South Woodford is hardly a shimmy away from my Walthamstow home. And as pleasant as it is, this edge of east London community is hardly known as a hub of gourmet activity. So when I heard word of Michelin star restaurateur Rajesh Suri (ex Tamarind Collection) and acclaimed Head Chef Dayashankar Sharma having opened a modern Indian restaurant there at the end of last year, I was excited to give it a go.
And I finally made it to Suri and Sharma’s Grand Trunk Road as guest for a media munch last week. The experience was delightful, and I found myself wishing I’d been hip to the place month’s ago to have been able to show it off as my local when out-of-town guests had stayed with Kemey and me.
As its name suggests, Grand Trunk Road celebrates the ancient Subcontinent trade route from “Kabul to Kolkata” through a wealth of regional South Asian dishes (and emphasis on Chef Sharma’s Northern Indian roots). Everything I tried from the menu was gorgeous. But the best bites IMHO are as follows:
Moreish Delhi ki chaat (wheat crisps, chickpea salad, sweet yoghurt and chutneys, £6.50);
Phenomenally tender and flavoursome Peshawar ki lamb chops (“best end of Lamb chops, fennel, star anise, raw papaya and gram flour, £21.95);
Chingri malai curry (iger prawns, coconut milk, turmeric and ginger, £17.95);
Gosht dum Biryani (lamb dum biryani with bhurani raita, £17.50); and
Irresistible truffle naan (£3.95).
Service was courteous and quick during my visit. The dining space is attractive with a contemporary feel with antique South Asian accents (not all that different from Suri’s former Tamarind Collection digs like Tamarind in Mayfair and Zaika in South Kensington – just more low key).
Grand Trunk Road is located at 219 High Road, E18 2PB. Find out more at gtrrestaurant.co.uk.