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Square Meal Review of Gymkhana ?

With Michelin-starred Trishna already wowing the crowds in Marylebone, Karam and Jyotin Sethi have launched Gymkhana – an opulent, low-lit destination inspired by colonial India’s Days of the Raj sports clubs. Ceiling fans, wood panelling, rattan-trimmed booths, Punch cartoons and spiffing photos of polo teams may suggest a novelty themed eatery, but this is no one-trick pony: attractive young staff in smartly tailored Nehru jackets look the part, while a snifter in Gymkhana’s bar promises Raj punches among other eastern-influenced tipples. The menu spans nashta snacks, kebabs and tikkas, game, curries, biryanis and more besides, with highlights including potato chaat with chickpeas, tamarind and sev, vibrant tiger prawn kebabs with red pepper chutney, sophisticated partridge pepper fry and soothing, buttery crab curry. It’s all very pukka, but decidedly old school, generous and effortlessly enjoyable.

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  1. I grew up eating in Indian restaurants on a regular basis but as my tastes evolved I somehow neglected them in favour of seemingly more exciting cuisines. Perhaps unfairly but more likely caused by one too many average meals in mediocre local ‘curry houses’. Over the last 10 years i’ve travelled far and wide to eat in 100s of restaurants, many with Michelin stars but until recently had never been tempted by high end Indian restaurants.
    That changed last year when Mughli in Manchester’s Rusholme rekindled my love of Indian food. Since then i’ve been keen to eat at a more upmarket establishment to see how the food compared. A recent London trip provided the perfect opportunity. After considering Michelin starred places including ‘Trishna’ and Atul Kochhar’s Mayfair restaurant ‘Benares’ I eventually settled on ‘Gymkhana’, the sister restaurant of Trishna which opened last year to rave reviews and recently won ‘Best New Restaurant’ at ‘The 2014 Craft Guild of Chefs Awards’...
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  1. The banqueting manager of the five star hotel came rushing out to greet the marketing director of our company. The hotel was on a short list of possible venues for a conference we were planning. ”Oh I’m so glad you came back,” gushed the banqueting manager and then, looking at me and mini me she added “oh, and I’m so happy you brought your IT team with you!” I was duly introduced as the CEO while my colleagues struggled to keep straight faces. I could hear little strangled giggles throughout our hotel tour as the banqueting manager desperate to make amends offered us “coffee, breakfast, anything? It’s on the house…” I made a point of inspecting the power outlets and phone sockets...
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  1. 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...
    More from S.W. Foodie »

  1. Published : Monday, 28 July 2014

    Nomface :: Gymkhana, London

    In a rare outing for Indian cuisine we were torn between Michelin starred Trishna and its newer sibling, Gymkhana, which was recently crowned the restaurant of the year at the National Restaurant Awards, sitting at the summit of the top 100 list. It was this that swayed us to Mayfair based Gymkhana despite us initially preferring the seafood heavy Trishna menu. I thought booking at relatively short notice would be a problem but luckily we managed to get a table for lunch at midday which fit in ideally with our plans.

    Gymkhana serves contemporary Indian cuisine using seasonal British ingredients, with a strong focus in the tandoori oven and sharing dishes. The interior of Gymkhana is dominated by dark wooden panels, hunting trophies and ceiling fans in references to British Raj India. There is a an array of interesting cocktails on offer using exotic fruits and spices but being relatively early we stuck to old favourites, alphonso mango lassi topped with pistachio and a sweet lassi...
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  1. As soon as we entered the restaurant and were seated upstairs, the restaurant felt relaxed, elegant and was modernly presented.

    Gymkhana has a variety of different tasting menus, such as the game menu, vegetarian menu and an early dining menu as well as offering a more traditional à La Carte menu.

    Since our table was booked slightly earlier, we opted for the early dining menu which is only offered between 5.30pm – 6.00pm every evening. The menu is extremely good value with 4 courses offered for £25 per person, with the option of adding a wine pairing for £45. We opted for the former and since there were two options per course, we opted to try every item offered. We couldn’t help ourselves...
    More from Ramblings of a Food Addict »

  1. Brass edged tables, rattan chairs and walls adorned with prints and medals of sporting champions from the popular gymkhana clubs that once made up colonial Indian society. It reflects the once lavish lifestyles of the British raj - walking in to Gymkhana was like taking a step back in time. It was light and airy upstairs, but dark - to the point almost becoming seedy downstairs. Its the trend at the moment you see, to not be able to see your food - or the person opposite (which could be a godsend), depending how you see it. The brains behind this new restaurant is Karam Sethi who also owns Michelin Starred restaurant, Trishna...
    More from londonfoodaholic »

  1. Published : Tuesday, 21 January 2014

    Samphire and Salsify :: Gymkhana, Mayfair

    I’d heard many a good thing about Mayfair based Gymkhana, an Indian restaurant by the people behind Michelin starred Trishna. We’d had a cracking meal at their sister restaurant so I had high hopes for our lunch – and we left far from disappointed.

    The ground floor dining room had a touch of colonial India about it with 1920′s music playing in the background. There was dark wood, green leather banquettes and hanging on the wall was a stuffed warthog. It felt like I’d stopped off for lunch in a hunter’s cabin whilst on safari in India – it was a beautiful space. A darker, more intimate dining room lay in the basement along with two cavernous rooms available for private hire...
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  1. Published : Wednesday, 4 December 2013

    Wrap Your Lips Around This :: Gymkhana

    Gymkhana refers to the social clubs popular with the high society of British Colonial India. Having never been to the Indian subcontinent, I won’t attempt to vouch for the authenticity of the menu or the stylised interior of the Gymkhana in Mayfair. I don’t give much of a toss whether or not the hogs head hanging on a wall actually came from the Maharajah of Jodhpur, or if the cut glass goblets are from the Maharani of Baroda. Rather than waxing lyrical about the exact ingredient that makes the kid goat keema so silken (ok, it’s the sautéed brain), here is what really matters...
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  1. Published : Friday, 25 October 2013

    Mitziesbubble :: Gymkhana: No ordinary curry night

    Speaking of which, here’s my latest outing, a curry night with the hubby at the much hyped and talked about Gymkhana. A restaurant that pays homage to the good old days of the British Raj, particularly the trend of the Gymkhana – ye olde gentlemans club.

    Now you know my feelings about hyped up restaurants. They tend to make me more nervous than those that are hardly reported because they have a greater tendency to disappoint. However I just couldn’t resist this time because the man behind this latest venture is Karam Sethi, whose successful endeavours include the London branch of Mumbai seafood favourite, Trishna and Charlotte Street’s gourmet hotdog and champagne joint, Bubbledogs. So disappointment at Gymkhana shouldn’t be on the menu...
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  1. Gymkhana. I can’t help but think of those Thelwell cartoons. Little fat girls on even fatter ponies. Events that happen in the Home Counties. Rosettes. That sort of thing. I don’t automatically think sophisticated curry-house in Mayfair.

    My mistake.

    “Gymkhana” is, I now know, an Anglo-Indian expression, derived from the Persian and Urdu word “Jamat-khana”. Most Indian gymkhanas (places for riding horses) have a “Gymkhana Club” associated with them, a term coined during British Raj, for a gentlemen’s club.’ These clubs appear to have been rather exclusively British, at least until Independence...
    More from Saying it straight »

  1. Published : Sunday, 10 November 2013

    The Food Judge :: Gymkhana. For the Maharajas of Mayfair.

    Gymkhana. I can’t help but think of those Thelwell cartoons. Little fat girls on even fatter ponies. Events that happen in the Home Counties. Rosettes. That sort of thing. I don’t automatically think sophisticated curry-house in Mayfair.

    My mistake.

    “Gymkhana” is, I now know, an Anglo-Indian expression, derived from the Persian and Urdu word “Jamat-khana”. Most Indian gymkhanas (places for riding horses) have a “Gymkhana Club” associated with them, a term coined during British Raj, for a gentlemen’s club.’ These clubs appear to have been rather exclusively British, at least until Independence...
    More from The Food Judge »

  1. Published : Saturday, 14 December 2013

    The Cutlery Chronicles :: gymkhana, mayfair - review

    There has already been much said about Gymkhana, the Indian restaurant in Mayfair decked out to transport guests to the high-society social sports clubs (gymkhanas) of British Raj India. Most of it, if not perhaps all, consist of glowing testimonials: Jay Rayner advises getting ‘armpit deep in a menu which is not afraid to make a mark’; Grace Dent hails it as ‘one of the greatest restaurant openings London has seen in 2013’; and Fay Maschler gave it a rare 5 stars, describing the Muntjac biriyani as the best she’s had outside Hyderabad...
    More from The Cutlery Chronicles »

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