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Mela - West End
While the phenomenon of 'experts' in one field commenting on other fields may have proliferated a little too much in recent years for many people's liking (such as Piers Morgan giving his 'opinion' on the various talents of performers on Britain's Got Talent, when really all he's hoping to do is say something wittier than Simon Cowell...and failing); Andrew Lloyd Webber declaring that Mela in the West End serves 'the best food that I've ever had' (it says it right there on the website) has got to mean something, right? It certainly is some claim, particularly because Mr. Lloyd Webber does not strike you as the type of person who has only ever dined out at McDonald's before.
So taking that as a rather long-winded basepoint, on to the restaurant itself. Mela is located on Shaftesbury Avenue in the heart of the West End in central London, and serves a fabulous array of Indian dishes drawn from influences from every region throughout the country, and fused with the vibrancy of modern-day London cooking and high expectations. Robust aromas, vibrant colours, earthy flavours and exotic sauces all combine - along with the finest and freshest ingredients - to deliver memorable and mouthwatering meals at Mela.
Whether visiting for lunch or dinner any day of the week, Mela's bright and inviting interior décor is augmented by the warm welcome the waiting staff greet you with as you cross the threshold. The cuisine, however, is more that merely impressive. This is mindblowing stuff, enough to inspire Mr. Lloyd Webber to write an entire operatic offering of insipid feel-bad tunes. Starters include the garlic and pepper calamari, while the tandoori menu is decorated with a lamb shank kebab, which comes highly recommended. Curries are beautifully rich and creamy, with the palak ke koftey a firm favourite, while the methi murgh (tender-cooked chicken thigh with fresh spinach and fenugreek leaves) is the house specialty. Worldwide wines, continental beers and all manner of spirits are also available, so let the staff take your technicolour dreamcoat from your back while you and your entourage devour all in sight.