42 Albemarle Street, London W1S4JH
Tel: 020-3011 5900
Meal for two:?£100 (Rs 10,000 approx)
The only reason for reviewing a restaurant in London is that Gymkhana was named in June the National Restaurant of the Year, one of the highest accolades in the British food industry. After that, it has been impossible to get a table unless you book months in advance.
It must have been the turn of an Indian restaurant to get the award this year. What other explanation is there? On a recent visit to the city, I ate there twice. The food is good but not exceptional. I have eaten in better Indian restaurants in London. One of them is right across the street from Gymkhana, Rohit Khattar’s Chor Bizarre.
The dark oak wood interior is impressive. This is how the dining rooms in the gymkhanas must have looked during the Raj. The menu has some exotic items, kababs and curries made with rabbit, deer, grouse, quail, even pigeon, but a number of the upscale Indian restaurants out there have been doing that for some time. I wondered what the two high-street favourites, samosa and potato chat, were doing on the menu of Gymkhana.
I was impressed by the efficient service. On my first outing, I ordered suckling pig vindaloo. It was so loaded with chillies as to be inedible. The waiter promptly brought me raita, no charge, when he saw that my mouth was on fire. I liked the lasooni tiger prawns and I found the idea of combining the humble dosa with duck curry interesting. Be careful what you order. The deer chop will set you back by £48 (Rs 4,800).