We recently visited Copper Chimney, a prominent fixture on the pedestrian-friendly restaurant street at Westfield London. Now Westfield is not where we would normally go in search of fine cuisine but - as Bob Dylan said - the times they are a changin’.
Having not done my due diligence as a good journalist should, I had no information as to the pedigree and history of this award-winning restaurant from the North of India. This lack of effort on my part turned out to be a blessing as we had no preconceptions of what lay in store and we embarked on a culinary journey of fabulous sub-continent flavours that gave a passing nod to haute-cuisine.
Had I done my research, I would have known that this very prominent restaurant brand was founded in 1972 by JK Kapur in Bombay (now Mumbai), and inaugurated by the legendary Bollywood actor, the late Dilip Kumar. It has since become one of India’s biggest culinary success stories, pioneering sophisticated signature Indian dishes with the creation of distinctive spice blends, as well as introducing the cuisine, culture, and flavours of the sub-continent to a wider audience.
The success of this restaurant has been achieved over the past four decades where award-winning Copper Chimney has taken thousands of guests on a gastronomic odyssey, exploring, and celebrating Indian cuisine across the globe. This Mumbai institution also has outposts in India, Kuwait, and the UAE.
The menu is a celebration of undivided India spanning from the North-West frontier to Delhi, and showcasing unforgettable Indian food with a contemporary haute cuisine twist.
The restaurant promises "Indian Food, Made Unforgettable." A claim that is bold in a city such as London where, of course, the Indian curry has now become a national UK treasure and where a plethora of fabulous Indian restaurants ranging from the humble to Michelin-starred options are on offer.
We zealously pored over the menu which promises no compromises on quality, products, ingredients and flavours. Each of their curries are made from scratch; each grilled dish is marinated for multiple hours before making it onto the plate; each lentil is slow cooked to extract maximum flavour; each biryani rice is individually layered with the best basmati rice, and each bread is hand-made, carrying forward their founder’s passion and promise of fresh Indian cooking of the highest quality.
Before we begin our review of the food we must give a nod to the superb and friendly reception and wait-staff who welcomed and served us with aplomb despite us having reserved under a pseudonym.
A circular bar dominates the entrance where one can enjoy cocktails such as: Worli Morning (vodka, orange liqueur, curry leaf and lemon sugar), Achari Whiskey (sour mash whiskey, ginger ale and mango) or the Sobo G&T (sweet basil infused gin, hibiscus tea, cranberry, lime, traces of spices and sparkling quinine water) which are a perfect way to immerse yourself in the atmosphere before beginning your culinary journey.
The restaurant beyond is an array of banquette seating and chairs in a bright airy and contemporary space with small nods to its Indian heritage. The buzzing restaurant had obviously already been discovered by the cognoscenti prior to us visiting!
The halal friendly menu utilises fresh produce, sourced from local suppliers and spices procured from the best farms across India, along with possessing an unwavering commitment to quality, ingredients, and flavours. Divided into seven sections; Starter Plates, Tandoor Grills, Curries, Sides, Breads, Biryanis and Desserts there is a myriad of delicious items to choose from.
Begin with the lamb seekh kebab sizzling fresh from their grills, exploding with flavours of spices, chillies and coriander. Unforgettable signature items include Grilled Burrah Chop from the Tandoor – perfected over several decades - which is marinated for 8-hours and cooked to succulent perfection with hints of cinnamon and spices. Their signature Butter Chicken was the first dish to ever appear on the Copper Chimney menu when it first opened in Bombay in 1972, and to this day remains a favourite amongst their loyal customers. The Parda Lamb Biryani, a favourite amongst connoisseurs of Indian cuisine, is beautifully created and reminiscent of the fabulous street food in Mumbai.
Puddings are not usually an Indian forte but their Gajar (carrot) Pistachio Crumble is a dish unique to Copper Chimney and memorable thanks to its subtle spicing and warm flavours - and is perfect enjoyed with a scoop of Kulfi!
The open plan kitchen added to the theatre of the evening and it was a joy to watch the chefs scurrying as they prepared each dish with meticulous perfection. What we loved most about Copper Chimney was the genuine passion and authenticity that emanated from every dish and captured the true flavours of India without compromise. My visits to Westfield will never be the same again!
Southern Terrace, Ariel Way