Located in the heart of Chelsea, opposite the iconic Cadogan Hall, Kahani – which means ‘story’ in Hindi – is where Michelin-starred chef Peter Joseph is adding the latest chapter to this tale with a fresh approach to Indian cuisine.
Indian cuisine in Britain has remained unchanged for decades – Peter is bringing innovation back into the kitchen, with an emphasis on light dishes, grilled meats, fish and vegetables from the robata grill, and dishes centred around sharing and community eating.
The British love affair with Indian cuisine is a tale that spans more than 200 years – from the opening of the very first curry house in 1809, to its rise as a British national dish throughout the 20th Century.
By combining the finest seasonal and traditional British ingredients with a strong focus on Indian cuisine, Kahani have set out to transform the way that people enjoy Indian cuisine.
The main restaurant seats up to 90 people and the restaurant is also available for exclusive hire, including a menu specially curated by Peter to suit the requirements of each guest. Peter’s innovative approach to fine dining is further supported by the splendour of Kahani’s decadent, detailed and very Instagramable interiors and its chic location opposite Cadogan Hall in Chelsea.
Kahani offers a healthy and leaner version of Indian food currently available on the market. With a strong emphasis on dishes for sharing, dining at Kahani feels like a communal experience for visitors, an idea chef Peter Joseph is keen to perpetuate.
Peter Joseph, Head Chef of Kahani, says: “Storytelling is integral to the ethos at Kahani, and the story we tell is one of great British ingredients merging with Indian culture to produce modern Indian cuisine, where conversation and community is fostered through sharing.”
At Kahani, you can wave goodbye to the heavy dishes associated with Indian cuisine and say hello to lighter fare designed to be eaten in a relaxed way.
We began our dining experience at Kahani with a taste-tastic selection of poppadums consisting of spicy, plain and rice flour which came with six accompaniments – chicken pickle, beetroot pickle and chilli pickle on the left and tomato red pepper chutney, tamarind chutney and pineapple chutney on the right. This was the perfect way to tantalize our taste buds and it was refreshing to see such a fine selection of chutneys that are not traditionally served in your typical Indian restaurants.
It was exciting to see our first course arrive. The colours and aromas of the food combined made us realise we were in for a treat. Cocktails were The Wilbraham made with Rye whisky and Oriental Wind made with Seedlip Spice 94 as a refreshing non-alcoholic alternative.
The Samosa platter comes with three different fillings – a Punjabi aloo, Kolhapuri chicken and Chettinad venison. We thought the mint sauce paired well with the aloo, the tamarind with the chicken and the red pepper for the venison. The pastry was light and the spices in each parcel gave individual character making the dish an exciting choice.
The octopus salad is refreshing and zingy. It comes cold but it has hidden depth of flavour. The octopus is soft and flavourful but the tandoori calamari outshines its mollusc mate. We thought the vibrant dressing added a light fresh element to the dish.
It was great to see soft shell crab on the menu. The Mangalorean spices really brought out the flavours of the dish. The fresh flavours were almost like the crab had just been plucked out the ocean. The crunchy outside gave way to a soft and vulnerable inside that brought out the freshness of the ocean whilst whisking you away to another world.
The chicken tikka is a nice surprise for this popular dish. It retains the tandoori smoky flavours yet stays soft and succulent inside.
A favourite and for good reason, the marinated tandoori broccoli comes with honey, nigella seeds and wheat crisps. Textures are balanced with the crunchiness of the wheat crisps. The smoky flavours from the tandoor are deeply impregnated in this dish but the flavour will remind you of a twist on cauliflower gratin. This is a must for vegetable lovers.
The smoked Malabar prawns are a must try. Soft and juicy, the flavours speak for themselves.
For the main event, we were presented with a beautiful array of curry and dhal.
The Kahani butter chicken is a signature dish and the spices are subtle but complex. The tandoori cooked chicken again maintains a soft texture that is full of flavour.
As lamb lovers, we tried the Nali Gosht – Somerset sourced lamb is slow cooked in spices with the Kashmiri chillies adding a lovely kick. The lamb falls off the bone and pairs perfectly with the restaurant’s naan and rice dishes.
A vegetable side dish you may want to try is the Okra which has a unique taste and makes for an interesting side dish.
The raspberry and mint cheesecake is a pleasant dessert to finish the meal. It is light and has a melt in the mouth centre which will satisfy those with a sweet tooth.
The Medley of kulfis are another pleasant choice to end the meal with delicious flavours of salted caramel, rose malai and our favourite pistachio cardamom.
At Kahani, Peter Joseph has combined the flavours of his childhood, in Chennai, India, with his experience in British haute cuisine. The result is a truly unique fine dining experience. Kahani is the next step in Britain’s long-standing love of Indian food.
1 Wilbraham Place, London SW1X 9AE
020 7730 7634