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SquareMeal Review of Benares

Silver Award

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.

Good to know about Benares

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Halal, Indian
Ambience
Big and bold, Formal, Quiet conversation
Other Awards
One michelin star
Special Features
Chef’s table
People
Group dining [8+], Special occasions

Benares Also Offers

Benares
Private Group Dining
Benares
Event Party Venue
Benares (bar)
Restaurant

Special offers from Benares

Light, quick, delicious lunch: £29

From: 14 May, 2019
To: 14 November, 2019
Max: 6
Benares has launched a Thali Lunch Menu for those short on time. Arrive, sit, eat and enjoy in 45 minutes wonderful dishes such as Tandoori Seabass, Murg Makhani, Paneer Rogan Josh, Quinoa Salad, Bhapa Doi and many more. Vegetarian Menu available!
Availability: Mon-Thu 12:00PM-2:30PM

2 Course set menu Champagne Cocktail or Mocktail: £29

From: 2 January, 2019
To: 31 May, 2019
Max: 8
From a set menu.
Availability: Mon-Thu 12:00PM-2:30PM 5:30PM-6:30PM,Fri-Sat 12:00PM-2:30PM 5:30PM-5:30PM

3 course set menu with champagne Cocktail or Mocktail : £35

From: 2 January, 2019
To: 31 May, 2019
Max: 8
From a set menu.
Availability: Mon-Thu 12:00PM-2:30PM 5:30PM-6:30PM,Fri-Sat 12:00PM-2:30PM 5:30PM-5:30PM

6 course Tasting Menu & Glass of Champ cocktail pp @ £98pp

From: 2 January, 2019
To: 31 May, 2019
Max: 8
From a set menu.
Availability: Sun 6:00PM-8:45PM,Mon-Sat 12:00PM-2:00PM 5:30PM-9:00PM

Five Course sharing Street Food menu & Green Spice Martini for 2: £50

From: 1 May, 2019
To: 30 October, 2019
Max: 8
Available in the BAR only. sharing. 1 menu shared between 2 people. From a sharing menu of 5 dishes . 1 menu shared between 2 people. Includes Tax, excludes service.. Menu cannot be halved to accommodate 3,5 or 7 people. There is a vegetarian menu available: guests cannot split the menu for veg and non-veg. Guest must order 1 veg menu and 1 non-veg menu, at an additional cost.
Availability: Sun 6:00PM-9:00PM,Mon-Wed 12:00PM-2:30PM 5:30PM-10:00PM,Thu 12:00PM-2:00PM 8:30PM-10:00PM,Fri-Sat 12:00PM-2:30PM 8:30PM-10:00PM

Post Theatre Menu: £48 pp

From: 1 April, 2019
To: 30 June, 2019
Max: 8
Benares is excited to announce a new menu addition to the family. The post theatre menu is perfect for after an evening out - 3 courses including amuse bouche and petit fours at £48 per person Monday – Thursday from 2145 – 2230. This post theatre menu is set to launch April 1st for a limited time. Enjoy their 2 most talked about dishes in one menu!
Availability: Mon-Thu 9:45PM-10:30PM

Location for Benares

12a Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London, London, W1J 6BS

020 7629 8886

Website

Opening Times of Benares

Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 5.30-10pm Sun 6-10pm

Reviews of Benares

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26 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Anon

Great foodie experience in a lively setting
25 March 2018   
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.
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Ms/Mrs. Jan W

A shame as this is normally good value
07 July 2015   
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.
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Anon

Benares - cannot wait to go bck
26 September 2014   
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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Mr. Alex G

30 May 2014   
It doesn’t matter how many times I go to Benares, I just can’t get to like it. This was the first time for me for a while, but it hadn't improved since my previous visit. Clearly chef Atul Kochhar must be doing something right to have earned a Michelin star for the eighth consecutive year, and while the food may have been good, it certainly wasn’t outstanding, the whole experience far from cheap, and the atmosphere underwhelming. With regard to the latter, it is hard to get excited about a bland brown and white furnished room with no natural light, clinically minimalist décor and fairly appalling acoustics. Moreover, the clientele seemed largely to be of the suited sort, most likely dining on expense accounts. A brief look at the menu explains why: starters begin at £14 and one is hard pressed to find a main for less than £30. Atul’s angle seems to be one of selecting classic British ingredients such as Scottish halibut or New Forest venison and literally spicing them up with Indian flavours. The approach certainly works, even if some of the dishes do come across as being unnecessarily complex. My starter, for example, of crispy soft shell crab sounded appealing enough, but the addition of a ‘chilli squid ring’ and passion fruit salsa was perhaps excessive, the flavours jarring rather than melding. One of my comrades also pointed out that what Benares gained in presentation and taste (our mains were all excellent), they lost in terms of quantity. Small portions at these prices seems most egregious. The extras also lead to the bill mounting up: gin & tonic at £13, or a humble espresso at £3.75; is this really justifiable? At this price, one would at least expect superlative service. Our experience would characterise it as average-good, and by no means memorably good. One stand-out fault, which one wouldn’t expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant was our server bringing amuse-bouches to our tables while one of our party was using the bathroom. This meant the dishes sat there looking sorry for themselves for some time and our conversation was interrupted not once but twice in order for the server to introduce the dish (again) when our party was finally complete. If you’re after posh Indian in London, give me Gymkhana or Veeraswamy any day.
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Ms/Mrs. Nalini C

social evening out
18 November 2013   
The evening stared really well. The atmosphere in the whole restaurant is brilliant and the staff very efficient, but as an Indian diner with a couple of English friends, I felt that the staff seemed to think that the English couple were ‘superior’ to us and gave a bit more attention to them. I had booked the table so felt that my partner and I should have been consulted first about ordering drinks or dealing with the bill etc.. Perhaps the staff do not realise that they are behaving like this. I would not fault the reataurant on anything else.
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Ms/Mrs. gowsia H

Great Indian Food
07 November 2013   
Excellent traditional Indian food. Buzzy atmosphere. Service is friendly but can be slow specially the bar service is rather abrupt.
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Wendy M

Just a bad day at the office?
14 July 2013   
We were underwhelmed by all the food a couple of weeks ago. It scraped through as good, although service maintained standard. Benares was one of my favourites but it has to do better to warrant another visit. July 2013. Could Atul Kochhar match the subtle spicing of a lamb cutlet second time around, I wondered after booking a table at Benares? Most definitely….and not just spices were clever but textures too. Softshell crab was a superb opening dish for me, as was rabbit which both I and my co-diner thought divine. Although lamb wasn’t chosen this time, Monkfish was recommended without falter and I was utterly pleased that it had been – the flavours lived on in my memory for longer than average. Steamed basmati rice separated like grains of sand running through fingers and was the best I had encountered. Duck main didn’t quite do it for me, but then that wasn’t my main course choice. Décor was slightly suspect with plaster-of-paris panel design on walls, but otherwise a pleasant space, and with food this good, surroundings were of little consequence. Showing an interest in the food and the chef’s skill, we were asked if we would like to meet Mr Kochhar, which marked the occasion neatly. Compliments about his food were met with humble response and in that short encounter, he seemed like a pretty decent person who deserves the recognition he gets. In 2010, considering we were in a Michelin starred Mayfair restaurant on a Tuesday evening, £120 (a la carte) for two people including a couple of glasses of wine, water and beer seemed pretty good value to me.
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Ms/Mrs. Katherine C

Michelin Star? Not fo rmuch longer.
17 March 2013   
I booked this for a Saturday night at 2130, intending to head out afterwards for a glass or two. However the starters still hadn't arrived by 2245, after which the main then took a further 50 minutes. Got out of there after midnight (without desserts or coffee as the restaurant was empty before we had even finished our mains). Of course this is too late to get in anywhere in Mayfair, so we all gave up after what was a thoroughly disappointing evening. Extremely average food, nothing memorable at all, and the service was absolutely appalling. Avoid.
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Mr. Pinakin P

Do not bother
26 February 2013   
- the restaurant cancelled my booking the day before Valetines day, with no explaination – feel free to book but do expect them to cancel at the last minute – thanks guys
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Ms/Mrs. Maria B

07 August 2012   
Disappointed with Benares. I had been looking forward to going to this restaurant for a very long time and when I did, it was really nothing special. We had ordered our drinks to come with our main meal…our meal came but our drinks never did until we had asked the waiter twice. The atmosphere wasn't that great and nor was the food. It had to have been one of the worst “Michelin Star” indian restaurants in London.
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