For a country that has more than 10,000 Indian restaurants, a new opening, however hyped up, is hardly news. But Gymkhana, deep in the immaculately clad heart of Mayfair, is different.
The room is colonial-club handsome, an oak-and-rattan-clad slice of 1920s subcontinental chic. But this is no revisionist paean to an empire long lost; rather, it’s a glorious celebration of Pan-Indian food. London-born-and-raised chef Karam Sethi is a master (and only 30 years old). Trained at two of the finest restaurants in New Delhi and Mumbai, he went on to become the founder of London’s hugely respected Trishna.
At Gymkhana his dishes thrill: Venison keema naan has majestically rich meat wrapped in a magnificent bread shroud; butter chicken masala seduces; duck eggs are scrambled with lobster, chiles and sheer delight. In fact, barely a mouthful disappoints; this is the real thing. The place is booked for months. But beg, borrow or steal your way to a table. It’s hotter than a post-pub vindaloo—and a thousand times as good. At 42 Albemarle St.; 44-20/3011-5900; gymkhanalondon.com.