Gymkhana 4444

42 Albemarle Street , London, W1S 4JH

  • Seating booths at Gymkhana
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  • A seating area and bar at Gymkhana
  • A pie at Gymkhana
  • The interior of Gymkhana restaurant in London
  • A selection of dishes at Gymkhana
  • A seating area at Gymkhana
  • A series of dishes at Gymkhana
  • The bar at Gymkhana
  • A selection of curry dishes at Gymkhana
  • The bar at Gymkhana
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SquareMeal Review of $name

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9.0

Food & Drink: 9.2

Service: 8.9

Atmosphere: 8.6

Value: 7.8

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul P. bronze reviewer 05 February 2017

The downside to being so good is that everybody else has discovered this gem. The food alone stands this restaurant is a league of its own.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

maryam b. bronze reviewer 08 January 2017

Fabulous food, light but spicy, excellent service. Wine on the pricey side

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

David H. platinum reviewer 06 August 2016

We all take a chance, every time we go to a restaurant for the first time, that it won't live up to expectations. That's something that those of us who eat out a lot have to accept . But It's actually much more disappointing when a restaurant you've visited a time or two are now delivering to a notably worse standard. We visited Gymkhana for the third time today in the last 12 months. Both the previous experiences were great , and our expectations when turning up today were commensurately high. Sadly though they've made changes, and not for the better. A year ago we enjoyed and I reviewed positively here, a set lunch that contained standout dishes such as soft shell crab , and a main of kid goat, and Dal Maharani. It was great and together with a couple of beers , a bread basket, rice and service we paid £74 for two. A year on and the food we enjoyed so much a year ago was not on the menu - any of their menus - and we had a choice between a la carte and a lunch menu of several small plate/sharing dishes at £35 a head, which we chose . Of course if the food had been better, one doesn't worry. But it wasn't. There were plenty of items, but much of it wasn't as interesting as we'd come to expect here, and it was all low cost ingredient stuff The amount of meat in the chicken tikka pilau was, frankly, mean. And I just noticed that the kid goat methi keema supposed to be served to us wasn't served and wasn't offered. We paid extra for breads. The net of all this is that today we paid £100 for a much less enjoyable meal than we had on previous visits. So 35% more money for less enjoyable food. Service today was pleasant but patchy. We had to ask three times for the bread basket we ordered at the outset to be delivered, and as I say, it looks like they missed a dish altogether. No-one offered anything to substitute for desserts we said at the outset we wouldn't be eating( because we don't enjoy Indian desserts, here or anywhere else). All told we left believing that here's a restaurant that used to offer great food and good value, but now it seems to be doing everything it can to make money. Its going to need a visible change in attitude before we're tempted back here I'm afraid.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Joanna G. platinum reviewer 30 March 2016

The fact that it's tricky to get a table here even on a bank holiday Monday lunchtime shows how popular this place is, I booked weeks in advance. The staff are efficient, they could be friendlier/chattier, but in fairness they are very busy. The biggest problem we have is that our eyes are always bigger than our bellies, so we tried hard to "limit" the amount of food we ordered. We chose the papads with shrimp chutney, mango chutney and coriander and mint sauce and pea and potato samosas with tamarind sauce (the pastry was a bit too thick and doughy for me but the filling was nice and spicy) and followed up with a fiery, blow your head off, vivid chilli red, wild boar vindaloo and guinea fowl pepper fry, with rice, raitha and bread bowl. A couple of cobra beers, a bottle of Albarino and espresso martinis and we rolled out onto the street to walk off our over-indulgence. Still one of my favourite London restaurants.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

David H. platinum reviewer 23 July 2015

Its taken us a while to get here, with a couple of failed attempts to get a reservation even at lunch . However yesterday we made it for the first time to a very busy restaurant , which they seemed to manage whilst keeping to reasonable timescales for ordering, food delivery and bill. I have to say that the place itself was not as plush and serene as I'd expected- looks a bit more like a nice pub than a top restaurant. We chose from the lunch menu , me with soft shell crab with what seemed like puffed rice and samphire, and then kid goat methi keema, and my wife with Papdi Chaat and Mushroom and Pea Pilau. Dishes of dal Maharani (very like Dal Makhani) and spinach were served alongside together with basmati rice and mixed breads. All the dishes were nicely presented, tasty and spiced about medium. There were no discussions or debates about "how spicy is that ?" or "what does two chillies actually mean here please?" I'd imagine that if your usual indian dish is Madras or stronger, you're going to find the food we ate to be gentle. On the other hand if you struggle with anything beyond a Korma, you might find this food a little spicy. But ( and this is, we believe, important) the spice never overcomes the flavour and we found words like "tasty" more apposite then "hot" or "bland". We were a little surprised by quantity and value, after reading Square Meal's own review. I ate two courses plus sides yesterday and had certainly eaten enough as a main meal of the day. My wife managed a dessert too without changing an opinion that desserts are not a strength of Indian cuisine. Our bill for two came to £74. We stuck to beer and voted for coffee round the corner (Influenced by the fact that I prefer Café Nero or Costa to any coffee I've had yet in an Indian restaurant), but nevertheless thought this was good value and maybe better than we expected when we walked in. A similarly structured meal from the a la carte menu would have been arounfd £100 for two. So how good is Gymkhana? Well it was certainly one of the best Indian meals we've eaten anywhere. The cuisine is a little finer and not hugely more expensive than our usual favourite- Southall's Mehfil. Is it so different that it provokes a fundamental re-appraisal of Indian food?-perhaps not . It is good food but it isn't for me at least a game changer . I do enjoy Indian food but I retain some difficulty in seeing it as "gourmet", Michelin Star territory. I don't expect everyone to agree with that , but to my taste I don't see Gymkhana hitting the same culinary high spots as say Pollen Street Social, or Fera,, or Trompette where the food is modern European. I wouldn't expect to go for a celebration. Its more normal than that- but frankly at the price we paid it can be just that a good lunch, but not special. And before I leave an impression that I think Gymkhana is fortunate to get its star, I have to say that living west of London we're surrounded by places that were pubs but have now gained a star-occasionally two. I'd rather eat at Gymkhana than at any of those, and we'll go again. One final thing. Whilst the a la carte menu incudes many of the usual Indian favourites, there's a fair smattering of dishes that I haven't seen anywhere else. To us, one of the primary measures of a good Indian restaurant is its ability to serve distinctive and unusual dishes and it's those I tend to remember much more easily than a quality Rogan Josh or Chicken Tikka. Gymkhana scores well on that dimension.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Deborah N. 31 March 2015

I've eaten in all the UK Michelin star Indian restaurants and this is in the top 3 for me. A relaxed, enjoyable meal in lovely surroundings with excellent service.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Robin C. 25 February 2015

What a great place to go for lunch. Best Indian in London. Great atmosphere, lovely staff and delicious food. Couldnt have asked for more. The duck egg and lobster starter was out of this world. Please come South of the River

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 03 April 2014

The Brits have always loved curry and it is no surprise how pervasive the Indian restaurant is within British dining culture. Into the fray comes Gymkhana, open for around six months, but visited by me and two friends for the first time last week. It is an undoubted success and there is every reason to believe it will remain a permanent fixture of the London dining scene. Given that the team behind Marylebone’s Trishna are also backing Gymkhana, this in itself is a strong endorsement. The name of the restaurant refers to those clubs set up in India during colonial times by the British Raj, locations where members of high society came to socialise, dine, drink and play sport. With the exception of the latter pastime, this is the reason for going to Gymkhana. There is inevitably a colonial-style feel to the décor, particularly the paintings/ posters on the wall. We were led downstairs, a spacious room, filled with leather sofas and banquettes. There are also two private dining rooms, a useful feature to be aware of. Don’t be put off by the dark lighting downstairs, one soon gets used to it, and the effect is to create a certain intimacy. The main reason for going, of course, is the food and Gymkhana absolutely excelled itself in this respect. Diners can benefit from a conventional a la carte, but also specific game and vegetarian menus, as well as more extensive tasting menus (again available in a variety of formats). We opted for the set lunch menu, comprising a choice of four starters and four mains, priced at an amazingly competitive £20 (or an additional £5 for a dessert to be included too). Two of us went for the dosa (an Indian-style pancake) filled with duck, while I chose the duck egg bhurji (somewhat akin to scrambled egg) featuring lobster and chilli. The flavours were complex but hugely satisfying, the dishes light and well-balanced. We were similarly delighted with our mains, kid goat keema (with optional brains – which we declined, hangover being the excuse) and a tandoori guinea fowl breast. The same observations made for the starters would certainly apply here too. These dishes were also accompanied by a generous quantity of rice and bread as well as two vegetable sides, a lovely spinach and also a daal (this being probably the relative low point). The wine list is a further delight, albeit more heavy on the wallet. It is more original than many in comparable restaurants and we were opted for Ernie Loosen’s Eroica Riesling from Washington State, a personal favourite of mine. The meal concluded with coffees, served in quaint British china cups, another nice nod to the colonial era. In conclusion, I liked Gymkhana so much that I made another booking for a lunch later this month almost as soon as I had returned to the office. Praise deserved.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Chris H. silver reviewer 11 March 2014

I personally have a like for understated elegance and indulgence and Gymkhana fits this style perfectly. Despite being located in Mayfair, the restaurant has a feeling of calm and is the kind of place where you can go to enjoy yourself. The cocktails on the menu are certainly not run of the mill and were enjoyed by all that dined. The food too was delicious and well presented – the type of food that you expect from a better not-so-cheap restaurant. There were certainly no complaints regarding what was served. However, having grown up in a town where Indian food is a staple and having been cooked dinner by many of my Indian friends, I am never sure whether the additional cost truly translates to an increase in quality of cooking. Do go to have a great night with very good food, but do not expect to be blown away if you are already a lover of Indian food.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 3.0

Monikasays platinum reviewer 18 December 2013

London: Gymkhana is my new number 1 for posh Indian, sorry Amaya (now no. 2). Having come from a background of top Indian home cooking, I am rather hard to please on the curry house front. This venture is by the people behind seafood Indian Trishna in Marylebone, so expectations are high. There is an old colonial India theme to the restaurant, however this is done elegantly with alluring dark wood booths, slowly rotating old ceiling fans, black and white photos of men with curly moustaches and a 1920s playlist. This place attracts the well heeled ,partly due to the location in Mayfair central but also the avid foodies. The reviews across the board have been ridiculously good. Service is helpful and unobtrusive. Time for the food, this was a heavenly feast laden for the Indian gods. There is an art to presenting a curry well but Gymkhana has cracked it with immaculate, appealing dishes presented in novel ways, even Michel Roux would be impressed. To start with, the goat keema had a deep rich meaty chilli flavour and was accompanied by little white buns to mop the residue . Chicken wings were not really wings, more little yummy chicken lollipops. Then came the crispy light dosa cone hiding a delicious duck curry. Tandoor guinea fowl was a beautiful breast of tandoori chargrilled white meat. We ordered it twice. Could this get any better ? Yes, then came the 3 plump pan fried spicy wild tiger prawns with an unctuous red pepper chutney. I had to order an old school vindaloo but this was no ordinary vindaloo, rather a fiery suckling pig condensed into a dark velvety explosive curry. Sides were not just bland sides, the aubergine was a sweet rich smokey accompaniment. Okay, I know I sound like a Marks and Spencers food advert but this is how it felt. This was a feast for the eyes and the resilient belly. There were also a number of other gamey numbers such a partridge pepper fry, pheasant, deer, maybe next time. The only negative is that portions are a little meagre for the big price tag per dish, but it just means you have room to taste more. I was left in a giddy capsaicin-stimulated euphoric state. Not for the faint hearted. PS tables are hard to get, but go midweek for Indian game, why not indulge?