Located right off the Haymarket (indeed in the basement of the Haymarket Theatre), Mint Leaf is an upscale and contemporary Indian restaurant with an expansive cocktail bar and lounge. A smart setting for pre and post theatre drinks and dining, it's not such a bad place to sneak down into for lunch.
The place has been around for about ten years, and maybe its ultra sleek black-on-black minimalist décor comes across as ultra dated, but a newly renovated a la carte menu has freshened things on the plate at least.
The new menu's a rather fanciful one. Green mango and puffed rice salad with tamarind dressing (£7.50) is a coriander-yummy starter. Served in a sort of poppadom cone, it's especially attractive if not the most straightforward dish to eat. From the grill, star anise marinated duck kebab with chilli jam (£11) is juicy, flavoursome (the duck more so than the jam) and certainly ample. Stir fried okra with water chestnuts, a good veggie side; cumin and saffron pulao (£4), a nicely done serving of rice. Naan (£3) is to an expected standard. A rose sauce enhanced pistachio kulfi (£8) delights.
Service is conscientious and efficient. Table seating is comfortable. The vibe feels removed from the hustle and bustle. The bottom line? It's a pleasant enough restaurant. You won't be bored with the new menu and you might very well be impressed.
Mint Leaf is located at Haymarket Theatre, 18 Suffolk Street, SW1Y 4HT.
Disclaimer: Londonist visited Mint Leaf upon invitation by the restaurant.