A hop and a skip away from the hustle and bustle of Green Park you will find a gem by the name Gymkhana, a Michelin star Indian Restaurant holding its mark since 2014. This gorgeous venue had a tumble not too long ago when a fire broke out and sadly put a stick in the wheel for any diners at the time, but fast forward and after much hard work Gymkhana is back up and running and with a passion.
At first step inside Lady Charlotte Lynham and I were met by a gorgeously fragrant atmosphere. It truly was the first thing that peaked our interest. When we were walking through the upstairs to be shown to our table we pass booths on each side dark wood and lush leather seats. There’s something about booths, a kind of a vintage feeling. We walk further in where you will find a bar straight ahead and then a slightly winding stairwell to a more private setting downstairs to your right. But not before we powder our noses, and let me tell you even the restrooms were created to please the eye, to me this is a sign of utmost care and attention as to interior design.
After carefully descending the stairs in our heels we are met by dark wooden walls with a gorgeous panel of art touching the ceiling amongst the animal trophies and artworks, red leather couch style seats line the walls with a nice amount of tables for groups big or small, all under a red patterned ceiling. The ambience gives me that Vintage sports club meets Oriental Express feeling and I was feeling it.
We were greeted and taken very well care of by Lefter, our server. He talked us through the menu and also told us great stories about both food and the restaurant itself all throughout with a lovely smile. After listening to his recommendations we decided to treat ourselves to a nice taster menu between us, this gave us the full journey and enough food to take home even, what luck!
But before our meal arrived a toast was in order to celebrate this lovely evening out together, I have to say my Silver Zip Gimlet was just what I needed, created with Hendricks Gin, Jasmine instead of lime and Clary Sage Cordial, it was perfect to get me started, and like a small treasure on top it was garnished with a small white flower. It’s all about the details. Gymkhanas drinks menu is quite special as they use key Indian ingredients in the base of reimagined classics served in the elite clubs of India; might have to do a drink review one day.
For our starters we shared the Goan Cafreal Salmon Tikka with Tomato Chutney; lovely flavours giving you a medley of spices and a little bit of citrus. We followed this up with Patiala Fried Chicken and Garlic Raita; small spheric chicken bits, a great size for a starter with lovely spices and a gorgeous crunch. Our third and final choice of starter was Kid Goat Methi Keema, Salli and Pao. Lovely and tender but with the added onion on top you are aware of a crispness. You are given bread on the side, you slice the bread in half, add your Kid Goat and enjoy every bite. To drink we were recommended the Epileptic Inspiration by Peter Walser and the Blankbottle Winery by our Sommelier Mario. The bottle itself was a work of art with an MRI picture of a brain on the label. Mario, the Sommelier, told us that the inspiration behind this wine was in fact a epileptic attack, it’s made in small production and through the ways of old school wine making. This South African white wine transformed so beautifully through all the starters, really complimenting each and every dish, we travelled from smoky to fruity seamlessly.
Moving along to our main courses we chose the Chicken Butter Masala, a classic Indian dish delivered beautifully and filled with flavour, spicy yet not overpowering and such tender pieces if chicken. I am a bit of a Masala fan and Gymkhana definitely did not disappoint. Our next dish was the Wild Muntjac Biryani with Pomegranate & Mint Raita, presented in such an interesting way. It’s baked in to a pie that our server opened with flare, after this demonstration we took our first bite and the flavours were amazing. Spices lifting the tender deer and that touch of mint and pomegranate takes you on an entire taste journey. We teamed our main course with a Holger Koch 2019 Pinot Grigio Noir, a dark yet fresh wine transforming into silky and fine ending towards spicy, the wine complimented the mains perfectly elevating the flavours. On the side of our mains we were treated to spicy fried Okra; I’m going to be honest, I have never tried Okra before, and I was happily surprised at how tasty it was. We also had selection of lush Naan bread and a plate of earthy Aubergine. Aubergine is another item I haven’t eaten in abundance in my protected culinary life but I absolutely loved it.
It was such a well curated menu taking you on a journey of flavours and spices, but we were not done just yet, of course we had to have a dessert, and one can never go wrong with sorbet. We picked two flavours each and my very favourite was the mango, it’s the winner by a mile with a deep flavour and overall creaminess. And of course a latte to finish the meal, I do love my coffee.
Gymkhana is perfect for an evening out with friends or an evening to celebrate any occasion of choice. It was definitely one for the books for me, I loved the atmosphere and the food. It felt luxurious and special. Whether you pop by for a drink or for an entire taster menu you will not be disappointed as you are transported to a different culture and continent.
42 Albemarle Street