I first became aware of Gymkhana, when my fiance raved on and on about how much he wanted to go and dine there, but could never get a booking (just not his luck). So as part of one of his birthday treats I booked a table two months in advance to go and see what all the fuss is about at the Michelin star Gymkhana restaurant.
The concept is based on the colonial gymkhana clubs serving contemporary Indian cuisine, catering for both non-veg and vegetarians. On entering the restaurant which is divided over two floors, you can see the references of the British Raj India, with dark wood ceilings, fans hanging from the ceiling; black and white pictures hung on the walls, wooden booths and marble tables, with a bar at the back of the room, where my fiance and I waited before being seated on our table with some lovely champagne.
The menu is simple and is divided by starters, mains and desserts; there is also a set menu available for around £60. But we all decided to pick a variety of dishes from the main menu so that we can share and experience many dishes.
From the ‘Gymkhana Bar’ and ‘Nashta’ section of the menu we chose: ‘Gol Guppas’,(£5.00), ‘Dosa with Chettinad Duck’ and served with Coconut Chutney (£10.00). The other vegetarian dishes included; ‘Masala Peanut & Lotus Root Chat’ (£3.50), ‘Punjabi Vegetable Samosa’ with Imli saunth (£8.00), ‘Potato Chat’ served with chickpeas, tamarind, and sev (£7.00).
All the dishes were good, quite spicy for my liking but nothing special, although I was really intrigued by the duck dosa, and the combination worked well, however nothing quite beats the traditional potato ingredients for a dosa…yum!
The next few dishes, were ordered from the ‘Kebabs and Tikka’ part of the menu: ‘Kasoori Chicken Tikka’ with sprouting moong kachumber (£12.00), ‘Lasooni Wild Tiger Prawns’ served with a red pepper chutney (£14.00), ‘Beetroot Shikampuri Kebab’ (£8.50), ‘Paneer Tikka’ with cashew nut and corn chat (£8.00)and lastly the ‘Tandoori Broccoli’ with a green chilli raita (£7.50). My favourite was the tiger prawns, very tasty but slightly disappointed as you only get 3 in a portion, I could have had more.
The next part of the menu is: ‘Game and Chops’ I wasn’t so keen on anything on this part of the menu but my fiance and brother in law were tempted to try the ‘Achari Roe Deer Chop’ but then decided to get a few curry dishes instead, these included ‘Suckling Pig Vindaloo’ (£20.00) and ‘Chicken Butter Masala (£15.00). I didn’t try the vindaloo, but the chicken however was edible, slightly sweet in flavour for my liking. We accompanied these dishes with a selection of bread (£6.00), basmati rice and pomegranate and mint raita (£4.00).
The vegetarian diners were slightly disappointed with their order from the ‘Sabzi’ section; ‘Rajasthani Bhindi’ (£8.00), as it’s a dry dish which they thought would be a curry therefore ordered that with naan, we discussed this with the manager and he was happy to have this changed for us and so the dish ‘Khatti Meethi Baby Aubergine’ (£7.50) was ordered.
From the desert menu: ‘Ras Malai’ served with damson chutney (£7.00) and a ‘Rose Kulfi Falooda’ was selected (£8.00), whilst my fiancé opted for some chai, but before the arrival of the desserts the waitress brought out a small dark chocolate mousse with ‘happy birthday’ decorated with a chocolate sauce and a candle for my fiance, which was a lovely gesture.
And so our night of food and birthday fun came to an end, Gymkhana is a good place to dine, with some great combinations of food within the menu, although portions are slightly small and prices are well what you would expect with a restaurant in Mayfair. Apart from a few mishaps with some of the dishes we ordered and the slow service with staff at times overall we had a great night, not sure if I would come back again, but definitely worth a visit just that once.