Noiya is Indian with a difference up Lavender Hill, a short trek from both Clapham Junction and Wandsworth Road stations. Dispensing with the cliches so often associated with Indian restaurants in London – traditional rugs, rustic knick-knacks from the subcontinent, tired menus backed up with middle-of-the-road curries – and gone instead for a kitchen and bar reminiscent of a Soho-side establishment, and a fresh and innovative offering. The reactions have been uniformly positive, with rave reviews from both Noiya’s customers and food critics alike.
Approaching Noiya from Clapham Junction or Wandsworth Road station one is immediately struck by the look of this Lavender Hill restaurant. It does not at all resemble your usual Indian, the kind you find on every high street in London. With a charcoal facade and decked terrace out front, it looks more like an upscale Soho bistro or cafe. Inside, the chic-effect continues, with tasteful minimalism crying out contemporary. For Noiya, the decidedly different decor (you won’t find kilim rugs or elephant statuettes hanging on the walls here) is but one aspect of their thorough overhaul of the conventional Indian restaurant – and this goes for the food, to.
While Noiya does turn out the classics – a killer kurma, a retreaded tikka masala – it does so with the kind of flair rarely found at your run-of-the-mill Indian restaurants in London. While not exactly revisionist, the talent in Noiya’s Lavender Hill kitchen are definitely attuned to contemporary or less well-travelled interpretations of traditional Indian recipes. Signatures include the mezai chicken, tandoor-grilled with a mango and almond sauce and the mushroom tabali, whole gram flour-coated mushroom dumplings cooked in a creamy sauce laced with strips of hot red chilli. Throughout, you’ll find familiar and unusual ingredients brought together in fantastic combinations. A good introduction to Noiya would be a set meal – an early-week taster for two, the premium meal for two, or the vegetarian meal for two – all of which offer the opportunity to explore just what this Clapham Junction Indian specialist does so differently.