May 10 2015



Benares is a 1 Michelin star Indian restaurant in Mayfair, and arguably with Amaya one of the best known high end Indian restaurants in London. The main chef Atul Kochhar at Benares serves modern Indian cuisine with a contemporary British twist. The décor in Benares is very trendy, the restaurant is quite dark and stylish when you enter, actually a bit similar to Amaya. The dining room is quite big with tables scattered around it and there is also a bar before the restaurant.

I had been to Benares before but was not that impressed and always preferred Amaya. However I came back to Benares as they recently started doing an all day Sunday brunch for £45 which included around 20 different dishes and a glass of sparkling wine or a lassi. My fiancé was super pleasantly surprised when the waitress showed us the long food menu and said that everything was included for the £45 we paid. Benares is now one of my favourite value for money brunch restaurants in London.

Benares lunch started with small crackers and the usual Indian dips restaurant serve with poppadums, the lemon pickle, a tomato one and a third one. I go to Indian restaurants quite frequently and I was very pleasantly surprised when I tasted these dips to find them miles better than an average Indian restaurant dip.

We were brought food at this brunch during four waves, and during the first one we got small Indian nibbles - Masala Omelette, Tempered Dhokla, Chicken Tikka Caesar Salad, Pickled Prawn and Root Vegetable. The masala omelette was delicious although in my view unnecessarily served with ketchup which over-powered the wonderful flavour. The Dhola was a small little cake made out of fermented rice and chickpea batter. It was super light and easily broke and crumbled as you put it in your mouth. The Chicken Tikka Caesar Salad had Chicken Tikka pieces placed in a lettuce leaf and the Pickled Prawn and Root Vegetable dish consisted of these ingredients cooked but them placed cold in a little jar and served to us. The Chicken Tikka Caesar Salad was probably my favourite dish and I was expecting a bit more from the Pickled Prawn and Root Vegetable dish.

Next came the tandoori type of dishes placed on 2 plates – one meat/ fish one and one vegetable one. On the meat and fish one, each of us got a piece of Amritsari Sea Bass Salad, Lamb Seekh Kebab and Tandoori Chicken Wing, and the vegetable plate had Tandoori Cauliflower and Broccoli, as well as Paneer Tikka. For me the most delicious thing was the Lamb Seekh Kebab, it had an insane amount of flavour in it, but I also very much liked the sea bass, served with onions and rocket leaves and the chicken. The broccoli, cauliflower an paneer were served with this very interesting barbecue sort of sauce that tasted very smoke-y and was good with the vegetables and the paneer cheese. My fiancé loved the paneer cheese.

Next came the curry main course dishes and we were given 5 pots with curry dishes, raita, amazingly delicious naan bread and unlimited supply of biryani or white rice. The waiter came to us with these huge pots of biryani and plain rice and he put this on our plate and asked throughout the meal if we wanted more. The curry had no oil and 100% flavour and my favourite one was the Kashmiri Dum King Edward Potato curry as the sauce had an interesting tomato flavour hint to it. The Mangalorean Chicken Curry and the Malabar Fish Curry were nice although I would have liked them to have a more traditional curry taste. I did like the Boondi Raita, and I thought the Sweet Corn and Spinach Stew was average.

The dessert was a plate with small pieces of Black Forest Gateaux (rice pudding topped with berries), Rasmalai (traditional Indian dessert made out of sugary white cream) and Lemon Torte as well as a Kulfi (Indian type of ice cream) or Sorbet of the day. I chose the kulfi and my fiancé ate the sorbet of the day. The pistachio kulfi was nice and the sorbet had quite an acidy taste and I liked the kulfi and was quite intrigued by the taste of the sorbet, but my fiancé did not like either. I was not blown away by the other dishes, and did not particularly like the lemon torte, which I thought was quite boring or the rasmalai, which I thought was a bit plain. I did however very much like the petit four, which included a blood orange petit four and a nut brittle snack.

Amaya is still my favourite high end Indian restaurant, but I though this meal at Benares was great value for money and gave you so many interesting dishes. Some were better than others though.

Date: 10/ 05/ 15
Location: Mayfair
Price for 2 people without alcohol: £112.44

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12a Berkeley Square W1J 6BS
United Kingdom
Benares Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5