Gymkhana Mayfair Lunch Review

Travels with my God Daughter – Lunch at Gymkhana:

While I travel a bit too much to always be there with the restaurant review mob, I do eat at a lot of good places in London.  And, I have a few friends who specialise in Indian food so as a result, over the last year I’ve learnt a lot more about Indian food and while I wouldn’t class myself as in any way expert I do love trying Indian restaurants that go beyond the local takeaway.  My God Daughter is a big fan of Indian food and loved our trip to Dishoom in the summer.  In fact, despite hating queues, she wanted to go back.  I had another idea though, having seen all the hype around Gymkhana Mayfair, I wanted to take her there.

Gymkhana - papads and chutnies

While the a la carte and fine dining menus are fairly priced for Mayfair (the highest priced property on a Monopoly board with restaurant charges to match), the lunch menu offers a good choice of dishes at £20 for two courses or three for £25.  Gymkhana is the sister restaurant of Michelin starred Trishna in Marylebone, an an Indian restaurant specialising in the coastal cuisine of South Western Indian with a predominately fish based menu. Now,  chef Karam Sethi  has tried to recreate the ambience of a British Raj-style Indian Club at Gymkhana.

The set lunch starts with a selection of papads with a shrimp chutney and a mango chutney  and, in my God Daughter’s case, a non alcoholic cocktail, Lemon Teaser, to

Tease your taste buds with rich herbs, lemon thyme, muddled with fresh lime and vanilla sugar

Meanwhile we had picked starters to share.  The potato chat arrived first, looking for all the world as if we’d invited an extra guest or two

Gymkhana - Chaat

Stunning to look at, I thought it was nicely balanced with just enough of a tamarind tang to cut through the potatoes and some fine crispy sev topping.

Gymkhana Kasoori chicken tikka, sprouting moong kachumber

Kasoori Chicken Tikka with sprouting moong kachumber intrigued me, with a fragrant chicken coated with something I couldn’t quite place  so I’ve been trying to find out how it was made.  Amazingly I’ve found a recipe online, albeit without a Tandoor, by head chef Karam Sethi.  I suspect this was my teenage God Daughter’s favourite dish because the final piece of chicken disappeared before I’d managed to finish my first.

Kid Goat Methi Keema, hold the brains at gymkhana

From reading reviews of Gymkhana, it seemed obligatory to order the Kid Goat Methi Keema, Salli, Pao (with optional Bheja – that’s brains and I opted out).   Salli means ‘sticks’  (of deep fried potatoes) and Pao are the little buns served alongside.  An Indian version of the slider  – and really delicious.

Gymkhana Mayfair - Review

My flexitarian God Daughter looked away and refused to even taste the kid, so it’s probably just as well we avoided the a la carte menu where I’d have wanted to try the Muntjac Biriyani.  Meanwhile, she enjoyed a very generous, fragrant and buttery Wild Mushroom Pilau

Gymkhana - wild mushroom pilau

The accompaniments, included in the set lunch, were exceptionally good, if perhaps a little conservatively portioned given the generous helpings of everything else.  The Dal Maharani was delicious, rich and creamy.  I’d happily have dined on this and a portion of the pilau rice. Palak Paneer came with tender morsels of paneer in a creamy spinach base.

gymkhana - Dal Maharani, Palak Paneer

My dessert of Rose Kulfi was refreshing and not overly heavy, though rose scented and silky.

Gymkhana - Rose KulfiFor whatever reason we’d both thought the Kheer would be warm, but it is actually a rich and creamy cold rice pudding, delicately spiced and topped with date and chestnuts.

Gymkhana - chestnut and date kheer

We left feeling very contented.  And, while I can’t comment from experience about the a la carte or tasting menus, I’m confident enough that I’d enjoy the indulgence of going back some time.  Lunch, meanwhile, is excellent value for this part of London and the quality of the ingredients and style of cooking make it a perfectly reasonable choice at any time.

42 Albermarle Street
Gymkhana on Urbanspoon

4.5 / 5 stars     
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  1. says

    Ooh Fiona, you beat me to it! Nice to read your thoughts having concurred with your thoughts in a few of your other reviews. If you liked the keema and pau at Gymkhana, we need to get you to a Damn Good Curry supperclub soon to try Nilanjani’s take – not quite so posh, but certainly full of flavour and heart (of the sentimental rather than offal variety!)

  2. says

    This all looks so tasty, thanks for taking the time to write such a thorough review. I will have to try it out for myself some time! I loved Dishoom too! Nikki x

  3. Pamela Morse says

    Your photos have made me drool, Fiona. I am a hug fan of Indian food, and ate it almost exclusively when I went to the UK because you have so much of it and it is so good. This one does look like a superior choice.

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