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12a Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square
020 7629 8886
A beacon for Asian fine dining since 2003, Michelin-starred Benares brings French-inspired refinement to spice-based cooking “without depleting the authenticity of Indian flavour”. The kitchen delivers “awesome food” and “real creativity” across the board, although tasting menus are the undoubted showcase for the kitchen's talents – from pan-seared scallops with broccoli couscous and pine-nut podi (dry powder) to a crisp, puffy chicken tikka pie or tandoori lamb cutlets with rich, rogan-inspired jus and creamy black dhal makhani. Inventive set lunches might include piri-piri quail with smoked beetroot or prawn curry with Bengali-spiced kimchi, while a dessert of tarte Tatin infused with anise and fennel typifies the crossover approach. Kindly, engaging staff deliver “spotless service” in the slick, smart, white-on-black dining room, while street food and quirky cocktails are the main business in the lounge bar. Wine picks tackle the spicing admirably. “Pricey, but perfect for special occasions”, says a fan.
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StreetSmart - London restaurants
Best Private Rooms: <10
Best Chef’s Tables
Restaurants with Gift Vouchers
SquareMeal 2 Stars
From: 01 May 2018
To: 30 September 2018
Maximum of 6 diners. Includes VAT. excludes service.
Maximum of 8 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service.
Maximum of 8 diners. Includes Tax, excludes service.
Look for the "£" icon when booking (offers only available on certain days/times)
12a Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square
020 7629 8886
Green Park Tube Station 455m
Bond Street Tube Station 598m
Medici Gallery 78m
Faraday Museum 163m
Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 5.30-10pm Sun 6-10pm
The Chef’s Table
This private-dining experience gives views into the Benares kitchen. Groups of up to 10 people can watch the team at work and meet the chefs as they introduce each course on the private room’s bespoke menu, which includes matching wines.
The Wine Room
The Wine Room houses a small proportion of the 600-strong wine list, but the bottles lining the walls in black wooden racks and contrasting high-backed taupe padded chairs, combine with white linen tablecloths, napkins and black and gold glass show plates to give the room a distinctly gastronomic feel. Seating up to 10 on one long table or two tables of five, it is set to one side of the main bar and has a glass panel looking out on to the main bar area.
The Berkeley Room
Separated from the sommelier's room by an impressive wine wall, The Berkeley Room features hand-crafted ornamental doors made from Indian wood, and rich terracotta walls. It seats up to 16.
The Dover Room
The largest of Benares’ private rooms can seat up to 36 guests (40 standing). This long room at the far end of the restaurant is perfect for banquets, while its flexible design and sliding doors mean that the space can also be opened up and incorporated into the main restaurant for larger functions.
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
We had the vegetarian tasting menu, 7 courses plus a few surprises meant that we were well and truly full by the end of it. For a tasting menu the courses were really quite big and, in comparison to eating a la carte, very good value. Huge array of flavours and ingredients used, different to anything I have had before. Excellent choice for vegetarian dining. I would say that the service was not quite good enough for a restaurant of this standard, for example we had to ask a few times for a vegetarian menu and then when that was brought over we had to then ask to see the vegetarian tasting menu as it was not brought over together. It was very loud and warm in the restaurant also, but then it was a busy Saturday night. That said, the service of the food was very good, the courses were brought out promptly without us feeling rushed, and the waiters gave a good explanation of each one. Overall great for a foodie experience in a lively setting.
Food + drink: 3
We often eat at Benares especially using the special offers as we have always felt it was good value.
Unfortunately yesterday although the offer clearly stated complimentary cocktail we were not offered one
even though I raised the question. We were also charged for naan bread which was again shown as complimentary on the menu.
Professionally and personally, my meal last night at Benares was outstanding. The culmination of staff, food, drink and service was as a combined effort well worth its Michelin star.
My party of six had an early sitting of 6.00 pm. We all arrived around that time where we sat in the bar and were not once rushed or urged to take our table, finally moving over to the restaurant around 6.30 pm.
Being an #eventprof I had emailed prior to our reservation to Benares to ask to see the kitchen, chef’s table and other event spaces. The staff there bent over backwards to accommodate and showed myself and my family to the chef’s table and gave an in-depth explanation of the kitchen. We were even told if it wasn't booked we would have been welcomed to dine in there which blew me away and makes total sense. What an amazing experience it would have been….
The Chef’s table sits 4 comfortably and the kitchen (whilst not huge) was buzzing. The price for the chef’s table is only £100 minimum spend per person – well worth it for a special occasion or client event. Benares also has 3 further private event spaces. My husband now has his eye on the Sommerlier’s table where the Michelin starred cuisine is carefully matched to exquisite wines. There is a further 2 private event rooms and a buyout available for the whole restaurant accommodating 150 seated and 300 standing.
Once seated, we were given the set menu which we had pre-booked through Bookatable. The deal is amazing. As well as a signed cookbook for only £35.00 per person, you get a 3 course meal and this amazing passion fruit cocktail (to which I had 2 hence the hangover this morning).
Most of my party started with the Classic Lamb “Shami”, Mint and Tamarind Relish, Baby Radish which was fabulously presented and whilst not a huge portion, was just enough. My husband had the Bhatti Spice and Beetroot Cured Salmon, Cucumber Crème Fraîche, Fried Capers and this seemed a better choice for us and we all had food envy.
For mains everyone had the same (apart from me as I am difficult). Everyone went for the Tandoori Spiced Quail Supreme, Wild Mushroom Biryani, Quail Egg, Pineapple Raita and I had food envy. It was absolutely delicious. I ordered from the A la Carte and paid a supplement. I had the Kadai Chicken ‘Classic and Contemporary’ Organic Chicken Cooked Two ways, English Peppers and Tomatoes, Chilli Oil. Whilst it was amazing, I should have also gone for the set menu option and had the quail. Each dish was fabulously presented and came with 4 different types of Nan to which we even asked for more. We got through a few bottles of wine (which also explains the hangover) to which for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called… It sure was tasty though and am pretty sure my husband (I like saying husband. We just got married lol) said it was a Malbec blend and around £30 a bottle.
The highlight and best part of Benares though has to be the staff. They are attentive, knowledgeable and quiet frankly outstanding. Working in the industry you deal with a vast array of waitstaff and the Benares staff were the best I have had the pleasure of seeing. Nothing was too much trouble, they were in abundance and seriously, could not do enough for us. We told them it was our wedding a few weeks ago and that we were celebrating our parents wedding anniversary and the attention they gave us just made the evening. After pudding, we had a congratulations plate each that was delicious and were honored to meet Chef Atul… twice!
I will definitely be going back. I think we all will and in terms of events, you really need to use the private dining rooms. I would use the Chef’s table for a client dinner or lunch without hesitation and as I mentioned above, I think my husband has his eye on using the Sommerlier’s table for one of his boys nights out.
5 Star on my #fance rating.
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2 courses & champagne cocktail: £29
3 Courses & champagne cocktail: £35
6 course tasting menu & a champagne cocktail: £98
5-course Street Food Menu & Cocktail for 2 £40 in bar
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