So many of London’s Indian eateries are generic affairs, pulling in customers who are simply too tired of pounding the pavement in search of something, anything spicy enough to ward off the innerscape equivalent of London’s drizzle. Therefore, it’s always heartening to find an Indian restaurant that is a proper specialist. Shilpa Indian Restaurant is one such place, with an intimate understanding of South Indian cuisine and dishes typical of Kerala in particular. Located down Hammersmith’s King Street, close to Ravenscourt Park tube, Shilpa is a good place to hunker down with vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies from the historic home of India’s spice trade.
Shilpa is an award-winning South Indian restaurant, with expert chops provided by their (yes, award-winning) head chef Sunny Kuttan, who honed his skills in the Taj family of luxury Indian restaurants. This London eatery focuses specifically on the regional cuisine of Kerala, an eastern state that has been a centre for the global spice trade for centuries, and Shilpa’s relatively narrow mandate when it comes to Indian cooking has allowed this Hammersmith restaurant to concentrate on perfecting a few, very particular signature dishes. Unsurprisingly, given Kerala’s long coastline – known as the Malabar coast – seafood features prominently. Grilled sea scallops, king prawns cooked with green mangoes and coconut milk, and banana-leaf-wrapped grilled sea bass are just some of the tropical delights that you can find at this King Street eatery.
But it’s not all clams, crab, prawn, lobster, mussels, cuttlefish and squid being shaken down with the Bollywood treatment down at Hammersmith’s Shilpa Indian Restaurant. Central Keralan dishes like the little-known erachi mappas – a succulent lamb specially prepared with a mix of freshly ground spices called erachi kootu – are also on the menu. And vegetarians in London take note, the Keralan take on South Indian cuisine emphasises a great variety of vegetarian options. Beyond the popular Keralan snack of banana chips (found in a supermarket near you) and the prevalence of coconut (it’s a beachy place), Shilpa does at least a dozen vegetarian mains for you to enjoy, meaning you’ll be coming back to this Hammersmith gem many a time to try out the cheera parippu thalichathu for example, a dish of lentils and spinach cooked with garlic and shallots and tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves (this last another ubiquitous part of Keralan cuisine).
The food was lovely, the service was good and atmosphere was nice too. Overall we had a lovely evening and we would definitely go back again.
Staff very friendly . Food excellent , best curries we have had in a long time . Restaurant had a real buzz , obviously known as good place to eat .
One more time, the food in Shilpa was excellent! The place was packed, the service still very efficient and friendly. Definitely our favourite place in Ravenscourt Park for a good curry and an ice cold beer.
Good food friendly staff. Cosy atmosphere. We have never been to Hammersmith so had no idea what to expect but we were pleased that we had booked this restaurant. We were also surprised how reasonable the prices were.
We were greeted by a really pleasant waiter who showed us to our table. Our waitress came over, she was extremely friendly and helpful. She was also knowledgeable about the menu. We started with the set poppadoms, 2 each with nice pickle tray, a selection of 4 pickles each. I had the seabass, cooked in medium spices, in a banana leaf. I liked the way we were asked if we preferred mild, medium or hot. Accompanying this, I chose lemon rice. The seabass was really tasty and was covered in an onion and tomatoe herb mix that was superb. The lemon rice went really well with the fish, was very tasty and had cashew nuts and lentils in. My husband had a chicken curry, kerala kozhi roast, which he thoroughly enjoyed, with steamed rice. We had two pints of Kingfisher and two sparkling waters. The bill came to £36.15, which we thought was very reasonable for the quality and quantity of food and excellent service. I had seen the restaurant advertised as one of the top 50 in London in Time Out and we were staying close by. We would definetly go again, if we come back to this area of London and would thoroughly recommend it!
Another wonderful meal at Shilpa. Each dish is distinct and delicious, the ingredients blended to perfection, yet not overwhelmed by the strongest. As usual, Shilpa pleases in every way, impeccable service and friendly in the best understated manner. The downside ? Can't find one.
Shilpa is our favourite Indian restaurant. They do a lot of south Indian and Keralan food - which is quite delicious. A particular favourite is the Masala Dosa - a huge very thin pancake filled with spicy potato. All of the food that we had was absolutely delicious and very fairly priced. We will be coming back again and again
Shilpa provides excellent food and excellent service. It is also very good value as well. My dad, who had never been to an Indian restaurant, really enjoyed it. We are going to Kerala next year so this was a great introduction to the cuisine of the region.
Met friends from France, where Indian restaurants are not numerous and they love Indian food. They loved it. Fabulous South Indian food and very warm welcome from the staff. First visit but we'll be back for sure. Thank you, Shilpa!
Really delicious food which was surprisingly good value. We went on Boxing Day, and whereas every else deserted Shilpa was bustling with people which I think is testament to what a great place it is. Service was also great.