The easiest way to silence the eight-year-old was to take me to Drummond Street and either the Ravi Shankar or the Diwana restaurant – whichever happened to be the shorter waiting for its legendary buffets.
I would pile up my plate of mini dosas, heaps of marble paneer, cucumber raita, endless pakora and poori and then go back for more – and more – before ending up with an inordinate amount of Syrupy Gulab Jamun. Absolute bliss and – in an era before vegan and vegetarian restaurants were a thing in the capital AKA in the 1990s – one of the few places in Central London to find inexpensive vegetarian options.
The South Indian vegetarian restaurants on Drummond Street are an integral part of the London fabric, many of which have been there for over 40 years – Diwana opened in 1970. Yet the HS2 works at nearby Euston Station, not to mention the legacy of various locks, have proven the street a place of near-constant chaos.
Then come on, The Drummond Streatery, an initiative that will bring some love to the area. In addition to new outdoor dining, a summer event will soon be announced in and around Drummond Street, as well as the appearance of some brand new murals and a shared garden to spice up the place a little.
Sultan Chowdhury, owner of Ravi Shankar restaurant, says, “Drummond Street has had a very challenging time, but we are determined to make this neighborhood a success – it has so much culture and cuisine to offer. We are a group of independent businesses with our own specialties and authentic family recipes, and the opening of the Steatery is a turning point for the area – it made the street exciting and beautiful to go with all the delicious food there is. ”
Drummond Street, Camden, NW1 2HL.
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