#FtLionAwards 2018 – Best Main of the Year?

After the #FtLionAwards 2018 Best Starter of the Year (sponsored by Chai Naasto and the newly opened Patri), we continue with the Best Main of the Year category.

After much debate and dialogue, we’ve shortlisted the following seven nominees.

And while you marvel over these amazing mains, remember that not only can you also vote for your favourite on our Instagram and Facebook pages, but in doing so you’ll automatically be entered in our prize draw with the chance of winning a fantastic Celebration Set Menu for 2 at Chai Naasto’s west London branch in Hammersmith.

SHORTLIST – Best Main of the Year

We want you to either: 1) vote for the following nominees, or 2) let us know both your favourite main and the place you had it, all on our Facebook and/or Instagram pages.


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Chakra in London Kensington pulled out one of the best Jalandhar Chicken dishes we’ve had!

And while this was slightly sweeter than most, it was this crucial detail, expertly balanced by the spices therein, that made it such an enjoyable eat. The curry was rich, smooth and creamy, and the chicken wonderfully cooked.


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With a dish up for Best Starter already, the multi-award winning Drunch, is also featuring for another chance at winning Best Main for the second year running with this outstandingly delicious Confit Duck that raises the question of whether it could be two in a row for them.

Although the four components on the plate are a classic combination, they were done so well that they came together harmoniously to offer this wholesome, unpretentious and no-nonsense plate of food. The crispy-skinned and superbly succulent bird had such depth of flavour, especially with that amazingly rich, meaty and fatty-flavoured jus with its touch of the sour, that it had us in rapture. Had with the soft potatoes and cabbage, this was simple, yet addictive.


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Hankies single chop was up there with Grand Trunk Road’s lamb chop and contender for last year’s main. This was an incredible piece of meat. Expertly spiced in a chilli oil marination and perfectly barbecued to achieve a delicate crust, we were presented with a thick, juicy chop of epic proportions that was dreamily tender, with the knife just gliding through with ridiculous ease.

One of the best we’ve ever had!


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And then we had this chop from fine-dining newcomers Kahani, which was an utterly divine cut of marinated Somerset lamb chops.

Once in a while, a dish will be presented that leaves you aghast and collectively stunned. The joys of food reviewing; and the answer to why we continue to do this. This is arguably the best chops we’ve had this year, and possibly one of the best we’ve ever had under Feed the Lion. Honestly; tell us those distinct parallel muscles fibres conspicuously visible on that cross section doesn’t look a picture.

This was perfectly pink, utterly soft, tender and juicy, and as close to melt-in-the-mouth as you’re going to get with a lamb chop.


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And Kahani again pulled out this biryani which, we were unanimous, has set a new benchmark. A sublime level of cooking which managed to accomplish three fundamental aspects of what makes a good biryani: 1) freshness – one that doesn’t taste fresh isn’t much of one; 2) spices – ought to be uncompromising, plentiful, but nicely balanced; 3) clarity – of flavours along with distinct, well cooked and separated rice, without things being oily.

The balance of spices in the tender masala-lamb mixture, nestled neath a layer of fragrant rice to allow one to stir it in as desired, had a depth of flavour that all three of us found, in spite of our differing palates, to be expertly judged.

In fact, what made this entire biryani even more interesting was the pair of accompanying bowls of yoghurt raita and a “chilli ka salan”, respectively, where the former might be used to dampen the soothing heat generated by the “exotic spices”, and the latter, with its warm sweet chilliness, to strengthen it.


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The wow factor of any traditional Daab Chingri is the coconut shell in which it’s cooked and presented. As a budding fine dining establishment, however, Matsya goes the extra mile in presenting said Bengali shrimp curry not just in a dehusked coconut shell, but one that’s been properly extirpated of its fibrous exterior.

And we’re delighted to say that this was just as spectacular in flavour as in its delivery, with a rich, deep sauce that exuded a tantalising smoky-mustardy aroma, courtesy of the Kasundi mustard, which was expertly balanced, despite its renowned pungency, by the sweetness of the coconut milk. In addition, there were hints of chilli, a sour edge, and soft shrimps that still retained a nice bite.

One of the best dishes of the evening, with one Lion summing things up perfectly: “Just a gorgeous experience!”


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This full-bodied Chicken Katsu Curry by another newcomer, Japanese restaurant Mitsuryu, was a wonderfully executed bowl this was, with the succulent battered chicken having taken up enough of the onion-infused curry, which was covered in scrambled egg perhaps and had a mellow sweet undertone to it, to make it a deliciously addictive eat.

This went so well with the warm rice. A solid dish; and one we’d return for without a doubt.

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