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.