The best restaurant in Britain?


A few months back, The Guardian ran an article on this Mayfair joint called Gymkhana, which somehow was interesting and infuriating in equal measure. For starters (no pun intended), the place supposedly served food family-style, the food itself being of a peculiarly gutsy variety. Firstly, the restaurant in question has as strong a Colonial hangover as any I have ever seen. Muted lighting, oak panels, stuffed animals, state-of-art daguerrotypes and dapper waiters (whose sartorial styles were at least a few notches above mine). Hardly my idea of a family-style dinner (but perhaps I am just being a pleb). Secondly, food ‘cannot’ be gutsy. A chef can be gutsy, say, if he serves up tripe (of the figurative variety), a customer can be gutsy if he partakes a course which plainly appears to be tripe, the whole tripe and nothing but the tripe. However, the tripe in itself cannot ever be gutsy, much in the same way as a murgh malai can never be morose or a seekh kabab of a studious temperament (or I can never be a food critic)! However, as usual, I digress. Coming back to Gymkhana, I just have have two words of advice if you are in London: go there. I have been to a fair number of Indian restaurants this neck of the woods, from Lahore Kebab House to Punjab to Dishoom. Gymkhana stands alone – I have frankly never had better Indian food outside of India (not even in good old Dubai). If you do go there, I would highly recommend its Muntjac Biryani and Ajwani Salmon Tikka. If you are veggie, fret not – it does a mean dal and paneer as well. My personal favourite though is the humble raita. With a sprig of mint, a few pomegranate seeds, a sprinkle of black salt, and curd beaten to just the right consistency, ’tis the stuff to compose culinary sonnets in the honour of! Also, if you one of those true-blue food aficionados / ranking fanatics / show-offs, these chaps were awarded a Michelin star, I think this October. For all that jazz though, the restaurant is quite reasonably priced – it has a brilliant early-evening four-course selection priced at around 25 quid and the quantity is almost enough for two reasonably-sized appetites! Best restaurant in Britain? At least amongst the ones I have been to. Tick.