Guglee’s second branch, in perennially upwardly mobile West Hampstead, offers much the same relaxed atmosphere, combined with attentive service and inventive Indian grub. The genially large windows along two walls provide plenty of light for the warm decor, which is approachably unfussy. Slightly unexpected hollow crate cladding hangs from the ceiling, but somehow works alongside the boxes of glowing beads which serve as wall lights.
Pleasantly, I don’t remember the cutlery or the shape of the plates, which is always a good sign, although I do remember how plentiful the waiting staff were relative to the number of tables, another plus.
The grub Guglee’s specialty is its Indian street food, which serves as the menu’s starters. Don’t let the name fool you, this is street food done gourmet – I’ve seldom seen more beautiful dishes. The dahi bhalla and bhel puri are pleasant without being moreish whilst the aloo chaat and sev puri chaat are sumptuous little pockets of exploding yoghurty loveliness.
I feel slightly duped after the menu’s bucolic narrative leads me to opt for the enticing-sounding Indian railway curry, only to discover it’s a rogan josh (in fairness, it does say so on the menu).
My disappointment is quickly alleviated by my first mouthful. The lamb is tender and tasty and the sauce is as good as I’ve ever had. My dining partner is similarly swooning over her saag gosht, a lamb dish cooked with baby spinach.
Behind the bar: There’s a decent selection of affordable wines, while the draught lager is limited to the obligatory Cobra.
Bill please: Starters from £3.75; mains from £7; wine from £4 a glass; pints from £3.
Verdict: It’s nice to see the ethos and skill have transferred from Guglee’s first restaurant. The staff are great and the food is superb for the price.
279 West End Lane, West Hampstead, NW6 1QR
Tube | West Hampstead