Review: Lucknow 49 restaurant

A new casual Indian has arrived in Mayfair, just off Regent Street, from the team behind Soho’s Dum Biryani. We sent Helen Salter along to try it out for dinner.

Conveniently located on Maddox Street, Lucknow 49’s name references both its address and India’s northern city of Lucknow, which artisans flocked to after the fall of Delhi as the capital of the Mughal Empire. The city soon became known as a centre for culture – as well as its aromatic biryanis. 

The dining room’s cosy surroundings are set to a soundtrack of ‘90 hip-hop, while founder and chef Dhruv Mittal leads the team in the kitchen. His menu offers diners a ‘journey to Lucknow’ via starters, sides and plates to share. 

We started the evening with cocktails: the smoky, theatrical zing of the rum-based Bidi and a Pink Mirch (both £10), the second blending fragrant, pink pepper gin with cucumber and elderflower. 

Soon after clinking our glasses, we tucked into extremely tender gosht barrah lamb chops (£12.50) and the dal kachori bhalla chaat (£6), which is a lentil-stuffed flatbread with rice dumplings, yoghurt, tamarind and coriander chutney. More flavour arrived with the awadi sabzi (£11), a tasteful vegetarian biryani decked with potatoes, green beans, carrots and peas, infused with saffron and topped with shards of crispy onion. The billowing gilafi kulcha bread (£4), cooked in the tandoor, was the perfect vehicle to soak up the remnants.  

The main dishes are a chance for meat-eaters to go wild, whether it’s with the taar gosht (slow-cooked lamb that’s apparently soaked in over 30 spices, £16), chicken thigh cooked in brown onion and cashew nut sauce called murgh qorma (£12), or the slow-cooked, marinated goat biryani (£14). We chose the taar gosht, which was a surprisingly rich and delicate leg in onion gravy. 

By this point, finishing became a struggle. With a little belly room to spare, we tapped our spoons upon the hard aminabad kulfi (£5). This traditional ice cream dessert combines saffron, almond and cardamom for a chalky, earthy flavor.

Lucknow 49 is relatively affordable compared to the eateries dotted around this area: a (very) full feast for two, without drinks, came to £60. With its tourist-friendly location, this restaurant is ideal for empty-bellied shoppers on the hunt for a leisurely lunch or dinner, as well as a persuasive revision of Lucknow’s fragrant culinary history.
49 Maddox St, Mayfair, W1S 2PQ
020-7491 9191
Tue-Fri noon-3pm, 5.30-10.30pm; Sat noon-11pm; Sun noon-3pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm
Prices and times correct at time of publishing

Photos courtesy of Lucknow 49 

As well as boasting one of the world’s best Indian restaurant scenes, London’s brilliant for roast dinners – here’s our review of the Sunday roast at The Cleveland Arms in Paddington

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