has become the first Indian restaurant to win the BMW Square Meal Restaurant of the Year award, now in its 16th year.
The award caps a fantastic year for Gymkhana’s owners, siblings Sunaina, Karam and Jyotin Sethi (pictured, left to right), who also own Trishna
in Marylebone as well as backing hot tickets Lyle’s
and the Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs
– plus new Soho Taiwanese BAO, due to open in spring 2015.
Square Meal editor Ben McCormack said, ‘Gymkhana arrived with a bang in autumn 2013 with some of the best reviews I can ever remember reading. It has become that rare thing: a restaurant that is as much of a critical darling as it is a popular smash hit. It has reinvented the traditional curry for modern palates, but this isn’t some niche foodie experience: fantastic cocktails, atmospheric, colonial-style surrounds and staff with plenty of personality mean that Gymkhana offers that hard-to-find complete package, propelling it to the very top of London’s must-visit restaurant lists.’
The award is decided by a combination of over 8,000 reader surveys throughout the year as well as the critical opinion of our own in-house team of reviewers, and page views on SquareMeal.co.uk.
Square Meal readers have described Gymkhana as “the kind of place you go to enjoy yourself”, “a fabulous night out” where “every dish on the menu is outstanding” and “the service is subtle but very attentive”. For many readers, Gymkhana was “my favourite meal of 2014” and has become “my new number one for posh Indian”.
‘My siblings and I have followed Square Meal for over a decade,’ said a thrilled Karam Sethi at the award presentation.
‘For us to pick up the Best Restaurant Award is the perfect end to a memorable year.’
Asked why he thought Gymkhana has been such a runaway success, Karam said, ‘Mayfair is the hub for Indian restaurants in London but the high-end Indian scene seemed stagnant and too comfortable – there was nowhere accessible, fun and high quality that understood the eating habits and desires of diners today.
‘Jyo, Sue, myself and our team worked incredibly hard to make Gymkhana that place, so whilst recognition is amazing, it’s a sign we achieved what we set out to do.’
The full list of Square Meal’s top 20 restaurants of 2014 will be announced on Tuesday 23 December – stay tuned!
This feature was published 18 December 2014
Image credit: Laurie Fletcher