Resident restaurant guru Lucy Self takes a peak at the new Raj-inspired upscale Indian restaurant to arrive in Mayfair, Gymkhana
We love a cheap and cheerful curry house as much as the next person (especially when they serve killer lamb chops like Tayyabs or perfect paneer like the Dehli Grill) but sometimes it’s nice to appreciate a little sophistication with our spice.
Imagine our delight then, to hear of the recent opening of Gymkhana, the second venture from Michelin-starred chef Karam Sethi on Albemarle Street. Inspired by Colonial Indian gymkhana clubs, where well-to-do types of the British Raj came to chin wag and indulge in excellent tandoori and chatpatta food, Gymkhana aims to bring a touch of colonial India to Mayfair.
The beautiful interior, complete with hunting trophies, ratten chairs and dark-lacquered oak ceilings dotted with fans, is designed to evoke the clubs of the time. While the modern Indian menu centered around the tandoor oven and sigri charcoal grill, marries the Indian technique and flavour with traditionally British ingredients such as game.
As to be expected from a chef who earned his Michelin star at Trishna (Sethi’s faultless South-West Indian restaurant in Marylebone) the dishes read brilliantly. From the Tandoori Guinea Fowl breast, Leg and Green Mango Chat, Mint Coriander Chutney to the the Suckling Pig Cheek Vindaloo (swoon).
For pre or post dinner drinks there’s a 17th Century India Punch house below, with a grand-aged brass bar stocked with spirits from the sub-continent and delicious-sounding bar menu (they had us at Quail pakoras). Top on our list to try is the Regent’s Punch (containing arrack – a lethal spirit made from coconut sap) served in wax-sealed glass bottles.
And if that wasn’t enough to have us reaching for the reservation line – Gymkhana is offering what must be one of the best set menus in London (four courses for £25 if you come before 6.30pm). Game on!
For more information visit gymkhanalondon.com