Sheraton Skyline Hotel
Hayes UB3 5BP
Tel: 0208 564 3380
Food type: Indian
Nearest tube: Heathrow (then take public transport)
Website: Madhu’s Heathrow
If you ask Joe Blogg’s on the street where you would find excellent Indian cuisine they may point you towards Southall or perhaps even Tooting. Ask the Michelin man and he might suggest Mayfair (Benares or Gymkhana). I don’t many would name Heathrow, in particular a restaurant located in an airport hotel to serve some of the best Indian cuisine in London. After all, I have always been under the impression that restaurants located in airport hotels are cynical operations – there to make a quick buck from passing by travellers who are unlikely to return.
Situated in the Sheraton Skyline Hotel, is Madhu’s Heathrow an ambitious venture by the same people who run Madhu’s in Southall – a well-respected Indian restaurant who are also suppliers to the Royal Family. Please note, there are two different Sheraton’s located near Heathrow so make sure you go to the correct one as I am sure I will not be the first, nor the last to make the mistake of confusing the two hotels. A lot of care has been put into the opening of this restaurant with celebrity blogger Andy Hayler roped in to put together their wine list. I would love to moan about the wine list, but I did not check it out – I find the pairing of curries and wines just do not go together no matter how well thought out the pairing is.
Unlike other openings here which aim to trade on the drawing power of celebrity chefs, Madhu’s Heathrow has introduced the concept of the Robata Grill. Now the concept of using a Robata Grill is not new in London, especially with Japanese cooking – it has been one of the biggest draws for restaurants such as Roka. However, the use of a Robata Grill in Indian cooking is an entirely different concept. This is of course the main selling point and one the restaurant is very aware of with the restaurant designed to showcase the grill. An entire section of the menu is dedicated to dishes cooked on the grill which eschews the traditional Tandoor oven.
From the grill menu, one dish that should not be missed is their signature Robata chops – New Zealand lamb chops marinated in a spice mixture before being grilled. Here the benefit of the Robata grill is evident as the lamb chops take on a nice smoky aroma whilst remaining pink and juicy. The gentle cooking process also means that the vibrant spicing comes through nicely. To be honest, I would happily eat 10 of these lamb chops, wash it down with a pint of Cobra beer and call it a day.
The main menu featuring more traditional Indian dishes is a lot more limited perhaps due to a small kitchen but probably also for quality control. Murg Biryani (Chicken Biryani) is prepared in using the traditional method – cooked in a pot sealed with dough to ensure all the aromas are sealed in. This was a fine rendition of a classic with the addition of rosewater and cardamom gently perfuming the dish. Saag Ghost (Lamb with mustard leaves and spinach) will not be gracing the covers of any food magazines anytime soon, but tasted delicious. Another plus, is the restaurant features the elusive Romali roti on the menu which was capably made.
Whilst the traditional curries at Madhu’s Heathrow do not break new ground and will set my heart racing, the food from the Robata grill is both innovative and exciting. On a Saturday night, it was telling that the restaurant was completely packed by Asian families, not tourists. If you are near the vicinity and crave some excellent Indian food, you could do worse than dinning here.