Kanishka

Indian·
££££
·
Silver Award
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SquareMeal Review of Kanishka

Silver Award

At first glance, Kanishka is just another Indian restaurant in Mayfair - you’ll find two more on the same street - so it takes something special to stand out from the crowd around here. With the same finesse and style that has earned him two Michelin stars in the past, Atul Kochhar's superb cooking helps Kanishka stand out from the Maddox Street crowd.

Inside is a tale of two restaurants, with a convivial bar space and dining area up front filled with after work chit-chat, as well as a slightly more composed space towards the back. The entire room is a mish-mash of bold patterns and blue hues that manage to work in harmony when combined, and set the tone alongside a low-lit aesthetic.

Kanishka offers a choice of menus, all of which showcase food from across each Indian region. We’d recommend opting for the tasting menu to get a true sense of what Kanishka is about, with a wine pairing also on offer. Unapologetically punchy from the first bite, it’s kicked off with dahi puri; a wheat crisp bubble with sweet yoghurt and tamarind, and followed by equally flavour-packed dishes that take you on a cross country tour of India’s culinary landscape. The monkfish tikka is a real highlight, made of Chettinad spiced monkfish tail with creamed kale korma, the former of which is a shining example of excellent seafood cookery. Like many dishes at Kanishka it holds the charm and comfort of your local curry house, but still delivers smart innovation. Desserts are slightly less remarkable, with a chai creme brulee that whilst offered a tasty twist on a classic, lacked its signature texture that elevates it from ordinary to knockout.

The wine pairing is an international affair, with options from across various continents, but our favourite was one of India’s own - the mango wine from Rhythm Winery. A surprisingly delicate addition that opened our eyes and our hearts to possibilities of slightly fruitier alternatives.

London may be a city swarming with Indian restaurants, but Kanishka offers an undeniable quality that can often be hard to find elsewhere - one that we hope will leave a lasting impression on the restaurant scene for years to come.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Indian
Eat at Home
Home delivery
Ambience
Fine dining, Glamorous, Lively, Luxury
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegan options, Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Child friendly, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About

Another addition to the small restaurant empire of Atul Kochhar, Kanishka offers Pan-Indian fine dining in the heart of Mayfair that reflects India's rich and varied regional cuisines. Split across two floors on Maddox Street, chef patron Kochhar puts a contemporary spin on classic dishes at this upmarket spot, using a curated selection of fine ingredients to create his innovative menus. 

The ground-floor dining room offers formality with plenty of flair, boasting glamorous mirrored walls, a striking black and white pinstripe motif and a beautiful ocean blue bar in the centre of the room. Downstairs, meanwhile, is all neutral tones and lush foliage, boasting an impressive ceiling covered in verdant greenery. 

There are a wealth of menus on offer at Kanishka including tasting, a la carte, set, vegetarian and children's menus. For those dining a la carte, expect to sample dishes such as soft shell crab with corn and mango, Kashmiri goat rogan josh and old Delhi-style lamb biryani. While desserts are just as intriguing and include a chocolate 'Jaffa' featuring chocolate mousse, orange curd and cinnamon ice cream.

If you can't decide, or want to make your dining experience extra special, there is a six-course tasting menu which takes guests on a culinary journey through some of Kochhar's favourite dishes. This can be enjoyed with a wine pairing if liked, for the full experience. Dishes change with the seasons but might include the likes of Tamil chicken with tenderstem broccoli, onions and musallam gravy, Bengali lamb kosha with black dal and saffron rice, and custard apple rabdi (sweet milk) for dessert. 

The drinks menu is headlined by a selection of house cocktails, alongside non-alcoholic versions and lassis. You'll also find an extensive collection of old and new world wines from across the globe, as well as an unparalleled spirits selection.


FAQs

Is there a kids' menu?

Yes, there is a child-friendly menu.

Helpful? 0
Meet the team
Kanishka

Atul Kochhar

Chef Patron

Atul Kochhar is one of the UK's most well-known pioneers of Indian fine dining, and famously became the first Indian chef to win a Michelin star for his restaurant Tamarind in 2001. Originally born in Jamshedpur in east India, he moved to the UK in the 1990s to pursue a career in cooking. Now with multiple fine dining Indian restaurants to his name, including Michelin-starred Benares and Kanishka, for which he is chef patron, Atul continues to challenge perceptions of Indian food with his innovative cooking. 


Kanishka is featured in

Location

17-19 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2QH

020 3978 0978 020 3978 0978

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon 12:00-14:30
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat 12:00-14:30
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon 17:00-22:30
Tue 17:00-22:30
Wed 17:00-22:30
Thu 17:00-22:30
Fri 17:00-22:30
Sat 17:00-22:30
Sun 17:00-22:30

Reviews

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5 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Anon

16 October 2021  
Food & Drink 3
Service 2
Atmosphere 2
Value 3
Food was ok but the restaurant lacks ambiance

Had a birthday celebration lunch and whilst the food was lovely the service was below standard and the restaurant lacks ambiance. I emailed in advance informing the restaurant of my dietary requirements and this was not noted on our booking and the waiter was adamant that I could only order from the set menu. Took awhile to get through to him that I do not eat paneer or tofu and they eventually let me order from the main menu. This spoilt our lunch somewhat, having said that the food was nice but not brilliant. 

Anthea C

03 July 2019  
Atul Kochhar's new Indian restaurant is a dream. Food and service wonderful.

Anon

01 July 2019  
I must be honest; I went in with low expectations as I had heard quite a few mixed reviews. But our lunch turned out to be a quite the pleasurable affair if not mind blowing. Whilst the set menu is not wholly representational of the North East cuisine that Kanishka specialises in, it does offer a wallet-friendly way of sampling some of the food coming out of their kitchens. The service was polite and attentive, particularly from the manager who looked after us as if we were the only guests in the room (and we weren't). The service from the rest of the staff was on the slow side. Prices from the main menu are steep but understandable for the postcode.

TinaS

09 June 2019  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Fantastic lunch from start to end.

We took our friends to Kanishka for their 30th wedding anniversary.  The service we received from start to end was 10 out of 10, the maitre d' welcomed us whole heartedly , the waiters were very friendly, attentive and knowledgeable and to top the whole experience Chef Atul Kochhar went out of his way to greet us not once but twice. Even the chefs preparing the meals were very friendly.  The food was was very flavoursome and aromatic the spices used were well balanced- enjoyed every morsel of food - the only downside and this is being very very picky, for us the food was very generous in size ( we all have small appetites!)

Can’t wait to visit again!!

Alex G

20 March 2019  
Food & Drink 2.5
Service 3
Atmosphere 2.5
Value 2.5
Give it a year…

Restaurants come and go in London, with around half shutting within a year of opening. I fear Kanishka may well fall into this category. Maybe I was negatively prejudiced towards the venue, having never rated chef Atul Kochhhar’s previous Benares venture, but I have no specific desire to return to Kanishka. Sure, the concept is great. What the restaurant aims to do is take food from a lesser known region of India – the north east, where the country borders China and Nepal and so draws on these influences – and bring it to London. However, the décor in Kanishka felt brash, the vibe wrong, and the food not quite good enough to justify the inflated price tags. Located doors away from Bombay Bustle (which I would rank much more highly on all counts), Kanishka occupies the former site of 28:50. The bar area has been shrunk and the dining space correspondingly enlarged. While upstairs was fairly busy on our recent week night visit, the capacious downstairs (where the toilets are also located) was deserted. Upstairs, diners are forced to confront a garish turquoise décor which looks as if it has literally been tacked to the walls, while having to endure slightly-louder-than-necessary upbeat nightclub style music. Maybe Kanishka has a certain demographic in mind, but it didn’t work for me. Whatever the demographic, they better come with hefty wallets, since starters will set you back around £15, with mains roughly double. At this price, the food ought to be good. Having done my research, I learned that the meat staple in this region of India is yak. Sadly, it is not possible to source yak in London (as far as I know) and so diners have to make do with lamb and venison as substitutes instead. There is no shortage of culinary daring and experimentation on the menu as evidenced by, say, my starter of venison (not yak) tartare served with a quail egg. The dish in question was light yet packed full of intense chilli-dominated flavour. Alternatively, diners could go for the likes of Tibetan guinea fowl or scallops served with smoked chilli. My goat curry main did also impress, showing a wonderful earthy smokiness with the same emphasis on chilli (and, in this case, black pepper) intensity. By contrast, my comrade’s murg makhani (effectively posh chicken tikka) was bland and insipid and seemed somewhat incongruous on a menu which claims to draw on north eastern influences. The wine list is relatively brief but shows some originality, although pricing again is not for the faint-hearted. My bet: Londoners may come and try this venue for novelty, but there won’t likely be much repeat business.

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