Gymkhana – A right royal feast

Gymkhana, Mayair

A lot has been said and written about the Michelin starred Gymkhana in Mayfair. Naturally, there was only one place to head when a chance of a child-free night arose. That and the fact we’d already failed twice to nab a weekend booking. It’s the second restaurant from the team behind Trishna in Marylebone. Karim Sethi has more than proved he is no ordinary chef with his first endeavour, so high hopes were placed on this evening.

Gymkhana, Mayair

Walking through the doors you are transported to the high-society sports clubs (gymkhanas) of the British Raj. Think dark wood panelling, chocolate leather banquettes, rattan backed chairs, marble tables and fans hung from shiny lacquered wood ceilings. While the walls are adorned with vintage photos reminiscent of the colonial days, cut glass Jaipur lamps and hunting trophies from the Maharaja of Jodhpur (well I never!) all add to the ambience.

We started with an apéritif. Gymkhana has a fantastic selection of cocktails and my eyes nearly popped out of my head with the extensive, delicious sounding gin menu. I finally decided on the Haymans Old Tom – Ginger gets me every time.

Gymkhana, Mayfair

The menu is divided in to several sections – Gymkhana Bar (snacks),  Nashta (small plates),  Kebabs & Tikkas, Game & Chops (who’s ever seen game on an Indian menu? Well you have now!), Curry & Biriyani and Sabzi (vegetables)

We went Indian tapas style for the starters and ordered a range of dishes. From the Gymkhana Bar the masala peanut and lotus root chat (£4), deliciously moreish.

Gymkhana, Mayfair

Gol guppa’s (£5) – pastry casings loaded with spicy potato and lentils then drowned from a hole in the top with a kick-ass green chutney. Popped whole in your mouth it’s an explosion of tangy, refreshing, crunchy joy.

Gymkhana, Mayfair

From the Nashta menu we opted for aloo tikki chat with masala channa, tamarind and sev (£10). Flavoured perfectly with the right levels of heat from the spices, tang with the tamarind and yoghurt coolness.

Gymkhana, Mayfair

And you can’t have Indian starters without the infamous samosa (£7). Punjabi in style filled with yummy potato and peas.

Gymkhana, Mayfair

Eyes were definitely bigger than our bellies when we ordered mains. Even the waiter had to stop us and say ‘yes, I think you have enough’. First up was the paneer tikka, cashew nut with corn chat (£10). Large juicy chunks of paneer straight from the tandoor. It came with the most delicious green chutney oozing from the middle topped with a crunchy textured cashew nut and corn chat

The lasooni wild tiger prawns (£18) basically laced in garlic and accompanied with red pepper chutney. Mr S found it succulent and flavoursome.

Gymkhana, Mayfair

The malai morels with achar and truffles (£16) totally blew my mind. Never have I eaten a curry dish with truffles and never in a million years did I think it would work. How wrong I was! These small juicy mushroom morsels danced a merry jig in my mouth and left me craving for more.

Gymkhana, Mayfair

And there’s more…We were hungry alright…

The wild muntjac biryani with pomegranate and mint raita (£30). That’s spicy ‘Bambi’ rice to the vegetarians and non-frequent deer eaters out there. Who knew? I learnt something new that evening. By the way my sister-in-law polished it off I can only conclude it was delicious.

Gymkhana, Mayfair

The dish of the evening for me was the paneer kalimirch (£16) made with black peppers. The perfectly cooked paneer was swimming in the most delightful of sauces. The thought of it now has my mouth salivating.

Everything was mopped up with steamed basmati rice and soft buttery nan bread.

Gymkhana, Mayfair

Once the spice fest was over, we still had room for dessert. Yes. Busted. We eat a lot.

While waiting for desserts to arrive, I did my usual. Made friends with the bartender. Who shook up an amazing espresso martini.

Gymkhana, Mayfair

Gymkhana, Mayfair

Gymkhana, Mayfair

It went down a treat with my ras malai accompanied with tandoori pear chutney (£7).

Gymkhana, Mayfair

I can see why everyone raves about Gymkhana. Along with its heritage interiors and delicious food, the staff win top marks too. We were never hurried through our meal, which can be a problem at popular restaurants in London nowadays (due to table turnaround). We were left chatting away and were in fact the last ones to leave.

And who ends a lovely review with a shot of the karzi. That would be me! Have you ever seen a more beautiful looking cistern. I thought not. Just another example of the attention to detail from this restaurant (and the fact that I take my camera everywhere!).

Gymkhana, Mayfair

There’s no denying that some of the prices are slightly eye-watering – ahem…£30 biriyani! But then you are sat in the middle of Mayfair in a fine dining restaurant. It’s not your average Indian, which is evident from the unusual and finely executed dishes.

Gymkhana this was my first visit and you’ve made sure that it certainly won’t be my last.

Are you a spice fiend like me? What’s your favourite curry dish? Let me know in the comments box below.


Gymkhana | 42 Albermarle Street | London | W1S 4JH






  1. 29th May 2016 / 6:57 pm

    Wow, this takes Indian to a whole new level! Such fine details, and I agree about the prices because you’re in Mayfair.
    The aloo tick chat and wild tiger prawns would be right up my street!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      29th May 2016 / 7:16 pm

      It really does! If you’re ever in the area worth it for a treat.

  2. 29th May 2016 / 8:04 pm

    This sounds like a great restaurant, the food looks fantastic too x

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      29th May 2016 / 8:20 pm

      Hannah it’s an Indian with a difference.

  3. Monisha
    29th May 2016 / 8:49 pm

    Reading this & seeing the photos makes me want to go back for more gol guppa and malai morel action !!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      29th May 2016 / 9:15 pm

      Only one answer for that…Dump the kids and book the restaurant 😉

  4. 29th May 2016 / 10:14 pm

    Wow , that looks amazing ! What a glam venue and the dishes look to die for . Very neat post , you can tell the effort you’ve put in . Great job !

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      29th May 2016 / 10:32 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words Klaudia x

  5. 30th May 2016 / 7:09 am

    They look so delicious! I haven’t tried those foods, but I wish to! Nice pictures and the location looks lovely, prices are competitive too!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      30th May 2016 / 11:07 am

      Erika, you’ll have to if you are ever in the area. Your tastebuds will not be disappointed.

  6. Dreammerin
    30th May 2016 / 8:21 am

    It looks like a great place for eat and spend some time just relaxing! The food is so delicious! I can only say: Well done! Great article! Thanks for sharing it with all of us! Greetings!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      30th May 2016 / 11:08 am

      Thank you lovely. A great place to relax, only downside is that you will need to be rolled out of there 🙂

  7. 30th May 2016 / 9:46 am

    Oh dear, the food looks absolutely amazing! The food close ups are legit foodporn! I was drooling

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      30th May 2016 / 11:10 am

      Hahaha! Glad you liked it. Not sure your computer will appreciate the drooling 🙂

  8. 30th May 2016 / 6:08 pm

    Indian tapas look delicious! And this place looks very regal!

  9. 30th May 2016 / 9:10 pm

    The masala peanut and lotus root chat looks amazing and so cheap at £4 as well. All the food looks divine x

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      30th May 2016 / 9:26 pm

      It was probably the cheapest thing on the menu Ana. It was all amazingly tasty! x

  10. 31st May 2016 / 5:36 am

    The food looks very tasty and that drink absolutely fabulous! Looked like the perfect night out!

  11. 31st May 2016 / 6:10 am

    All of the food looks amazing! If we are ever in the area I will definitely have to look into this Restaurant!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      31st May 2016 / 9:39 am

      You will Carrie. You won’t regret it. x

  12. 31st May 2016 / 7:50 am

    Your photos and review making me craving for something now! I’d love to eat more selection of Indian food like you review here as I’m one of those who is not really familiar with it. You inspired me to look for local Indian restaurant here where I live to try Indian cuisine.

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      31st May 2016 / 9:40 am

      Looking at food always makes me hungry! x

  13. 1st June 2016 / 2:02 am

    Your post is making me crave some desi/Indian food right about now! Looks like a really nice place, wish I knew about this restaurant when I was in London.
    xx, Kusum |

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      1st June 2016 / 10:00 am

      Haha Kusum – I crave desi food morning, noon and night! Put it on your hit list for the next time you’re in London x

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