A pit stop in London en route to Italy gave us just enough time to squeeze in a proper Indian meal with friends. And not just any old curry spot would do. Our pit stop lunch was at Gymkhana, the Michelin starred, and up until recently, the number one restaurant in the U.K. (Read numero uno, top of the list of ALL restaurants) There’s a good reason for all the hoopla and accolade. It’s amazing. From the first bite of their little savory chat snacks paired with chutneys, we knew it was going to be a culinary ride. Inspired by Colonial Indian gymkhana clubs where members of high society socialise, dine, drink and play sport, Gymkhana is the ultimate in old world meets new world dining, and you definitely cannot recreate this level of magic at home.
Chef Karam Sethi brilliantly celebrates the past through his dishes. Layers of spices and flavors show culinary depth and genius, and transport you to another stratosphere. Maybe blame it on the 6 hours cruising over at 35,000 feet – but our appetites were of elephantile proportion. Thankfully so, because we were able to try a lot of everything.
To start we had the duck egg bhurji with lobster and malabar paratha – light and fluffy; duck dosa with coconut chutney – small dosa cone with an intense filling of meat flavored with fenugreek; lasooni wild tiger prawns with red pepper chutney – probably my favorite dish, served on an elegant silver tray; and the black pepper fish tikka with lasooni tomato chutney – which was suprisingly spicy from the black pepper.
Then came a selection of curries including the wild boar vindaloo, the basket of naans and the special rice – wild muntjac biryani with pomegranate and mint raita. The biryani comes to the table in a clay pot covered with a small puff pastry decorated with various seeds. Your waiter skillfully trims off the top and the saffron infused rice gives off a sinfully seductive aromatic cloud of deliciousness… (What’s wild muntjac you may wonder? It’s wild deer, of course, but don’t let that throw you off, the biryani is a must order!)
With no office to go back to, lunch concluded with dessert. Because, why not. Chocolate samosa with malabar coffee kulfi and a few other spice infused desserts were all that we dreamed of and more. Eventually we heaved ourselves out of there as the staff were prepping for dinner service… tummies properly stuffed and ready to make the schlep back on the airbus to the next destination.
42 Albemarle Street
London WS1 4JH
Tel. (0)20 3011 5900