Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Kanishka

Silver Award

Atul Kochhar was the first-ever Indian chef to win a Michelin star, when he worked at Tamarind in the early noughties, a trick he then repeated at Benares. Kanishka marks his return to the London scene, and here he is focusing on the little-known food of the Seven Sister States, which border China, Tibet and Burma in the far north-east of India, which means an expanded range of dishes like lentil dumplings with tamarind chutney and guinea fowl noodle soup. This may all sound pretty esoteric, but the cooking here is both delicious and much more approachable than what we’re used to from Kochhar.

Venison tartare (standing in for the region’s staple meat of yak) made for a vibrantly chilli-accented starter, while goat curry, redolent of smoke and pepper, would make a fine meal in itself with a bowl of the deeply flavoured black dal, strikingly pungent onion salad – cutting through all that richness – and naan bread so moreish that, even when completely full, you want seconds.

Eating here does not come cheap: a starter of lamb and chilli stir-fry with grilled bok choy seemed simple for the prices (starters are around £15), as too chicken tikka simmered in tomato and fenugreek gravy (at £24), but both are exceptional in their execution, the latter demonstrating tandoor cooking at its best.

Nonetheless there is value to be found, too. A set lunch or early dinner menu weighs in at a reasonable £28/32 for 2/3 courses, while a six-course tasting menu with matched wines delivers a full-throttle experience for just £125. We loved a rich and beautifully marinated piece of monkfish with a coconut curry paired with a peachy, medium acidity Tornatore from Sicily, and a lean and unctuous venison accompanied by crushed aubergine, balanced off with a sweet-fruited Californian zinfandel. On the same menu a scallop with three-ways cauliflower is given added zip by a young and fresh Stellenbosch Chardonnay while Atul’s bold and humorous chicken tikka pie served with a glass of Rheinhessen was a lesson in melding richness (the pie), sweetness (the pastry) and sharpness (some berries) with a wine that displayed all these characteristics. Magic! 

The restaurant which, despite its size, has a discreet intimacy is split over two floors. Upstairs has bright turquoise wall panels and mirrors which sparkle in the daylight and shimmer exotically at night, while marble-topped tables (daytime) and white napery (night) add an element of requisite luxury. Downstairs has a different ‘garden’ character – less formal, more bistro-like and in-yer-face, and good for groups or private parties, which benefit from a bespoke bar. 

Charming, well-informed service provides further polish. 

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Eat at Home
Deliveroo, Home delivery, Takeaway service
Glamorous, Lively, Quiet conversation
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Group dining [8+], Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About Kanishka

Another addition to the small restaurant empire of Atul Kochhar, Kanishka is located in the heart of Mayfair and offers beautifully presented, and wonderful tasting Indian food from the relatively unknown Seven Sister States in the North East of India. Kochhar is aiming to bring this undiscovered cuisine to London in the form of this elegant restaurant which is based over two floors on Maddox Street.

When you head inside, the downstairs is relatively laid back in feel with greenery covering the roof and plants sitting in every corner. Whereas, once you head upstairs, it’s a more formal affair with marble-topped tables, and mirror-panelled walls lending the dining room an air of modern sophistication. The impressive central bar has counter seats as well meaning that over the two floors, the restaurant can seat a decent number of people.

There’s a huge amount of variety on offer at Kanishka when it comes to menus. The intriguing a la carte features starters such as tandoor grilled octopus served with black-eyed beans and fermented garlic, and a chicken tikka pie served with berry compote.

Main courses range from turbot served with saffron braised pineapple, angel’s hair chilli butter and a fennel bisque, to venison steak accompanied by beetroot ketchup and juniper berry curry. You can finish your meal with desserts including peanut butter chikki parfait, and poached pear with vanilla ice cream.

If you’re overwhelmed by the long menu, there’s also the option of an 8-course tasting menu which includes some highlights from the a la carte and costs £78. Alternatively you can opt for the well-priced set menu which is available during lunch and also for early dinners.

The drinks menu is headlined by a fantastic selection of house cocktails, but there is also an extensive wine list on offer, as well as soft drinks. Delivery available Wednesday to Sunday.

Location for Kanishka

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

020 3978 0978


Opening Times

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
Mon 17:00-23:00
Tue 17:00-23:00
Wed 17:00-23:00
Thu 17:00-23:00
Fri 17:00-23:00
Sat 17:00-23:00
Sun 17:00-23:00

Reviews of Kanishka

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5 Reviews 


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.


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.


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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