by the novel coronavirus pandemic are forecast to hit this segment of dining extremely hard, and this duo of closures is likely just the beginning.

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