Proud to be a family run business, Madhu’s story begins in Nairobi, Kenya, Bishan Das Anand started a catering business in 1935, he later opened the legendary Brilliant Hotel in 1957 and established himself as a successful name in the industry. Inspired by the work of their grandfather, Madhu’s Brilliant was opened in 1980 by Sanjay and Sanjeev Anand, in 2004 the company re-branded and changed the name to Madhu’s. A new addition to the family dining experience is Madhu’s of Mayfair located at The Dilly Hotel. Madhu’s authentic Punjabi cuisine with a Kenyan twist, includes secret recipes handed down over four generations with an amazing array of foods, cocktails, wines and even gluten free beer. Madhu’s is a restaurant not to be missed and is a real jewel in the West End, a superb example of a top-class Punjabi restaurant.
Set in a listed building with high ceilings, superb architecture and magnificent chandeliers Madhu’s is a feast for the eyes as well as your taste buds. As you enter the restaurant inside The Dilly Hotel on Piccadilly you come across the magnificent bar and fun décor with impressive chandeliers, comfy sofas and funky armchairs to sit and sip on a cocktail or a glass of champagne before dinner. Smyrna welcomed us to the restaurant on it’s grand opening night and after recommendations we settled on some cocktails from the menu and enjoyed the atmosphere in the bar area. With music playing at a great volume to chat and soak up the fun vibes we sipped our cocktails before heading into the dining area. This bar area will be great to come to for a cocktail in the West End after a visit to the theatre – Haymarket is just round the corner and Shaftesbury Avenue is nearby.
After supping up the cocktails we were escorted to our table in the main dining area where the décor continues to be impressive. The happy Manpreet talked us through the menu and helped us choose from the Appetiser section. We went for the Signature Dish of Chilli Chicken; which is full of flavour, cooked on the bone in a wok with a blend of spices infused into the meat with a hot luscious gravy. This worked well with the Palak Patta Chaat – made by deep frying spinach and topping it up with samphire and chutney, sweet but salty and crunchy and soft, this chaat is certainly going to change your perception about the humble spinach! We also had Jeera Scallops served with a tangy relish, cooked well – firm to the touch, but still slightly soft, like well-set jelly! The scallops were soft and flavoursome with pepper flavours. The last appetiser we tried was the Asparagus Choma grilled on the robata and was a total hit; smoky, warming and cooked to perfection – we did try to get the recipe but were told it’s a secret!
Adel looked after us with wine matching to the dishes and chose Whispering Angel Rose for starters, it has beautiful light pink tones and a soft, smooth taste. It is deliciously drinkable with a dry finish. Whispering Angel rosé would definitely pair well with a wide variety of dishes and was a great choice for the Appetisers.
We were recommended for the main course Mahu’s Machi, a signature dish on the menu a whole seabass in onion and carom seed marinade; please note it is a bony fish and Adel very kindly filleted it for us but small bones were still present. The fish is delicate, meaty and the profile of taste flavours and smells are phenomenal. The Masaledaar Kuku is a signature dish of tender chicken thigh cooked in a rich gravy with depth and rich in aromatic spices, we were informed this is a Kenyan Punjabi favourite and you can taste why. The Baingan Ka Bhartha was ordered as well and is char-smoked aubergine mash, cooked with onion, cumin and al dente peas, this dish had layers of flavours, if you love aubergine you have got to try out this signature dish. I also had a cucumber and carrot raita on the side, this is a delicious cooling yoghurt salad and worked well with all the dishes and cuts through any spice if you have a delicate palette and garlic naan which was also great for mopping up the delicious gravy!
Adel paired the mains with a bottle of Dr Loosen ‘Graacher Himmelreich’ Riesling Spätlese, from 2019. This off dry wine worked really well with the spicy food. Sublimely smooth, sweet and fresh this was the best Riesling I have ever had, very quaffable and was the perfect pairing to the food cutting through the spice to even out the flavours and bring out more depth in the dishes.
To finish we went for the Kulfi, this frozen dairy dessert originates in the Indian subcontinent in the 16th century. It is often described as “traditional Indian ice cream”. The clotted cream and cardamom was presented like a rose on a gold leaf shaped plate, very light and refreshing similar to the taste of a chai latte. We also tried the Almond Kulfi, a very nutty rich flavour and creamy texture. This was paired with Château La Rame, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Bordeaux, 2016 a perfect match for the creamy flavours of the Kulfi. Medium-intensity gold in colour, this wine has an aromatic, medium-plus-intensity nose of apricot, peach stone fruit, marmalade, dried apple and pear drop, another great match made by Adel.
We were very honoured to be at Madhu’s of Mayfair on their opening night, the food and drink choices are abundant and the staff are very welcoming and friendly, they should be proud to have so many staff members with such due diligence qualities in them. Madhu’s is truly exceptional; the food was beautiful and the ambiance and staff complemented it, it’s a must visit restaurant that I can highly recommend, a truly amazing experience.
Madhu’s of Mayfair