St John’s Wood Indian restaurant celebrates first spring

Six chefs in an industrial kitchen

Shoeb Haider (head chef), Chef Saroj (curry chef), Navin Prasad (chef patron) and Chef Hom (former tandoor chef). - Credit: Lyle Bounce/Posh Cockney Productions

St John’s Wood's Indian restaurant Ritu is celebrating a successful first six months by releasing a new spring menu.

Ritu, meaning "seasons" in Sanskrit, opened last September and specialises in authentic Indian cuisine inspired by the changing six seasons of India.

The new menu incorporates spring ingredients and vegetables to cater for cravings during the warmer Indian season of "Vasant Ritu".

Dishes include Murgh Tikka Hara Pyaaz, a spring version of butter chicken with fresh spring onions.

Birds eye shot of spring Indian dishes on a table

“For spring, we’ve especially incorporated a lot of spring vegetables like beets or artichokes." - Credit: Lyle Bounce/Posh Cockney Productions

Anubhav Srivastava, 27, owner and founder of Ritu, said: “In summer we get mangos and it’s where all the tropical fruits come into play, whereas in winter we use more turmeric and ginger to give a warm feeling.

“For spring, we’ve especially incorporated a lot of spring vegetables like beets or artichokes.”

Also new on the menu are Murgh Shammi Kebab, a traditional chicken snack with roasted lentils, dry figs, cashew nuts and mint and Butter Subzi, a vegetarian Tikka Masala with seasonal vegetables and dried fenugreek leaves.

After previously developing two successful restaurants in Chennai, India, London-born Srivastava opened Ritu last year, choosing St John’s Wood after noticing the lack of Indian cuisine in the area while studying at Regent’s University London for his finance degree.

Three men standing outside of glass door to an Indian restaurant in St John's Wood

Navin Prasad (chef patron), Anubhav Srivastava (owner and founder) and Shoeb Haider (head chef). - Credit: Lyle Bounce/Posh Cockney Productions

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Within the first six months, Ritu has already established a base of loyal regular customers and Srivastava said: “It’s been very nice to see how people have welcomed Ritu to the neighbourhood.”

The spring menu was created by culinary director Navin Prasad, 45, who previously worked at Benares in Mayfair and spent eight years travelling across India to explore the richness of the varying cuisines.

Srivastava said: “The mission of Ritu is very simple: instead of focusing on dishes from just one state in India, we want to give the full Indian experience with everything from fish dishes from Goa to chicken recipes from Kolkata.”

While expansion is a consideration, for now the young entrepreneur is focused on his upcoming wedding - “an intimate gathering of about 500 people” in Goa – which he hopes to celebrate with customers once he returns from India in April.