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A bit of a find, this cheery restaurant is quite unlike its bland setting. Keeping company with spice shops, a supermarket and other small tightly-packed retailers, Bayleaf Brasserie provides a startling contrast. It is airy, effortlessly chic and pleasantly endowed in bright, warm tones. Its plenitude of glass windows and doors adds to the feeling of spaciousness and a fortuitously-placed old brick building across the road provides a surprisingly French brasserie vista. Diners are reminded that this is an esteemed Indian restaurant however, by paintings of Ganesh and a pot-and-pan-fringed kitchen which sits in the middle of the eatery producing appetising fragrances and – once in a while – hosting cooking classes.
The menu is a concise list of well thought-out dishes which celebrate the different regions of India. Among the signature dishes, which come with a Bayleaf recommendation, are sadabahar tikki (beetroot and jumera patties flavoured with mango powder and chaat masala) for entree and baingan caldeen (snap-fried baby eggplant with fresh mintand coriander flavoured coconut sauce) for main. More meat-minded diners may prefer an entree of achari goat (diced goat slow-cooked with fennel, nigella seeds and whole pickeling spices) and murgh makhani (an authentic rendition of butter chicken) or Goan prawns (served in a coconut milk based sauce with mustard seeds, curry leaves and whole red chillies) for the second course. The usual selection of Indian sides (chutneys, pickles and pappadums) is ready to accompany the meals. And if you have room for a third course, there is a selection of kulfis. Another fabulous way to experience Bayleaf's unique take on Indian cuisine is to attend one of the restaurant's monthly regional banquets. On the last Sunday of every month Bayleaf unearths delicious, but lesser-known, dishes of a selected region of India. Brilliant!