The ‘dry’ January campaign is all very well, but what is a girl to do who just happens to have been born an Aquarian? As if the weather wasn’t enough to drive me to drink, surely a birthday celebration couldn’t be alcohol free – even if I was born under the sign of the water carrier! So I soldiered on bravely for two weeks, feeling very pleased with myself, but when the inevitable tumble from the wagon occurred, I booked a table for me and the Beard at Gymkhana (meaning sporting club) to celebrate.
Gymkhana is the newly awarded, Michelin starred, Indian eatery in Mayfair, London and having read a lot of good press about this place I was really excited – as if the prospect of a drink wasn’t enough. After a quick G&T in the Guinea Grill pub to limber up (two weeks inactivity can’t be taken lightly), we hopped into a cab (yes, surprisingly it was raining) and arrived just in time for another G&T at the bar before sitting down. I always think it’s a good sign when the restaurant bar serves a seriously good drink. How could they make it taste so different from the one I had just quaffed 20 minutes ago? Maybe that was the reason, maybe it was the excitement, but who cares – it was seriously good.
Gymkhana is well laid out over 2 floors: a bar on both levels and downstairs is more of a dining room. It’s dimly lit with dark wood panelling and a real colonial feel about the place. Having requested a corner table downstairs (I can’t help myself), the manager then decided he needed our table for someone a little more important – Kiera Knightly (British Actress). I would have been a little irritated by this had they not only given us the best table in the place as a consequence, but they also looked after us brilliantly.
We ordered Southern Indian fried chicken wings with tomato chutney, which were insanely good – really crispy and moreish, huge wild and tangy tiger prawns and red pepper chutney; wild boar vindaloo which was wonderfully rich and succulent and then their signature dish; kid goat methi keema. I was a bit apprehensive about ordering this as had no idea what to expect, but was oh so pleased I had. It came minced and you rather oddly place it in little tiny bread rolls and add fried rice and chilli – apparently, a take on a traditional Indian dish – it was by far my favourite thing we ate. We drank a delightful 2013 Crozes-Hermitage (Domaine du Colombier) at £50 suggested by the sommelier, which worked really well.
I loved my evening at Gymkhana! It was fun, romantic, exciting and the food was delicious. I certainly won’t be needing an excuse like my birthday to go back.
Dinner for 2 including wine was £240.
42 Albemarle street | London | w1s 4jh
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