South Indian Cafe in Baker Street
Ooty Station is the latest opening by South Indian restaurant Ooty. The new casual dining spot and cafe in Baker Street is said to take inspiration from the quaint little hill-station town in the Nilgiri mountains. It aims to transport you to a bygone era with contemporary touches too. We can say, it sure is pretty cool.
The high bars and stools, comfy leather chairs and corrugated deep teal walls do give off a regal yet relaxed vibe. It feels almost like you are inside a make-shift station or fancy shipping container. There are tv screens on the walls too for showing the sport, but it’s not a rowdy or super busy spot. The service is pretty friendly and efficient, yet relaxed. Our waitress was armed with plenty of recommendations, which were all great.
The drinks menu is very extensive, featuring wine, spirits, beer and soft drinks. There’s also a separate cocktail menu featuring some creative signature cocktail options (all £12).
The Guntur Colada with Indian rum, coconut, chilli and pineapple, was like a pina colada with a twist. It had a warming chilli kick to the end of each sip, giving it a spicier overall flavour too. It was still juicy and came in a coconut mug which we loved!
We wouldn’t usually go for a brandy number but our waitress highly recommended the Orchards of Shimla so we just had to try it. A mix of cider brandy, green apple, sparkling wine and orchard celery bitters, it was just a tad sour but really refreshing. The apple flavour shone through and it was a delicious, light drink!
The Rose Garden was a must because we are big gin fans. With Hendrick’s Gin, goji berry, rose, vermouth and lime, it arrived looking like it had whipped egg white atop – light and frothy. It was creamy and smooth, sweet with the touch of floral flavour. It was a very elegant drink in presentation and taste.
We also tried a Blue Mountain, which consists of Douglas Fir Vodka, pomegranate, lime and blackberry. It reminded us a lot of a bramble, yet a touch lighter. It was slightly sour but vibrant and tasty. Altogether a great choice of cocktails – and these were just four of 12 signature options.
The food menu at Ooty Station features a small selection of bar snacks, mains, dosas and desserts. All of the dishes are based on classic south Indian cuisine with a contemporary touch.
To start we tried the The Malli Chicken Wings (£6.75) and the Ooty 66 chilli paneer buns (£8) from the bar bites menu. The chicken wings were so soft and tender, pulling away from the bone with ease. The chicken itself was delicious and had a thick slightly sweet yet tangy marinade. The portion of four wings was just enough to share (with another starter), or would be a good size for one person.
The Ooty 66 Chilli Paneer Buns came as one bun which reminded us a lot of bao. It was soft, doughy and fluffy and housed a rich and aromatic chilli paneer mix. The paneer wasn’t very chunky, and we would have liked to see a little more of the cottage cheese inside the bun (especially for the price), but the sauce still made it a very tasty starter.
Mains are a little on the small side, and we definitely recommend going about ordering like you would tapas. We recommend a mind-set of sharing a couple of mains with a dosa on the side too.
The Keralan tofu and broccoli stew with idiyappam (£8.75) was a great veggie option. The curry was buttery, creamy and mild, with a delicious fragrant flavour. The tofu was soft (not soggy) and the broccoli a la dente. A great mix of textures and flavours in this dish. The idoyappam is a lot like super thin rice noodles. They arrived in a little straw basket alongside, and were a bit stuck together but were a nice side to the stew. We would have liked a little more noodles/rice, but the dosa helped mop up some of the remainder.
The Garlic tempered soya spinach dosa (£9) arrived with three dips on the side. They were all chutneys – a tomato based one, a sweet one and a yoghurt based option. The tomato chutney was tangy and rich and definitely a fave.
The dosa itself (a uber thin flatbread) was beautifully cooked (not greasy), with a fab tasty spinach filling running through the middle. This was delicious alongside the curry dishes – it wouldn’t be enough on its own.
We also tried the Lime tomato prawn and mini idli (£11.95). This was more like a curry you would expect to see. It had an underlying coriander flavour and was of medium heat. It was packed with aromatic flavour – almost like a tikka masala mixed with a madras – not very tomato based, more peppery and herby. The prawns in the sauce were plump and juicy, a great size. The mini idli are tiny saucer shaped rice balls, made from very small grain sticky rice. Again, a great side but we’d have liked a little more than arrived alongside.
We finished with the Kulfi of the day (£4.50) to keep it traditional. It arrived presented beautifully, with a coulis, crisp wafer, meringue and fresh berries. The kulfi (a south indian ice cream) came in two flavours – a slightly sour plain flavour and a forest fruits/dark berry one atop. Not quite as creamy as ice cream but a refreshing end to our meal.
Ooty Station is a cool, relaxed new café in Baker Street with a super chilled, edgy vibe. Service is friendly and efficient, and they have plenty of recommendations to give.
Food is delicious, but some are on the small side – definitely treat the menu like tapas, or perhaps just head in for bar snacks. The cocktails were awesome – creative and super tasty. A great spot for a relaxed catch-up or night watching sport if you fancy somewhere with more chilled vibes.
East London Girl: Ooty Station
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