We'd had some utter crappy news with regards to a flat purchase, wanting to forget about it and move on and up our evening at Gymkhana could not have come at better timing. It was also coupled as Mr D's belated birthday treat from yours truly and therefore it was also cause for a mini celebration...perfect
London's Michelin starred Trishna's sister restaurant Gymkhana is housed on Albemarle street in Mayfair. Subtly disguised behind a big green door and minimal signage, I don't think you'd ever imagine it is a (now) infamous 'Gymkhana' style Indian restaurant.
The room is rich colonial, with 1920's (esq) music piping through reflecting that of the high society sporting clubs set up by the British Raj called 'Gymkhana's'. The menu is split into starter style dishes, mains and puddings however they also have three types of tasting menu's, another vegetarian one and also an early bird menu for £"5 - bargain! We were told tasting menu portions are more or less the same size as the a la carte.
For obvious reasons in that we wanted to feel so full we'd forget about the absurd English house buying laws we chose the Full Tasting menu £55 per person for 6 courses... it's money well spent considering the amount we devoured...
Poppadoms were served as soon as our drinks order was taken and came with an incredible mango chutney and a rather yummy shrimp chutney.
Potato Chat with Chickpeas, Tamarind and Sev came first which was totally unlike anything I was expecting. Thoroughly enjoyable and a fantastic texture from the crisp potatoes. On first reflection I didn't think I'd eat it all however I was scraping the plate to get every last morsel by the end of it.
Lasooni Wild Tiger Prawns, Red Pepper Chutney were incredible and seemingly the highlight of both our meals. Enormous prawns smothered in a delectable red curry paste, a good amount of charr on them which added flavour and served with a spiced chutney (the sauce was another standout element).
Onto the first of the choices for the menu of which we decided to try both on offer:
Gilafi Quail Seekh Kebab, Pickled Green Chilli Chutney. Not the prettiest to look at made better by their gorgeous crockery. It was succulent and cooked to utter perfection seasoned well with a good trace of herbs and spices, the green chilli chutney has a pretty good kick to it which made us worry ever so slightly as the only dish that came with a spiced warning was to come...
Kasoori Chicken Tikka, Sprouting Moong Kachumber was our favourite out of the two purely as the chicken was incredibly tender and the crunchy tomato and cucumber relish type thingy side was a fab addition.
Kid Goat Methi Keema, Salli, Pao (a type of sweet bread bun)was possibly the most unexpected of all the dishes. It came minced was slightly sweet, slightly spiced and all together not what I thought it was going to be at all. Scooped onto the Pao buns, topped with some of the raw red onion it was a fantastic mix of flavours and textures. This is one of the dishes which is most talked about, I felt ever so slightly deflated but with no idea why!
Onto 'mains'?! which came with rice, two types of naan, lentils and a delicious spiced potato dish as sides!! It's definitely worth the money...
Suckling Pig Vindaloo was one of my favourites of the whole evening as it packed some serious punch. This came with the spice warning... for vindaloo (and having a warning) I was slightly scared. However,there was no need to be. Yes, it had a VERY good amount of hotness to it but it wasn't uncomfortable. The thick red tomato sauce was delicious, had just the right amount of garlic and just the most incredibly mix of spices... have this whenever you go!
Butter, Pepper, Garlic Crab was exactly that but extremely crabbie - perfect for me, not so for Mr D!
Chestnut and Date Kheer (rice pudding) I CANNOT abide rice pudding so I didn't even try this. It was however, gobbled up by the man to my left...
Saffron Pistachio Kulfi Falooda still no idea what this exactly was but it had vermicelli and ice cream in it.
Some very pretty and teeny weeny chocolate spheres signified the end of our meal, which were delicious. Gymkhana has a wonderful atmosphere and even better food... it's Indian cooking at it's finest and I'm yet to find a contender whom is even remotely close...I can't wait to head back.
Address: 42 Albemarle St, London W1S 4JH