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SquareMeal Review of Kanishka

Bronze Award

Kanishka marks Atul Kochhar’s return to the London restaurant scene after the chef left Benares under a Twitter cloud. Kochhar was the first-ever Indian chef to win a Michelin star, when he worked at Tamarind in the early noughties, an accolade he repeated at Benares. But while Kanishka’s focus on the little-known food of the Seven Sister States, which border China, Tibet and Burma in the far north-east of India, may sound equally esoteric, the cooking here is much more approachable than we’re used to from Kochhar.

Some of what we ate impressed very much. Venison tartare (standing in for the region’s staple meat of yak) made for a vibrantly chilli-accented starter, while goat curry to follow, redolent of smoke and pepper, would make a fine meal with a bowl of the deeply flavoured black dal and a basket of fresh roti, perhaps with a side order of the startlingly pungent onion salad to cut through the richness.  

But another starter of lamb and chilli stir fry with grilled bok choy, though fine in itself, seemed too simple for the prices (starters are around £15), while chicken tikka simmered in tomato and fenugreek gravy was nice enough but nothing out of the ordinary.

Then again, perhaps we shouldn’t have stuck with the familiar: ordering lentil dumplings with tamarind chutney or a guinea fowl noodle soup had us reaching once more for the superlatives and these more far-flung dishes may be a better way to get the most out of the menu here. 

The restaurant is split over two floors; upstairs has bright turquoise wall panels which positively sparkle in the daylight and take on an exotic hue at night, while marble-topped tables add an element of requisite luxury. Downstairs, which was initially something of a work in progress, has now assumed its own character, with a garden terrace injecting light during the day and a bar helping to give the floor pizzazz if taken for an event or private dining occasion. A set lunch menu weighs in at a very reasonable £24/29 for 2/3 courses. 

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Glamorous, Lively, Quiet conversation
Group dining [8+], Special occasions

Kanishka Also Offers

Christmas at Kanishka
Christmas Parties
Private Group Dining
Event Party Venue

Kanishka Events

£70.66Special Dinner in the company of Atul Kochhar and José Pizarro
Special Dinner
Special Dinner in the company of Atul Kochhar and José Pizarro

06 Nov 2019

Continuing Atul Kochhar's Chef Series, José Pizarro will be cooking at Kanishka with Atul for one night only on 6 November. Join the two chefs for what promises to be an evening of laughs, great company and delicious food.


Book Here

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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2 Reviews 


Fantastic lunch from start to end.
09 June 2019  

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!!

Food & Drink

Mr. Alex G

Give it a year…
20 March 2019  

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.

Food & Drink

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