And yet, strangely enough, Indian food is currently basking in the glorious sun of culinary attention in the capital. A new kind of Indian cuisine is blossoming, one which melds traditional spice and flavour with modern techniques and ingredients. This means grub like a Bombay take on KFC (Keralan Fried Chicken, of course) and that bacon naan you've scrolled past for the last two years.
Here is our pick of London's best offerings of Indian food, spanning regions from Goa to Mumbai. After all, there really is more to life than a chicken tikka masala.
The original outpost of Kricket was a tiny 20-seat shipping container in Brixton set up by chefs who had previously worked in Mumbai. Their second spot in Soho opened this year and like the first, the menu is a testament to the bustling sun-soaked streets of their former Indian city.
Their small plate style menu includes dishes like keralan fried chicken with curry leaf mayonnaise and gloriously fresh lasooni scallop with Goan sausage. An excellent cocktail list and reasonable price point make it somewhere you shouldn't miss.
Kricket, 12 Denman St, Soho, London W1D 7HH
Tandoor Chop House
Hospitality giants Ennismore are responsible for cool eateries and hotels including Chicken Shop, The Hoxton Hotel and Holborn Grind. Their latest venture is a journey to Northern India which combines its tradition of communal eating with a classic British chop house.
The tandoor ovens are the heart of the restaurant and lock heat and spice into dishes like the black pepper chicken tikka, amritsari crispy lamb chops and masala boti rubbed ribeye. Go the whole hog and order the green chilli, garlic & cheese naan, a gluttonous and textural treat.
Tandoor Chop House, 8 Adelaide St, London WC2N 4HZ
Karam Sethi knows what you want to eat next, the man behind trendy spots like Bubbledogs and Bao is also responsible for three of the restaurants on this list. Hoppers is inspired by the food of Tamil Nadu (a southern region of India) and Sri Lanka.
The big hitters on the menu are their famous eponymous hoppers (pancakes made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk) and dosa (crêpe made from fermented lentils and rice) both carb heaven and best with one of their curries.
Hoppers, 49 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4SG
If the never-ending queues are a measure of success then Dishoom has more than made it, but measure their now four locations on food quality, decor, service or affordability and you get the same story. The Bombay-inspired café that has been Yelp's 'Restaurant of the Year' for the last two years running is going nowhere with a new outpost in Edinburgh coming soon.
If you haven't yet popped down, the bacon and egg naan with chili jam is the breakfast dish of choice and for dinner you can't go wrong with the chicken ruby curry and lamb boti kabab. Believe the hype: the queue is more than worth the wait.
Dishoom, 22 Kingly St, Carnaby, London W1B 5QB
Over in East London, home-style Indian cooking is on the menu at Gunpowder, an intimate and charmingly chaotic spot which has gone down roaringly well in Spitalfields.
Their tightly curated and bold menu includes the endlessly Instagrammed spicy venison and vermicelli doughnut, aunty Sulu's wild rabbit pulao (thanks, aunty Sulu) and the surprisingly show-stealing aloo chaat. Spicy potatoes, sweet yoghurt and tangy chutney that will have you licking the bowl clean.
Gunpowder, 11 White's Row, London E1 7NF
The industrial interior and low hanging lights of Chai Ki don't scream Indian cuisine, but it makes the sharing dishes of butter chicken and Goan prawns seem at home in the modern Crossrail Place site.
Their Toddy Shop Bar menu offers more eclectic dishes such as baby back ribs with Nepalese chili rub and burnt chili chicken with Indo-Chinese Szechwan sauce. The menu is very reasonable too so overeat and regret it later.
Chai Ki, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AR
Gymkhana is another of Karam Sethi's treasures and has likely been the most widely acclaimed Indian restaurant in London since opening in 2013, even earning it a Michelin Star. The quality hasn't dropped since, evidenced by how difficult it still is to book a table in the hallowed wood-paneled dining room.
Menu gems include the lasooni wild tiger prawns, fleshy with an excellent tangy flavour and the rich but subtle badami lamb shank korma.
Gymkhana, 42 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4JH
The Cinnamon Club
Served in a book-filled former library on Embankment, this is classic decor, not your average dimly lit pop-up. The food is a different matter with experimental Indian starters such as the delicious Bengali style thermidor with half Scottish lobster or the tandoori octopus with chutney aloo.
Main dishes skillfully deconstruct Indian flavours from their typical format such as the Roast saddle of Romney Marsh lamb, saffron-rogan josh sauce. Pricey stuff, but at least you don't have to share.
Cinnamon Club, The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith St, Westminster, London SW1P 3BU
The final offering from Sethi's trio of eateries is his first baby: the much heralded Trishna near Baker Street. It too has a Michelin Star and boasts a relaxed and stylish interior without announcing itself too loudly on the neighbourhood Marylebone street.
Trishna, 15-17 Blandford St, Marylebone, London W1U 3DG
"Half-plates and full drinks" is the mantra behind this Covent Garden spot which threw its door open last Spring. This doesn't mean you'll leave hungry though - snacks are priced at £1 to £2.50 and small plates from £4.50 to £9 so you can fill your boots on bright delicacies such as the Goan pork and 'offal' curry to a crab 'scotch egg'.
The seafood curry is a winner too which uses the vegetable "drumsticks" popular in South Indian vegetarian cooking.
Talli Joe, 152-156 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8HL