An Elevated Taste of India in an Edwardian Fire Station: Yaatra is the Location for Your Next Date Night

Said to be the UK’s second most popular takeaway, Indian cuisine is flourishing throughout Britain. Creamy textures, fragrant spices, hearty portions; it’s an option that everyone can agree on. In fact, when the working week comes to an end and cooking isn’t on the cards, sometimes a comforting Indian dish is all that will do. Plus, nowadays we can get our favourite curries dropped to our doorsteps at the click of a button. However, while feasting from the sofa may be tempting, in doing so, are we neglecting ourselves of the true delights of Indian cuisine? For example, the options of lesser-known recipes from remote parts of India, the immaculate presentation of vibrant dishes, and of course, the mouth-watering aroma trailing from the kitchen.

This weekend, we suggest resisting the temptation of cardboard-boxed biryani, and to instead experience a journey of fine Indian dining. Head to Westminster and discover Yaatra, a Michelin restaurant offering an elevated taste of India like you’ve never had before.

As you approach the entrance, you’ll know you’re in for a treat. After all, it’s not every day that you can eat in a Grade II listed Edwardian Fire Station built in 1906. The doorway is embellished with energetic foliage to mark the entryway to Westminster’s best-kept secret.

Step inside to an exquisite interior, one which you’d rightfully expect from a Michelin restaurant. Think red velvets, crisp tablecloths, intimate table spaces and of course, a breathtaking bar. However, despite the elegant decor and prestigious culinary honour, the restaurant has a friendly atmosphere that exudes quality over grandiosity. Even the menu itself is a delight to peruse through. The graphic illustrations that decorate the pages perfectly depict the land of vibrance, spices, and depths of culture. Needless to say, it puts the common double-sided laminated sheet, or worse, the scannable QR code, to shame. 

The restaurant aims to encourage you to explore new territories, flavours and traditions. The menu offers the finest, mouth-watering cuisine from the most famous cities and towns in India, as well as some of the country’s best kept secrets. It is led by Executive Chef Amit Bagyal, a creative Indian chef with over 16 years in the industry.

Chef Amit Bagyal combines traditional dishes and presents them with a Modern Flair, experimenting with different flavours, textures and spice levels. For those with allergies, intolerances, or dietary restrictions- you’re in safe hands. There’s a variety of dishes marked suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and one of the very pleasant waiters can confidently mark those containing allergens. In fact, we were told that many dishes can be altered to suit a gluten and nut allergy, two otherwise commonly used ingredients in Indian cuisine. From lunch set menus to tasting menus – there’s a wide selection of dishes for everyone. 

So, what did we get? For starters, the Togarashi Grilled Scallops are a must. The succulent, juicy scallop is served in its elegant shell, bathing in a pool of zesty coconut butter.

If decisions aren’t your forté, look no further than the Kebab Platter, a delicious dish of Tandoori Prawn, Achari Chicken, and Lamb Chops served with a refreshing kachumber salad and mint yoghurt chutney.

In between courses, we would recommend trying a signature cocktail from the menu crafted by master mixologist Nicholas Smith. Each tasty refreshment is created with the finest premium ingredients and a wonderful collection of spirits and wines from around the globe. We delighted in the zesty Gin Fizz and the elderflower Floral before tucking into our main courses.

For mains, we opted for the succulent Tandoori Fresh Water Tiger Prawns served with turmeric & lemon rice, and a fresh Malabar sauce.

Also available on the menu is Chef Amit Bagyal’s personal favourite- the Garhwal Goat Osso Buco. With ginger and turmeric gravy, as well as caramelised onion, this is his grandmother’s recipe using Himalayan hand-crushed spices and salt. Needless to say, this is a recommendation worth taking. 

After a journey of mouth-watering flavours, delectable meats and perfectly fluffed rice, the evening must come to an end. However, not before indulging in dessert, of course. And what better way to do so than with a chocolate and orange mousse with silky smooth ice cream?

From start to finish, Yaatra is an exquisite dining experience like no other, offering vibrant dishes and delicious refreshments that will be etched in your mind for the foreseeable.

We’re already planning our next visit!

Josie Wilkins

Josie is a Journalism graduate from Galway, Ireland. In her free time, she writes for her blog, Naturally Fuelled (@josiewilkins on instagram). When she isn't writing, she enjoys playing the one song she knows on the piano, 'I Giorni', saving the postman from her aggressive Shorkie, and defending brussels sprouts as an all-year-round snack!