Gymkhana is a Michelin starred Indian restaurant in Mayfair. It’s one of the restaurants Shiima listed, after fairly exhaustive research, for us to try out. A few weeks ago, we had dinner at one of the restaurants on the list, Trishna, and we loved it, and that led us to move Gymkhana, which is a sister restaurant to Trishna, to the top of the list. It was a tad tedious getting a table for two at Gymkhana on the weekend though, so we eventually settled for dinner on a Monday.
Gymkhana is on a somewhat quiet street in Mayfair, about 5 minutes away from Green Park station; getting there is straightforward. We stepped into the restaurant and were immediately greeted by the quite formal but receptive maître d just by the entrance and after being quickly checked in, we were passed to our wonderful waitress who led us to our table. Our table was close to the entrance, so I wasn’t able to see the entirety of the restaurant, hence my assessment on the décor is limited. But, from the little I saw, the room had the feel of an upscale restaurant in the heart of India, with ceiling fans and lots and lots of framed old photographs of people, predominantly Indians I think, playing cricket or just in cricket attire. Oh, and there were also several plaques of the restaurant’s awards displayed on the walls.
Now, the food 😊. Before I jump into what we had I’d like to add that the set menu, which every other diner around us seemed to go for, looked tasty, and for the first time ever Shiima and I strongly considered going for that. But we decided against it, and went a la carte, like the G’s we are hahaha 😂. As I’m still a novice in Indian cuisine, I was a bit lost staring at the menu, which isn’t too elaborate, but a lot of the words were lost on me, not so much on Shiima. And this is where the utter wonderfulness of our waitress revealed itself. She excitedly went through the entire menu for us, describing every single dish – this was incredibly helpful, I strongly advise you ask for this. Although, including being very helpful, her description also made me overwhelmed with choice, dishes that I wouldn’t have looked at twice, now sounded appetising and it took me a while to decide, but decide I did (although, she did kindly reduce our order by three dishes cos we went a little tiny weeny bit overboard 🙈 hahaha)
Shiima ordered the Aloo Tikki Chat, and the South Indian Fried Chicken Wings for starters, and the Tandoori Chicken Makhani Curry with Basmati Rice for her main. I ordered the Amritsari Shrimp & Queenies and the Achari Chicken Tikka for starters, and the Lamb Chops for my main, and we shared a Bread Basket. This was a perfect order. Usually, we miss on a dish or two, but not here. Every dish was amazing. Needless to say, I had a large portion of Shiima’s starters 😁. The chat was really good, really tasty; the lentils were soft and meaty, and it was lightly spiced. The Fried Chicken wings were like chicken lollipops, seasoned perfectly, with a bit of spice, and fried; it was a bit too crispy for me, but it still tasted really good. My Shrimp & Queenies, essentially were shrimps and scallops glazed with deliciously spicy seasoning and lightly fried … it was amazing, didn’t want it to finish. And the Chicken tikka, bruhhhhh … it was really delicious and spicy, like I said about the tikka in Trishna, it reminded me of the suya seasoning from growing up in Nigeria, so I’m all in for that.
My lamb chops, were a good quantity, three well sized chops, spiced pretty much identically to the chicken tikka. The lamb was perfectly cooked; succulent and it seemed like the seasoning had seeped through, so every piece tasted perfect. I was really full at this point, but I still powered through, because you know, like I said earlier, I’m straight G! 😂 . But on the less G side of things, I didn’t try Shiima’s main, Tandoori Chicken Makhani Curry with Basmati Rice. I couldn’t, I was stuffed, but Shiima gave it her best effort. It was a whole baby chicken cooked in curry, could easily feed two people. It looked very tasty, and it was. Shiima really enjoyed it … “delicious and not too spicy”, and also incredible with the basmati rice and the saffron naan from the Bread Basket.
All in all, another incredible dining experience. So far, it seems Indian cuisine done right is something to behold, and it’s certainly done right in Gymkhana, just like it is done right at Trishna. We certainly plan to visit more Indian restaurants, so this opinion might change or be reinforced. Gymkhana is perfect for a date, most of the other diners around us were on dates; and celebrations; and also, just right for the foodie with a bit of disposable income. Bearing in mind, we did eat a lot, but we didn’t drink any alcohol, and, unusually for us, didn’t have any desserts, our bill came up to just above £100.
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Amen’s Star Dish: Achari Chicken Tikka
Shiima’s Star Dish: Aloo Tikki Chat (with a bit of that Saffron Naan)
Price: £50+ each
Rating: 5 out of 5
42 Albemarle Street
Tel: 0203 011 5900
Visit their website or Call to book a table