The Painted Heron, Chelsea
It is the locals of Chelsea (not the flashy newbies) who frequent this divine riverside restaurant which has oft been crowned as the Best Indian in London. The Painted Heron is fine dining without being stuffy, and it’s far enough from public transport to permit you to ‘innocently’ insist on a joint taxi home.
Take all the classic Indian dishes and add fresh ingredients, the most fragrant of herbs and spices and stunning presentation- even the poppadums are served with an easel of coloured chutneys. The chicken tikka three ways is a great starter to share, then the black tiger prawn masala alongside the “Indian Railways” curry make good main courses to pick and choose from. Their wine list is wonderful and get carried away with champagnes by the glass.
The bounteously lit Albert Bridge must feature at one end of the date- so either arrange to meet them there and set the tone of romance early, or lead them there post dinner for one of London’s most well set kisses. Savour the meal, you’re in no rush and this isn’t a date where you’ll be headed for a bar afterwards.
Indian food isn’t traditional date fodder, but then this place is truly something else.
3. (Up that to 4 if you add in a saunter over that bridge)