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Restaurants & Bars 9

[London] Lunch at Gymkhana, Mayfair

klyeoh | Jan 18, 201506:32 PM

Finally gotten round to dine at Gymkhana late last week. It was bustling, as to be expected at the city's most popular Indian spot for the moment. What we had:

- Alphonso Mango Lassi: leant quite precariously towards the too-sourish and lacked the fragrance of fresh Alphonso mango. Not a good start.

- Papads with Mango Chutney and Shrimp Chutney: same as what one gets at Trishna. The shrimp chutney was a standout - I'd not encountered this savoury dip in any fine-dining restaurant on the Indian sub-continent, so kudos to Gymkhana/Trishna for their innovativeness.

- Potato Chaat, Chickpeas, Tamarind, Sev: same as what one gets at Trishna. Again, rather amused at seeing this North Indian street food elevated to become restaurant dining room fare here in London, albeit with dialled-down flavours.

- Paneer Tikka with Cashewnut-Corn Chaat : same as what one gets at Trishna: so these two are not just sister-restaurants, they felt like part of a chain, with exact replications of their dishes.

- Ajwani Salmon Tikka with Tulsi Chutney: same as what one gets at Trishna, except that I liked the just-cooked salmon at Trishna *much* better - the Gymkhana one had been lying in the oven perhaps a couple of minutes longer than it should, resulting in the dry-ish texture I hated finding in overcooked salmon.

- Chicken Butter Masala: very standard rendition - the chicken did not have the smoky tandoor fragrance and the sauce was bland, it could have come from a Bangladeshi take-out and one would not have been able to tell the difference.

- Dal Maharani: very bland, with no buttery richness from proper slow-cooked dal Makhani.

- Lotus Root & Jackfruit Pilau: the pilau was drier than I expected, and did not have the spice-fragrance I was looking for. But then, it's vegetarian, whilst I'd always felt you need the meats to give flavours to a biryani.

- Mixed Naans: overly-dry, as if the naans have been left sitting around for a while before being served, instead of being served fresh out of the tandoor, pillowy-soft on the inside, whilst slightly chewy on the outside.


- Ras Malai with Rhubarb Chutney: perfect! The sauce was deliciously creamy, the dumpling was soft, and the rhubarb chutney lent a sourish stab which complemented the buttery-rich Ras Malai perfectly.

- Mango Kheer with Chopped Pistachios: Very good - perfect sweetness and nice crunch from the freshly-toasted pistachios.

- Masala Chai: deliciously creamy, well-spiced and very sweet, as it should be.

Obviously, Gymkhana has a better dessert chef than the chefs who prepared the mains. Overall, I enjoyed Trishna much more (, and whose cooking I'd rate at least a couple fo notches above what I had at Gymkhana.

42 Albemarle Street
London W1S 4JH
Tel: +44 20 3011 5900

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