Mehfil, formerly the Hotel Iccon, is an inspired fusion of traditional elegance and contemporary touches in a welcoming and cosy atmosphere. The bedrooms too follow suit and are designed in keeping with the stylishness and sophistication as the rest of the building. Decorated with carpeted floors, burgundy upholstered tub chairs, crisp white linens, and accents of cream and peach, the feeling of restfulness and comfort are quite evident.
The Mehfil Indian Restaurant offers sophisticated cuisine in friendly and elegant surroundings; the bright and cheerful interior encourages a lifting of the spirits that bodes well for the enjoyment of a meal that draws upon tradition linked with a modern twist. While Mehfil's highly acclaimed chef takes care in the preparation of each dish to make sure that it looks and tastes authentic, therefore all recipes are kept true to their origin, using only fresh ingredients.
An impressive array of starters includes the Mehfil mixed platter, with something from the entire tandoori range included, a handsome dish which can almost become main course in itself, marinated king prawns cooked in tandoor with a hint of saffron, or paneer sashlik, grilled cottage cheese with capsicum and onion. Fish Amritsari is a famous Indian dish, with the fish deep-fried in a traditional manner.
It always seems that Indian cuisine makes far more of its appetiser, or starter, courses than many others, which is fine once you have adjusted to the different intakes, and Mehfil is an excellent example. But pace yourself!
So on to the main courses, where purists will be delighted to find straightforward chicken curry, the traditional Punjab version, hot but not outrageous, so beloved of those who have spent prolonged time in India, with the chance to acclimatise to the cuisine. The lamb shaahi, tasty pieces of lamb cooked in mild gravy, is said to have been a much coveted royal delicacy, now available to a wide egalitarian public.
Another classic dish, from Kashmir, is the lamb rogan josh, which has that appealing rich red hue that sets the taste buds racing. The meat is cooked with fresh tomatoes, paprika and red chillies, and is a world favourite. For sheer delicacy of flavours do not lose sight of the butter chicken, where specially marinated chicken pieces are ever so slowly cooked, losing little in the process, in butter and tomato.
More obvious flavours emerge with the garlic prawn masala, where fresh ground spices invade the prawns without compromising their delicacy. Another slow cooker is the dal makhani, creamy textured black lentils cooked overnight with butter, and aromatic of India at its best.
Vegetarianism is one area that has largely escaped many of us, but Indian cooking does make the best of it, and so may you if you order the aloo mehfil, cut potatoes with chopped cottage cheese and vegetables, cooked very tenderly in a mild curry sauce with cream.
One of the best parts of an Indian meal is the delightful ranges of rice and breads that go with it. The delicate fragrance of good Basmati rice, the hidden delights of a Peshawari naan or the whole wheat flour bread, hot from the clay oven.
Desserts may represent an area of reserve when it comes to Indian food. Perhaps it is the lack of real choice, but at Mehfil limited choice means that what is available is really good, and there is a credible range of ice creams as well.
The lassi comes, sweet, salted or mango and there can be few better or more genuine ways of enjoying an Indian meal than having this traditional beverage available at some point.
The hotel and restaurant are within convenient reach of London Heathrow, and the customary business lunch is excellent value. For a wider look at their menu and details of their hotel and banqueting facilities, make sure you click on to their excellent Website