Experience The Best Of Mughlai Cuisine At Grand Trunk Road

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EXPERIENCE THE BEST OF MUGHLAI CUISINE AT GRAND TRUNK ROAD

Grand Trunk Road is an Indian restaurant in South Woodford whose menu is inspired by the best of North Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Afghan cuisine. The butter chicken and dal Bukhara alone are worth going to Zone 4.

Grand Trunk Road, 219 High Road, London E18 2PB. Phone: 020 8505 1965

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“….And truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle. It runs straight, bearing without crowding India’s traffic for fifteen hundred miles – such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world.”
– Rudyard Kipling on the Grand Trunk Road in his novel, Kim

London is no stranger to curry houses. They firmly dot every borough, with new ones popping up every now and then. But when teams behind renowned Michelin-starred restaurants start opening their own ventures in lesser-known suburbs of London, it’s worth sitting up and taking notice. So when Grand Trunk Road opened in leafy South Woodford, an area that has known only Bangladeshi (Indian) inspired curry take-aways, there was a definite gleam in my eye and a spring in my step. After all, rumours (now confirmed) suggested this restaurant had been opened by Rajesh Suri, former general manager of Tamarind in Mayfair.

But what intrigued me more was the name. In India, the cuisine of the North-West frontier – fondly known as “Mughlai”, or the cuisine that thrived during and after the Mughal rule in India – is possibly the most-loved. Nothing beats a bowl of hot, steaming, creamy dal bukhara (or dal makahni, a Punjabi cousin of the former) or butter chicken with a pillowy butter naan, dishes that are lacking in London’s non-Michelin starred Indian restaurants. My vote for the best dal makhani in London would go to Dishoom – but that was before I dined at Grand Trunk Road.

Nothing beats a bowl of hot, steaming, creamy dal bukhara or butter chicken with a pillowy butter naan.

The name refers to one of Asia’s oldest and longest major roads – linking South Asia with Central Asia – from Chittagong in Bangladesh across Northern India through Delhi, moving on to Lahore and Peshawar in Pakistan and finally ending in Kabul, Afghanistan. As for the food? The menu has been inspired from all these places. It’s the first time I’ve seen butter chicken on a menu in London – I’m not usually a fan of sweet-tangy Indian curries, but I had to taste this, if only to see if it was authentic.

We skipped the starters to try a selection of main courses – including, of course, the butter chicken – and with just two people, that’s quite a meal. But I already knew I was coming back. Everything from the décor to the service screamed “home” to me. It replicated the opulence and attention to detail that is a hallmark of Mughlai and Awadhi restaurants in India.

Along with the Amritsari butter chicken, we ordered Lahori keema muttar and my beloved dal bukhara. And while I’d usually go for the butter or garlic naan or a tandoori roti, I noticed they were also serving missi roti, a bread made from gram flour and something I’d never touch in India. But nostalgia is a strange thing; it creeps up and takes you by surprise when you least expect it. All of it, including the missi roti, hit all the right spots. Gongs sounded in my head with every bite, and not just because the food was delicious and reminiscent of Saturday evening dinners with my family, but also with the knowledge that here’s a restaurant that is only a 15-minute drive from where I live. If I ever feel homesick, it’s just the right place to cure me of it.

Feature photograph courtesy Grand Trunk Road

 
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