Feb 12 2014

Gymkhana

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Gymkhana is located in Mayfair, on Albermale street, not the obvious location for a trendy restaurant that bloggers love. It is a sister restaurant to Trishna, the Indian restaurant focused on seafood located in Marylebone, which I very much liked when I visited. Gymkhana is an Indian term which means a place of assembly, and the restaurant is inspired by Colonial Indian gymkhana clubs, set up by the British Raj, where members of high society came to socialize, dine, drink and play sport. Gymkhana serves contemporary Indian cuisine using seasonal British ingredients, with a strong focus in the tandoori oven, and you are supposed to share the dishes you order.
 
The outside of the restaurant is coloured in a dark green colour, which is unusual. When I walked in, I was a bit surprised as the place reminded a bit of a pub, it has a very casual “pub like” feel. I did not go downstairs, and maybe it looks very different there. There are a few menus you can chose from, they have a lunch menu offering 2 dishes for £20 and 3 for £25, as well as a game menu and a vegetarian menu. We chose the dishes a la carte. The dishes in the a la carte menu are divided in 7 sections, gymkhana bar (small things), nashta (snacks), kebabs & tikkas, game & chops, curry & biryani, sabzi (vegetables) and sides and condiments. Smaller dishes cost from £3 to £12.50, and the larger ones from £7.50 to £40 (for the Achari wild roe dear). The waiter recommended we chose a few dishes from each section and then share them, which we did. I also ordered a delicious, Indian type virgin Mary, served in a metal jar.

I knew what I wanted to order but I decided to ask the waiter for recommendations and he sort of made our meal worse as he recommended things to order I actually liked less than some other things on the menu, I could have had. The menu however is unusual, which I loved, it did not have any of the things you are used to seeing in Indian restaurants, every dish was done with Indian spices and flavours but was different, unusual, interesting, which I think is the reason people like this restaurant so much. From the Gymkhana bar section we ordered “Venison Keema Naan, Cucumber & Cumin Raita” and from the Nashta section “Potato Chat, Chickpeas, Tamarind, Sev” and “Duck Egg Bhurji, Lobster, Malabar Paratha”. My favourite out of all these things was the venison naan with cucumber and cumin raita, delicious, so well made, tasted so much better than your average naan. I was not a huge fan of the other dishes. By now I know that I don’t like potato chat at all and the duck egg and lobster dish I just found a bit unusual and strange for an Indian restaurant, it was like scrambled eggs, even though it had the Indian flavours, but my lunch buddies really liked these dishes and found them interesting and unusual in a good way.

We then moved to bigger courses, and from the kebabs and tikkas section I had ordered “Kasoori Chicken Tikka, Sprouting Moong Kachumber” but this dish never arrived. It was on the bill however and so in the end I had to ask them to remove this. From the game and chops section the waiter recommended “Lamb Nalli Barra, Pickled Onion, Turmeric & Ginger” which we chose, and this lamb was delicious. I also very much enjoyed the “Suckling Pig Vindaloo” that had an incredible amount of flavour and was very spicy, delicious. For me the most impressive dish though was the “Wild Muntjac Biryani, Pomegranate & Mint Raita”. Mutjac is a wild dear and the biryani was covered with a baked crust that the waiter broke and underneath you could find flavoursome rice and tender deer pieces, this was incredible.

I liked the main courses at Gymkhana much more than the starters, but as I said that is because I let our waiter have too much influence on the starters. I would definitely like to come back as the menu is so unusual you are sort of drawn to it and you want to order all these unusual items and most of the food is just so incredibly delicious, full of spices and flavour.

Date: 12/ 02/ 14
Location: Mayfair
Price for 3 people, no alcohol and service charge: £146.13

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Maija rated: 

4.00

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Gymkhana
42 Albemarle Street W1S 4JH
London
United Kingdom
GB
Gymkhana Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4